Speech Prosody 2004

Nara, Japan
March 23-26, 2004

Identification of the Possible Visible Correlates of Contrastive Focus in French

Marion Dohen, Hélène Loevenbruck, Marie-Agnès Cathiard, Jean-Luc Schwartz

Institut de la Communication Parlée UMR CNRS 5009, INPG, Stendhal Univ., Grenoble, France

This study aims at determining whether there are visual cues to contrastive focus in French. An audiovisual corpus was recorded from a male native speaker of French consisting of sentences with a subject-verb-object (SVO) syntactic structure. Four conditions were studied: focus on each phrase (S,V,O) and broad focus. The corpus was first acoustically validated: the pitch maximum over the utterance was generally on a focused syllable and duration and intensity were higher for the focused syllables. Then lip area and jaw opening were extracted from the video. The analysis of the data enabled us to extract a set of visible correlates of contrastive focus in French: a) increase in lip area and jaw opening on the focused item b) lengthening of the prefocal syllable and of the focal syllables (even more significant on the first segment of the focused phrase). Thus, there are visual cues to contrastive focus that may be used in communication.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Dohen, Marion / Loevenbruck, Hélène / Cathiard, Marie-Agnès / Schwartz, Jean-Luc (2004): "Identification of the possible visible correlates of contrastive focus in French", In SP-2004, 77-80.