Cross-language data on five types of prosodic focus

Martin Ho Kwan Ip, Anne Cutler

To examine the relative roles of language-specific and language-universal mechanisms in the production of prosodic focus, we compared production of five different types of focus by native speakers of English and Mandarin. Two comparable dialogues were constructed for each language, with the same words appearing in focused and unfocused position; 24 speakers recorded each dialogue in each language. Duration, F0 (mean, maximum, range), and rms-intensity (mean, maximum) of all critical word tokens were measured. Across the different types of focus, cross-language differences were observed in the degree to which English versus Mandarin speakers use the different prosodic parameters to mark focus, suggesting that while prosody may be universally available for expressing focus, the means of its employment may be considerably language-specific.

DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2016-68

Cite as

Ip, M.H.K., Cutler, A. (2016) Cross-language data on five types of prosodic focus. Proc. Speech Prosody 2016, 330-334.

author={Martin Ho Kwan Ip and Anne Cutler},
title={Cross-language data on five types of prosodic focus},
booktitle={Speech Prosody 2016},