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Prosody refers to semantic factors: Evidence from French wh-words

Abstract : Based on Baunaz (2011), we distinguish among French wh-words and claim that they are three-way ambiguous: they can involve partitivity, specificity (both are presuppositional) and non-presupposition (where nonpresuppositional means not-specific/not-partitive). In addition to semantic differences, specificity and partitivity are argued to involve different prosody with wh-phrases in-situ. Building on an experimental study, we show that the prosody of wh-words supports this analysis by constraining their interpretation: wh-words are exponents of an accent when they involve specificity-based presupposition, i.e., prosody may mark different discourse status in colloquial French. This accent is not found on partitivity-based presuppositional French wh-words.
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Contributor : Cédric Patin <>
Submitted on : Monday, August 27, 2012 - 5:10:15 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 9:57:18 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00725769, version 1



Lena Baunaz, Cédric Patin. Prosody refers to semantic factors: Evidence from French wh-words. Interface Discours-Prosodie 2009, Sep 2009, France. pp.96-107. ⟨halshs-00725769⟩



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