The 4th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages

Nijmegen, The Netherlands
May 13-16, 2014

The Effects of Pragmatic Focus on Norwegian Tonal Accent

Niamh Kelly, Rajka Smiljaniċ

Department of Linguistics, The University of Texas at Austin, USA

The present paper examines the effect of pragmatic focus on the realisation of the lexical pitch accent contrast in the Trøndersk variety of Norwegian. Target disyllabic words with accent 1 and accent 2 were read with broad and narrow focus by 10 native speakers of Trøndersk. Broad-to-narrow focus changes were implemented through an expanded pitch range and vowel lengthening for both accents. A different effect of focus on the two accents was also found. Accent 1 words had no change in the timing of tonal events in narrow focus compared to broad focus, while accent 2 words had a later alignment of the pitch contour in narrow focus. An unexpected H tone, a ‘word-focus tone’ was also found at the end of a number of target words. The results thus revealed that narrow focus affected pitch cues even though these are primarily used to distinguish the lexical pitch contrasts. Furthermore, the asymmetrical impact of focus on accent 1 and accent 2 words increases the distinction between two accents.

Index Terms: lexical pitch accent, Norwegian, focus, Scandinavian, prosody

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kelly, Niamh / Smiljaniċ, Rajka (2014): "The effects of pragmatic focus on norwegian tonal accent", In TAL-2014, 95-99.