ITRW on Experimental Linguistics

Athens, Greece
August 28-30, 2006

The Phonology and Phonetics of Prenuclear and Nuclear Accents in French

Mariapaola d’ Imperio (1), Roxane Bertrand (1), Albert Di Cristo (2), Cristel Portes (2)

(1) Laboratoire Parole et Langage, Aix-en-Provence, France
(2) Université de Provence and Laboratoire Parole et Langage, Aix-en-Provence, France

The goal of this paper was to determine whether there is a formal difference between high-ending nuclear (IP-final) and prenuclear accents in French. After transcribing the relevant items, we then compared the different accentual and phrasal categories by analyzing, among the other things, the tonal and temporal characteristics of their tonal targets as well as durational characteristics of the target syllables. The hypothesis tested is that nuclear accents differ from prenuclear ones in terms of formal characteristics of the contour which cannot be explained, for instance, by invoking the presence or absence of an upcoming tone. We show that both alignment and scaling differences can be found between the two accents types, thus motivating a contrastive phonological analysis.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Imperio, Mariapaola d’ / Bertrand, Roxane / Cristo, Albert Di / Portes, Cristel (2006): "The phonology and phonetics of prenuclear and nuclear accents in French", In ExLing-2006, 121-124.