Continental French, Corsican French, and the interpretation of intonation: The effect of implicit social cues depends on exposure

James S. German, Cristel Portes


Recent studies have shown that the interpretation of intonational patterns can be influenced by social cues that relate those patterns to sociolectal variation [1, 2]. [2] found that Corsican French listeners interpreted a penultimate rise-fall contour differently depending on which type of implicit social cue was present, reflecting the fact that the contour generally expresses questions in Corsican French and statements in Continental French. [2, 3, 4] suggest that the tendency for social cues to influence perception depends on the amount of exposure that a given sociolectal group has with another. Crucially, Continental French individuals generally have some exposure to Corsican French, though comparatively less than the other way around. This raises the question of whether Continental French listeners are similarly sensitive to social cues in the interpretation of the penultimate rise-fall. The present study tests this hypothesis using the same design as [2]. As expected, Continental French listeners are less likely to interpret the penultimate rise-fall contour as a question, though no significant effect of social cue type was found. This finding corroborates the important role that exposure plays in social priming effects. The combined findings are compared to the predictions of an exemplar theoretic model presented in [2].


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-153

Cite as: German, J.S., Portes, C. (2020) Continental French, Corsican French, and the interpretation of intonation: The effect of implicit social cues depends on exposure. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 749-753, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-153.


@inproceedings{German2020,
  author={James S. German and Cristel Portes},
  title={{Continental French, Corsican French, and the interpretation of intonation: The effect of implicit social cues depends on exposure}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={749--753},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-153},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-153}
}