Where do questions begin? – phrase-initial boundary tones in Hungarian polar questions

Katalin Mády, Ádám Szalontai


Hungarian prosody is left-headed, as suggested by the placement of the accent on the initial syllable on the level of prosodic words and the placement of the strongest pitch accent on the first accented word of the prosodic phrase. Earlier studies have pointed out that the left edge of the intonational phrase can bear a phrase-initial boundary tone that distinguishes between string-identical wh-interrogatives and wh-exclamatives. In this paper, two other string-identical sentence types, polar questions and declaratives, are investigated with respect to their prosodic features. Polar questions were characterised by a higher f0 maximum and a lower sentence-initial f0 than declaratives. The only pitch accent within the sentence was low, whereas declaratives had falling pitch accents. Sentence-final f0 and the pitch level of the accented syllable did not show a consistent pattern across speakers. It is concluded that low sentence-initial f0 together with the high tone on the penultimate syllable is a relevant marker of polar questions in Hungarian.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-101

Cite as: Mády, K., Szalontai, Á. (2014) Where do questions begin? – phrase-initial boundary tones in Hungarian polar questions. Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014, 568-572, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-101.


@inproceedings{Mády2014,
  author={Katalin Mády and Ádám Szalontai},
  title={{Where do questions begin? – phrase-initial boundary tones in Hungarian polar questions}},
  year=2014,
  booktitle={Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014},
  pages={568--572},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-101},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-101}
}