Prosodic Marking of Information Focus in French

Abstract : This article addresses the controversial issue of the prosodic marking of Information Focus in French. We report the results of three experiments (one in production two in perception) that support three claims. The first one is empirical. Phrases that resolve a question may be set off by two types of intonational marks in French: they host the nuclear pitch accent (NPA) on their right edge and/or they are intonationally highlighted (IH). The second one is analytical: NPA placement is sensitive to the informational/illocutionary partition of the content of utterances, while intonational highlighting (IH) is sensitive to any type of distinguishedness: semantic or pragmatic. The third one is methodological: the "Question/Answer" pair provides a criterion to identify the Information Focus (i.. e. the part of content specifically asserted and making up the update brought about by the utterance) only it the answer is congruent. Congruence of answers is impossible to control in experiments based on question/answers pairs.
keyword : C-ACTI
Document type :
Conference papers
Complete list of metadatas

Cited literature [16 references]  Display  Hide  Download
Contributor : Barbara Hemforth <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 4:30:26 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 12:52:02 PM
Long-term archiving on : Friday, February 22, 2013 - 3:46:25 AM


Files produced by the author(s)


  • HAL Id : halshs-00751070, version 1



Claire Beyssade, Barbara Hemforth, Jean-Marie Marandin, Cristel Portes. Prosodic Marking of Information Focus in French. Interface Discours/Prosodie, 2009, Paris, France. pp.109-122. ⟨halshs-00751070⟩



Record views


Files downloads