Speech Prosody 2002

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

The Prosody of Focus: a Case-Study with Cross-Linguistic Implications

Sónia Frota

Departamento de Linguística Geral e Românica, University of Lisbon, Portugal

It is well-known that focus may have a prosodic reflection in various languages, affecting prosodic phrasing, prominence and/or intonation. However, the issue whether there is any relationship among the different kinds of prosodic marking remains unclear. This paper presents a detailed examination of the prosody of focus in European Portuguese. It is shown that there are no phrasing effects of focus; by contrast, phrasal stress and tonal events play a crucial role in the expression of focus. Implications of these findings for a cross-linguistic understanding of focus prosody are explored, namely it is argued that the prosodic reflexes are not universal, or arbitrary.

Full Paper

Sound Examples:  Fig. 1 Fig. 2a Example (9a)
Fig. 2b Example (9b)

Bibliographic reference.  Frota, Sónia (2002): "The prosody of focus: a case-study with cross-linguistic implications", In SP-2002, 315-318.