14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Central Catalan Declaratives: The Relation between Focus and Downstep

Eva Estebas Vilaplana, John Maidment

Department of Phonetics and Linguistics, University College London, UK

In this paper we analyze the relationship between focus and downstep in Central Catalan declaratives produced with two peaks. In particular, we examine the hypothesis that broad focus is associated to a downstepped second peak whereas narrow focus blocks the downstep movement. Both broad and narrow focus structures have been analyzed. In utterances produced with narrow focus two variables have been taken into account, namely, the position of the focused material within the sentence (medial or final) and the triggering question (narrow focus triggered by contrast or by new information). The results seem to indicate that in Central Catalan broad focus is always associated with downstep but the link between narrow focus and non-downstep is not so categorical, but shows a continuum of downstep degrees. Overall, non-downstepped peaks are more likely to occur in contrast rather than in new information contexts and in final rather than in medial position.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Vilaplana, Eva Estebas / Maidment, John (1999): "Central Catalan declaratives: the relation between focus and downstep", In ICPhS-14, 1861-1864.