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Rising intonation in spontaneous French: How well can continuation statements and polar questions be distinguished?

Valtersson, E., & Torreira, F. (2014). Rising intonation in spontaneous French: How well can continuation statements and polar questions be distinguished? In N. Campbell, D. Gibbon, & D. Hirst (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2014 (pp. 785-789).
This study investigates whether a clear distinction can be made between the prosody of continuation statements and polar questions in conversational French, which are both typically produced with final rising intonation. We show that the two utterance types can be distinguished over chance level by several pitch, duration, and intensity cues. However, given the substantial amount of phonetic overlap and the nature of the observed differences between the two utterance types (i.e. overall F0 scaling, final intensity drop and degree of final lengthening), we propose that variability in the phonetic detail of intonation rises in French is due to the effects of interactional factors (e.g. turn-taking context, type of speech act) rather than to the existence of two distinct rising intonation contour types in this language.
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