4th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 3-6, 1996

On the Interaction of Clash, Focus and Phonological Phrasing

Irene Vogel (1), Steve Hoskins (1,2)

(1) University of Delaware, USA
(2) A.I. Dupont Institute, USA

This paper examines several phonetic and phonological issues related to the rhythmic form of English sentences. Specifically, we are concerned with the acoustic cues signaling the Rhythm Rule as well as the ways phonological phrasing, clash and focus contribute to the application of this rule. On the basis of acoustic and a TOBI style pitch accent analysis of a relatively large corpus of sentences read by 5 subjects, we show how (Phonological) Phrase Final Lengthening and focus have especially strong effects on the duration of our target words, and in particular on the final (as opposed to the first) rhyme of the words. On the basis of the application and specific manifestation of the Rhythm Rule, we found that narrow focus on a word seems to induce a break immediately following it, as was expected. It also appeared that focus may induce a break before the word, contrary to our expectations, leading to more complex analysis of the acoustic effect of focus in the relevant contexts.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Vogel, Irene / Hoskins, Steve (1996): "On the interaction of clash, focus and phonological phrasing", In ICSLP-1996, 2040-2043.