An Analysis of Prosodic Prominence Cues to Information Structure in Egyptian Arabic

Dina El Zarka, Anneliese Kelterer, Barbara Schuppler


This study presents the first acoustic examination of prominence relations in entire contours associated with different information structures in Egyptian Arabic. Previous work has shown that topics and foci are typically associated with different pitch events, whereas it is still a matter of debate whether and how Egyptian Arabic uses prominence relations to mark narrow focus. The analysis of data from 17 native speakers showed that narrow focus was marked by on-focus pitch expansion as well as post-focus compression. Post-focus compression was realized as a large downstep after focus, compressed pitch range, lower intensity and shorter duration. The results also showed further register lowering after a contrastive focus, but no further pitch boost of the focused word. By contrast, a contrastive topic showed higher scaling of the topic as well as an expanded pitch range of the overall contour. The findings of this study stress the significance of whole contours to convey intonational meanings, revealing gradient prominence cues to focus across the utterance, specifically post-focus register lowering to enhance the prominence of a contrastive focus.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2322

Cite as: Zarka, D.E., Kelterer, A., Schuppler, B. (2020) An Analysis of Prosodic Prominence Cues to Information Structure in Egyptian Arabic. Proc. Interspeech 2020, 1883-1887, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2322.


@inproceedings{Zarka2020,
  author={Dina El Zarka and Anneliese Kelterer and Barbara Schuppler},
  title={{An Analysis of Prosodic Prominence Cues to Information Structure in Egyptian Arabic}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2020},
  pages={1883--1887},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2322},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2322}
}