The meaning of French “implication” contour in conversation

Cristel Portes, Uwe Reyle


French intonational contours inventory has a rising-falling tune which presents very interesting semantic properties. It has been called “intonation d’implication” by Delattre (1966) suggesting that the contour triggers an implicit meaning, i.e. an implicature in Gricean terms. Besides, the “implication” contour have been claimed to convey various attitudinal meanings from obviousness to exasperation, and also to mark contrastive focus. The aim of the present paper is to give a unified account of these seemingly differing semantic descriptions of the “implication” contour in French, using a dynamic semantic framework, namely Discourse Representation Theory (DRT). We claim that the main semantic component of the “implication” contour is to convey a contradiction (or a contrast). We first present our DRT-theoretical approach, and then apply it to occurrences of the “implication” contour in a corpus of conversational dialogue.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-69

Cite as: Portes, C., Reyle, U. (2014) The meaning of French “implication” contour in conversation. Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014, 413-417, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-69.


@inproceedings{Portes2014,
  author={Cristel Portes and Uwe Reyle},
  title={{The meaning of French “implication” contour in conversation}},
  year=2014,
  booktitle={Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014},
  pages={413--417},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-69},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-69}
}