15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003


Evidence for a Constraint-Based Account of French Phrasing and Accentuation in Different Speaking Styles

Brechtje Post

University of Oxford, UK

A number of interacting factors determine which syllables are accented in an utterance, such as word grouping, grammatical category, and speaking style. Two questions are addressed in this paper: (1) how does speaking style affect phrasing and accentuation in French, and (2) can the account proposed in Post (2000), which uses partial ranking to model prosodic variation, adequately describe these data? Recordings of two Map Tasks were analysed auditorily and acoustically, and compared with earlier findings for read speech. The results support the account, showing that speakers produced slightly fewer phrases, and considerably fewer accents. The findings not only allow us to evaluate the explanatory power of partial ranking, but also have implications for a phonological account of French intonation. If clear predictions can be made about the locations of pitch movements in the utterance, the number of intonation contours that can be realised is restricted.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Post, Brechtje (2003): "Evidence for a constraint-based account of French phrasing and accentuation in different speaking styles", In ICPhS-15, 1309-1312.