Speech Prosody 2010

Chicago, IL, USA
May 10-14, 2010

Experimental Work on Prosodically-Marked Information Structure in Selected African Languages (Afroasiatic and Niger-Congo)

Sabine Zerbian, Susanne Genzel, Frank Kügler

Department of Linguistics, University of Potsdam, Germany

Data from lesser-studied languages help to delineate parameters of typological variation. The paper presents experimental work on prosodic marking of information structure in selected African languages. The languages investigated exemplify the cross-linguistic variety found in prosodic focus marking by either lacking marking of information structure by purely prosodic means, or by lowering pitch under focus. Neither prosodic marking of information structure in general nor expansion of pitch range under focus can thus be considered language universals. The review also gives evidence on how cross-linguistically comparable and highly interesting results are provided by adapting experimental methods and methodological standards.

Index Terms: Focus, deaccentuation, African languages, Niger-Congo, Afroasiatic

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Zerbian, Sabine / Genzel, Susanne / Kügler, Frank (2010): "Experimental work on prosodically-marked information structure in selected african languages (afroasiatic and Niger-congo)", In SP-2010, paper 976.