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Further note on French prosody

Abstract : This article describes some of the fundamental frequency (Fo) pattern superimposed to whole lexical words, in read neutral French. Four patterns are presented, each composed by a sequence of Fo movements and/or targets. The falling pattern, P4, is composed of by an initial rise, Ri, and a Fo fall, F (falling) along the rest of the word. P4 marks dependency with the following word. The rising pattern, P1, is composed by a final rise, Rc – for continuation rise-, on the last syllable, preceded by a non-obligatory initial rise, Ri, followed by a Fo fall. The penultimate syllable is low. Rc marks independency with the following word. A Fo peak on the final syllable primarily characterizes P2, the peak pattern, Lp, and Fo in the final syllable may be rising or correspond to a Fo peak. The peak is followed by a rapid lowering (L) toward the next word. P3 is the flat pattern. The more raising the pattern (from P1 to P4) and the more independent from the following word. The paper also describes the alignment rules between the Fo movements or target, and the phonemes. Initial unvoiced consonants favours a very early peak in the word first vowel; in case of unvoiced consonants, the peak is delayed further in the first syllable, and may happen later in the word; Ri has no fixed target, but the beginning of Ri is well aligned with the onset of the word initial syllable. Rc may start at the onsof the word fnale syllable, or later, but the rise has to happen during the vocalic part. The grammatical word tends to be uttered on a low Fo target. Finally, he paper compares the realization of the nuclear stress rule in French and in English. The observed difference may arise because in English sense group there are lexical stresses constraining the alignment of the Fo movements and targets, whereas in French such stresses are absent and hence the different word Fo patterns are applied to words as a whole.
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Jacqueline Vaissière. Further note on French prosody. Quarterly Progress Report, Research Laboratory of Electronics,Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1975, pp.251-262. ⟨halshs-00363974⟩

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