Speech Prosody 2012

Shanghai, China
May 22-25, 2012

An Acoustic Study of Penultimate Accentuation in Three Varieties of French

Sandra Schwab (1), Mathieu Avanzi (2), Jean-Philippe Goldman (1), Pascal Montchaud (2), Isabelle Racine (1)

(1) Geneva University, Switzerland; (2) Neuchâtel University, Switzerland

The aim of this paper is to provide an acoustical account of penultimate accentuation in some varieties of French. We compare stretches of spontaneous speech produced by 8 Swiss speakers (4 Neuchâtel speakers and 4 Wallis speakers, hereafter "regional varieties") with the productions of a group of 4 Parisian speakers (hereafter "standard variety"). The results of our study show that penultimate accentuation is less frequent in Parisian French than in the Swiss varieties. More interestingly, the study reveals that the phenomenon has different acoustic correlates not only between the standard variety and the regional varieties, but also within the two regional varieties: while Wallis speakers tend to be closer to Parisian speakers using melodic cues to mark their penultimate syllable as prominent, speakers from Neuchâtel tend to prefer using durational cues to do so.

Index Terms: penultimate accentuation, accentual phrase, Parisian French, regional French, spontaneous speech.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Schwab, Sandra / Avanzi, Mathieu / Goldman, Jean-Philippe / Montchaud, Pascal / Racine, Isabelle (2012): "An acoustic study of penultimate accentuation in three varieties of French", In SP-2012, 266-269.