Speech Prosody 2006

Dresden, Germany
May 2-5, 2006

What is Emphasis and How is it Coded?

Klaus J. Kohler

Institute of Phonetics and Digital Speech Processing (IPDS), Christian-Albrechts-University at Kiel, Germany

The meaning category emphasis is examined with regard to its semantic, pragmatic, and affective components and their prosodic coding in German, English, and Dutch. In particular, a distinction is made between emphasis for focus, which singles out elements of discourse by making them more salient than others, and emphasis for intensity, which intensifies the meaning contained in the elements. To evaluate intensity negatively a force accent comes into play, which is signalled by non-pitch features. The question of universals is also addressed. Sound illustrations may be found in [1].


  1. www.ipds.uni-kiel.de/kjk/publikationen/audiobsp.en.html (Sound examples for this paper)

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kohler, Klaus J. (2006): "What is emphasis and how is it coded?", In SP-2006, paper 015.