Speech Prosody 2002

Aix-en-Provence, France
April 11-13, 2002

Tonal Template for Background Information: the Scaling of Pitch in Utterance-Medial Parentheticals in French

Zsuzsanna Fagyal

French Department, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA

This paper shows that utterance-medial parentheticals elicited in controlled conditions in French have a typical tonal template, in which pitch is scaled down to some extent in non-intonational phrase-final syllables. Downscaling is implemented primarily as pitch register lowering, while pitch range compression seems speaker-dependent. Results also show remarkable inter-speaker consistency in lowering pitch in edge syllables of minor prosodic units. It is suggested that parentheticals represent a case of ‘extreme’ backgrounding of information, which leads to a more uniform treatment of otherwise gradient pitch range variations.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Fagyal, Zsuzsanna (2002): "Tonal template for background information: the scaling of pitch in utterance-medial parentheticals in French", In SP-2002, 279-282.