4th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 3-6, 1996

Tonal Distinctions Between Emphatic Stress and Pretonic Lengthening in Quebec French

Linda Thibault (1), Marise Ouellet (2)

(1) Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
(2) Ciral, Université Laval, Québec, Canada

This study compares the tonal structures of stressed penultimate syllables in Quebec French and emphatic stress in the same spoken variety. Two main experiments have been conducted: the first was designed to highlight the tonal characteristics of emphatic stress in read and spontaneous speech. The second was concerned with the phonetic and tonal description of stressed, penultimate syllables as a result of a possible stress shift. Our results do not confirm the common assumption that penultimate, stressed syllables in Quebec French are the result of emphatic prominence. Emphatic stress is characterized by a LH tone on the target syllable followed by a more or less abrupt fall covering a particular domain depending on the speech style. By contrast, penultimate stressed syllables are characterized by a falling F0 modulation covering the lengthened syllable. The hypothesis that the tonal anchoring happens on the penultimate syllable could explain the variety of tonal patterns observed on the final syllables in those precise cases.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Thibault, Linda / Ouellet, Marise (1996): "Tonal distinctions between emphatic stress and pretonic lengthening in quebec French", In ICSLP-1996, 638-641.