Intonation: Theory, Models, and Applications

Athens, Greece
September 18-20, 1997


Perceptual Identification of Sentence Type and The Time-Distibution of Prosodic Interrogativity Markers in Dutch

Vincent J. van Heuven (1), Judith Haan (2), Esther Janse (1), Erik Jan van der Torre (1)

(1) Phonetics Laboratory, Department of Linguistics and Holland Institute of Generative Linguistics, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands
(2) Department of General Linguistics and Dialectology, Centre for Language Studies, Nijmegen University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Dutch distinguishes at least four sentence types: statements and questions, the latter type being subdivided into wh-questions (beginning with a question word), yes/no-questions (with inversion of subject and finite), and declarative questions (lexico-syntactically identical to statement). Acoustically, each of these (sub)types was found to have clearly distinct global F0-patterns, as well as a characteristic distribution of final rises [1,2]. The present paper explores the separate contribution of parameters of global downtrend and size of accent-lending pitch movements versus aspects of the terminal rise to the human identification of the four sentence (sub)types, at various positions in the time-course of the utterance. The results show that interrogativity in Dutch can be identified at an early point in the utterance. However, wh-questions are not distinct from statements.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Heuven, Vincent J. van / Haan, Judith / Janse, Esther / Torre, Erik Jan van der (1997): "Perceptual identification of sentence type and the time-distibution of prosodic interrogativity markers in dutch", In INT-1997, 317-320.