Second International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP'92)

Banff, Alberta, Canada
October 13-16, 1992

The Influence of Focus Distribution and Lexical Stress on the Temporal Organisation of the Syllable

Agaath Sluijter (1), Vincent J. van Heuven (1), A. H. Neijt (2)

(1) Dept. Linguistics/Phonetics Laboratory; (2) Dept. of Dutch Language and Literature, Leyden University, The Netherlands

According to Neijt two independent representations for prosodic prominence are needed in languages such as Dutch and English. A non-culminative autosegmental structure with high and low tones accounts for pitch accents in focused constituents, and a culminative metrical structure accounts for the lexical stress position in a word, which is phonetically coded in relative duration. The most far reaching consequence following from this proposal is that relative temporal structure of a word does not change if a pitch accent is shifted to an unstressed syllable. Sluijter showed on the basis of syllable duration measurements that this prediction was untenable. However, since the rhyme of the syllable is the most important part for stress assignment, we reanalysed our duration data for the onset and rhyme portions separately. Our results now support the hypothesis of a culminative metrical structure, which remains observable even when pitch accents do not cooccur.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Sluijter, Agaath / Heuven, Vincent J. van / Neijt, A. H. (1992): "The influence of focus distribution and lexical stress on the temporal organisation of the syllable", In ICSLP-1992, 349-352.