Reaccentuation or deaccentuation: a comparative study of Italian and Dutch

This paper reports on a comparative analysis of accentuation
strategies within Italian and Dutch NPs. Accent-patterns were obtained
in a (semi-)spontaneous way via a simple dialogue-game with
8 Dutch speakers and 4 Italian ones. In this way, target descriptions
of all speakers were obtained in the following four contexts:
all new, single contrast in the adjective, single contrast in the noun,
and double contrast. It was found that the two languages both signal
information status prosodically, but in a rather different way. In
Dutch, accent distribution is the main discriminative factor: new and
contrastive information are accented, while given information is not.
Newness and contrastive accents were not intonationally different,
yet a post-hoc test revealed that listeners could distinguish a contrastive
intonation from a newness one, because contrastive accents
generally were the sole accent in the phrase and always had the shape
of a nuclear accent even in non-default positions. In Italian, distribution
is not a significant factor, since within the elicited NPs both
adjective and noun are always accented, irrespective of the status
of the information. However, there is a gradient difference in that
"given accents" are perceived as less prominent than the other two,
while there is no overall perceptual difference between contrastive
and newness accents.

Tipo Pubblicazione: 
Contributo in volume
Author or Creator: 
Swerts M.
Avesani C.
Krahmer E.
Proceedings of the 14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, edited by J. Ohala. Y.Hasegawa, M. Ohala, D. Granville, A. Bailey, pp. 1541–1544, 1999
Resource Identifier:
ISTC Author: 
Ritratto di Cinzia Avesani
Real name: