ASA 125th Meeting Ottawa 1993 May

2aSP16. Articulatory and intonational correlates of French focus.

Gayle M. Ayers

Dept. of Linguist., Ohio State Univ., 1712 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210-1298

Jaw movement and F0 patterns are investigated in a French corpus of neutral utterances and utterances with focus on the initial, medial, or final word. Initial-word length also varied between two or three syllables, and both natural and reiterant copies were produced. The maxima and minima of jaw displacement (jaw closure and opening), peak velocities, and F0 peaks of the target words were measured. Jaw velocity and displacement were correlated identically in neutral and focus utterances. Displacement alone accounted for between 69% (disyllables) and 80% (trisyllables) of the velocity variation. Focused words tended to have a larger displacement on the first syllable. The observed variation in duration could not be accounted for by a displacement-independent variation in peak velocity. In neutral utterances F0 peaks occurred during the last closing gesture of each nonfinal phrase, a pattern that can be represented phonologically by a demarcative phrase-final H tone. In focused utterances, by contrast, F0 peaks occurred during the first closing gesture of the focused word, although there was sometimes also a peak during some later gesture, as in the neutral utterances. The focus H tone is perhaps an accent tone of the English type. A possible correlation between jaw kinematics and the F0 pattern is being investigated.