ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2010
ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2010

Contrastive focus in Mandarin Chinese

Markus Greif

The present study investigates the prosodic realization of two types of contrastive (i.e., corrective) foci relative to wh-focus in Mandarin Chinese: the semantic alternative-based and a discourse-pragmatic type of contrastive focus according to which the contrast is primarily yielded by assumptions on speaker-hearer expectations on the Common Ground. It can be shown that the pragmatically oriented corrective focus is marked more distinctively in terms of prosody than is the alternative-based. Based on this empirical evidence, it is suggested to re-evaluate the current definition of contrast which mainly refers to semantic alternatives and to integrate the findings into existing models on the implementation of lexical tones.

Index Terms: corrective focus, wh-focus, lexical tones, speaker-hearer expectations, semantic alternatives

Cite as: Greif, M. (2010) Contrastive focus in Mandarin Chinese. Proc. Speech Prosody 2010, paper 836

  author={Markus Greif},
  title={{Contrastive focus in Mandarin Chinese}},
  booktitle={Proc. Speech Prosody 2010},
  pages={paper 836}