Contrastive topic constituents in German

Sabine Zerbian, Giuseppina Turco, Nadja Schauffler, Margaret Zellers, Arndt Riester

This article reports on a study investigating the intonational realization of context-changing and context-preserving contrastive topics in German. Results of the pilot study show that both kinds of topics can be marked by different pitch accents on the topic constituent, although speaker-specific differences emerge. When speakers do use different pitch accents, low rises (L*H) exclusively occur on context-changing contrastive topics whereas simple rises ((L)H*) are frequently used for both types. The qualitative results are complemented by a fine-grained phonetic analysis using Functional Data Analysis. Together, the results provide empirical evidence from a carefully controlled study for the impressionistic descriptions found in the literature.

DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2016-71

Cite as

Zerbian, S., Turco, G., Schauffler, N., Zellers, M., Riester, A. (2016) Contrastive topic constituents in German. Proc. Speech Prosody 2016, 345-349.

author={Sabine Zerbian and Giuseppina Turco and Nadja Schauffler and Margaret Zellers and Arndt Riester},
title={Contrastive topic constituents in German},
booktitle={Speech Prosody 2016},