Competing prominence requirements in verb-first exclamatives with contrastive and given information

Heiko Seeliger, Sophie Repp


Contrast and givenness are reliably marked prosodically in assertions in German. The current study explores if this generalizes to exclamatives, a sentence type that has been argued to be less sensitive to information structure than assertions. The results show that givenness is not marked to the same extent as in assertions: deaccentuation is virtually absent. Contrast is marked reliably, both through an increase of prosodic prominence on the contrastively focused word and through a decrease of prominence on an element that, in the absence of contrast, typically carries the exclamative accent. We propose that information structure and speech act marking have competing requirements in these structures that are resolved by implementing the requirement for high prominence imposed by the speech act in a flexible way. The requirements of information structure, on the other hand, are only realized if compatible with the speech act requirements.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-29

Cite as: Seeliger, H., Repp, S. (2020) Competing prominence requirements in verb-first exclamatives with contrastive and given information. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 141-145, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-29.


@inproceedings{Seeliger2020,
  author={Heiko Seeliger and Sophie Repp},
  title={{Competing prominence requirements in verb-first exclamatives with contrastive and given information}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={141--145},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-29},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-29}
}