Prosodic focus marking in Bai

Zenghui Liu, Aoju Chen, Hans Van de Velde


This study investigates prosodic marking of focus in Bai, a Sino-Tibetan language spoken in the Southwest of China, by adopting a semi-spontaneous experimental approach. Our data have shown Bai speakers increase the duration of the focused constituent and reduce the duration of the post-focus constituent to encode focus. However, duration is not used in Bai to distinguish focus types differing in size and contrastivity. Further, pitch plays no role in signaling focus and differentiating focus types. The results thus suggest that Bai uses prosody to mark focus, but to a lesser extent, compared to Mandarin Chinese, with which Bai has been in close contact for decades, and Cantonese, to which Bai is similar in the tonal system.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-113

Cite as: Liu, Z., Chen, A., Velde, H.V.D. (2014) Prosodic focus marking in Bai. Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014, 628-631, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-113.


@inproceedings{Liu2014,
  author={Zenghui Liu and Aoju Chen and Hans Van de Velde},
  title={{Prosodic focus marking in Bai}},
  year=2014,
  booktitle={Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014},
  pages={628--631},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-113},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-113}
}