The phonology of second occurrence focus

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Abstract

This paper investigates the question of whether and how Second Occurrence Focus (SOF) is realized phonetically in German. The apparent lack of phonetic marking on SOF has raised much discussion on the semantic theory of focus (Partee 1999, Rooth 1992). Some researchers have reported the existence of phonetic marking of SOF in the postnuclear area (Rooth 1996, Beaver et al. 2007). In our experimental study with German sentences, we examined sentences both with prenuclear SOF and with postnuclear SOF, comparing them with their first occurrence focus (FOF) and non-focus counterparts. The results show that the phonetic prominence of focus (higher pitch/longer duration) is realized differently according to the type of focus as well as according to the position of the target expression. We account for these differences by considering several phonetic effects, those that are information-structure-related and those that are phonologically motivated.

Details

Authors
External organisations
  • University of Potsdam
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Specific Languages
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-313
JournalJournal of Linguistics
Volume45
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jul 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
Externally publishedYes