ISCA Tutorial and Research Workshop on Experimental Linguistics (ExLing 2008)

Athens, Greece
August 25-27, 2008

The Effect of Focus on Lexical Tones in Vietnamese

Stefanie Jannedy

Center of General Linguistics (ZAS), Berlin, Germany

We investigated the effect of focus on the formation of f0 in two of the six tones of the Hà N.i dialect of Vietnamese. This dialect contrasts six lexical tones, has no tone-sandhi, the language does not have focus markers and uses prosody exclusively to express pragmatic contrasts (Jannedy, 2007) by means of intonational emphasis in ways similar to English or German. To tease out the effect of focus on the duration and f0 of the level tone ngang and the rising tone s.c, identical short SVO-type utterances were elicited with a question-answer paradigm under three focus conditions (subject-, verb-, and object focus). Results indicate that the tone especially under subject- and verb- but also object focus shows an f0-excursion for the ngang tone and a scoop and sharp rise for s.c. Duration of the focused syllable also increases.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Jannedy, Stefanie (2008): "The effect of focus on lexical tones in Vietnamese", In ExLing-2008, 113-116.