Intonation: Theory, Models, and Applications

Athens, Greece
September 18-20, 1997


Peak Displacement and Topic Structure

Anne Wichmann (1), Jill House (2), Toni Rietveld (3)

(1) Dept. of Cultural Studies, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK
(2) Dept. of Phonetics and Linguistics, University College London, UK
(3) Dept. of Language and Speech, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands

This paper examines the various constraints, segmental and prosodic, on the alignment of an F0 peak with its associated accented syllable. In a naturally-occurring spoken text (a broadcast news summary in British English) the first accented syllable of each major intonational phrase was identified, and the timing of the associated F0 peak was investigated. Segmental and low-level prosodic constraints reported in the literature were observed to operate. In addition the results suggest the presence of a further, higher-level timing constraint whereby topic initiality appears to cause the F0 peak associated with the first accented syllable to be delayed, in some cases beyond the domain of the syllable itself.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Wichmann, Anne / House, Jill / Rietveld, Toni (1997): "Peak displacement and topic structure", In INT-1997, 329-332.