Speech Prosody 2008

Campinas, Brazil
May 6-9, 2008

Dip and Hat Pattern: A Phonological Contrast of German?

Gilbert Ambrazaitis (1), Oliver Niebuhr (2)

(1) Linguistics and Phonetics, Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University, Sweden
(2) Laboratoire Parole et Langage, Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, France

Is the high plateau in a ‘hat pattern’ a phonetic artefact, or does it reflect a phonological feature? Can it contrast with a low plateau, i.e., a ‘dip pattern’? The presented perception experiment supports the phonological point of view, since it shows that the dip/hat contrast can disambiguate German oder-constructions, which are interpretable as ‘alternative’ or ‘yes/no-questions’. This specific function may be derived from a more general substance-function relation: While a hat pattern has a ‘bracketing function’, a dip signals detachment.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Ambrazaitis, Gilbert / Niebuhr, Oliver (2008): "Dip and hat pattern: a phonological contrast of German?", In SP-2008, 269-272.