Hat Contour in Dutch: Form and Function

Gouming Martens, Michael Wagner, Francisco Torreira


The hat contour is an intonation pattern which starts with a rise and ends in a fall, creating an apparent hat-shape. Although most researchers agree that the hat contour consists of a rise and a fall, there is little consensus about the actual phonological form. As a consequence, theories about the meaning of the hat pattern are very diverse. This research makes an attempt at gaining a better understanding of the relationship between the form and meaning of one specific hat contour in Dutch: Something we will refer to as the early-fall hat contour. Based on analyses by Ludwig and Wagner who claim that the hat-pattern indicates that there is at least one true alternative proposition, an online experiment was set up. The stimuli in the online experiment were manipulated for the timing of the fall and the availability of alternative propositions. The results point towards a preference for an early fall hat contour when alternative propositions are available. Therefore the results seem to support Ludwig's and Wagner's analyses of the hat contour. The relation between the timing of the fall and the existence of alternative propositions is rather weak and more research is needed to get a better understanding.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-82

Cite as: Martens, G., Wagner, M., Torreira, F. (2020) Hat Contour in Dutch: Form and Function. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 399-403, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-82.


@inproceedings{Martens2020,
  author={Gouming Martens and Michael Wagner and Francisco Torreira},
  title={{Hat Contour in Dutch: Form and Function}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={399--403},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-82},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-82}
}