Intonation: Theory, Models, and Applications
This paper investigates the pragmatic effect of the pitch of initial unstressed syllables - or "onset' - before the first pitch accent in Dutch intonation contours. The experimental investigation presented here explored two hypotheses: (a) a different choice of onset (high or low) signals a difference in meaning, and (b) the onset is morphologically independent. The finding that onsets contribute significantly to the interpretation of utterances confirmed our first hypothesis. However, we also found that, contrary to the view held in the literature, the attitude signalled by onsets depends on the following pitch accent.
Bibliographic reference. Grabe, Esther / Gussenhoven, Carlos / Haan, Judith / Marsi, E. / Post, B. (1997): "The meaning of intonation phrase onsets in dutch", In INT-1997, 161-164.