Speech Prosody 2012

Shanghai, China
May 22-25, 2012

Phonetic and Phonological Realization of Narrow Focus in English Declarative Sentences by Zhenjiang EFL Learners

Hu Na (1), Jia Yuan (2), Liu Bin (1)

(1) Foreign Languages Department, Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China (2) Phonetics Lab, Institute of Linguistics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, China

Focus is of communication function in discourse. How it is realized by native speakers has long been in vigorous discussion. However, studies on focus concerning language learners are few, with the ones taking dialects into account even fewer. This study takes eight Zhenjiang dialect speakers as the subjects and investigates if their phonetic and phonological realization of narrow focus in English declarative sentences is distinct from native English speakers'. Detailed F0 inspection reveals that Zhenjiang EFL learners' pitch range of the unstressed syllable(s) in the focused word is suppressed more greatly than the native speakers'. Besides, their F0 contours may not always peak on the on-focus stressed syllable as native English speakers'. Moreover, the scope of post-focus suppression seems to include only the unstressed syllables in the focused words, but not all post-focus words.

Index Terms: prosody, focus, Zhenjiang EFL learners

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Na, Hu / Yuan, Jia / Bin, Liu (2012): "Phonetic and phonological realization of narrow focus in English declarative sentences by Zhenjiang EFL learners", In SP-2012, 394-397.