13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Portland, OR, USA
September 9-13, 2012

Disentangling Lexical, Morphological, Syntactic and Semantic Influences on German Prominence - Evidence From a Production Study

Barbara Samlowski (1), Petra Wagner (1), Bernd Möbius (2)

(1) Faculty of Linguistics and Literary Studies, Bielefeld University, Germany
(2) Department of Computational Linguistics and Phonetics, Saarland University, Germany

The aim of this paper is to examine effects on syllable prominence exerted by word and phrase boundaries, lexical stress, and sentence focus, and by the interactions between these factors. In a production study, German verb prefixes potentially forming prosodic minimal word pairs were systematically placed in a set of different contexts. Acoustic analyses showed a consistent effect of lexical stress on syllable prominence in both focused and unfocused sentence positions. When the verb was in sentence focus, even unstressed syllables in bisyllabic prefixes changed as a function of lexical stress. Varying sentence stress only had an effect on syllables in lexically stressed prefixes. While no effect of word boundary was found, unbound verb particles preceding phrase boundaries received the highest prominence values. Syllables in lexically stressed prefixes showed greater acoustic similarity with these unbound particles than did syllables in lexically unstressed prefixes.

Index Terms: syllables, prominence, duration, stress

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Samlowski, Barbara / Wagner, Petra / Möbius, Bernd (2012): "Disentangling lexical, morphological, syntactic and semantic influences on German prominence - evidence from a production study", In INTERSPEECH-2012, 2406-2409.