Speech Prosody 2006

Dresden, Germany
May 2-5, 2006

Prosodic Marking of Focus Domains - Categorical or Gradient?

Stefan Baumann, Martine Grice, Susanne Steindamm

IfL - Phonetik, University of Cologne, Germany

This paper reports on a production experiment in German eliciting focus domains of various sizes, ranging from broad to narrow focus, as well as contrastive focus. Results show that speakers use categorical as well as gradient prosodic means to indicate different focus structures, with an increase of prominence-lending cues as the focus domain narrows. Contrast is shown to enhance certain differences between narrow and broad focus. There is a clear indication that speakers differ considerably as to the combination of strategies they employ for marking focus structure.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Baumann, Stefan / Grice, Martine / Steindamm, Susanne (2006): "Prosodic marking of focus domains - categorical or gradient?", In SP-2006, paper 065.