How focus and givenness shape prosody

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


Caroline Féry and Shinichiro Ishihara proposes a model of how syntax and information structure (focus and givenness) shape prosody where prosodic phrasing and tonal effects are kept apart. It is argued that the prosodic effects of syntactic structure and those of information structure should be kept apart. It is shown that in German and Japanese, syntactic structure primarily influences prosodic phrasing, which we assume to be recursive. Information structure, on the other hand, influences tonal structure, keeping phrasing intact. In a comparison between the two languages, it becomes apparent that prosodic domains corresponding to focus and givenness domains are subject to tonal readjustments. A further point made in the chapter is that the amount of downstep and reset of register domains is language-dependent.


External organisations
  • University of Potsdam
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


  • Focus, Givenness, Phrasing, Prosody, Register
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInformation Structure
Subtitle of host publicationTheoretical, Typological, and Experimental Perspectives
EditorsMalte Zimmerman, Caroline Féry
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191721786
ISBN (Print)9780199570959
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes