Intonation: Theory, Models, and Applications

Athens, Greece
September 18-20, 1997


Prominence Patterns in Italian: An Analysis of F0 and Duration

Edda Farnetani, C. Zmarich

Centro di Studio per le Ricerche di Fonetica, C.N.R., Padova, Italy

This study deals with the suprasegmental structure of trisyllabic nouns with varying stress position in short SV and VS sentences. It investigates the effects of focus structure (contrastive focus vs broad focus vs no focus condition), on F0 patterns and durations. For F0, four pitch movement categories were identified and analyzed in terms of F0 onset/offset time, location of F0 peaks, excursions and rates of F0 movements. The results indicate that the durations of the target nouns are little affected by focus structure, suggesting, especially for final defocused words, that the speakers intended to preserve the stressed/unstressed relation also in absence of pitch movements. Extensive pitch movements were observed in sentence initial position in both broad focus and pre-focal conditions, but were never observed in post-focal condition. The finding that pre-focal words can be characterized by extensive pitch movements suggests that the intended focus structure can be realized and perceived also in this case, provided that the focus on final word is correctly realized.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Farnetani, Edda / Zmarich, C. (1997): "Prominence patterns in Italian: an analysis of F0 and duration", In INT-1997, 115-118.