Intonational realisation of topic and focus by Dutch-acquiring 4- to 5-year-olds
Intonational realisation of topic and focus by Dutch-acquiring 4- to 5-year-olds. In J. Trouvain, & W. J. Barry (Eds.
), Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2007)
(pp. 1553-1556). Dudweiler: Pirott.
This study examined how Dutch-acquiring 4- to 5-year-olds use different pitch accent types and deaccentuation to mark
topic and focus at the sentence level and how they differ
from adults. The topic and focus were non-contrastive and
realised as full noun phrases. It was found that children
realise topic and focus similarly frequently with H*L,
whereas adults use H*L noticeably more frequently in focus
than in topic in sentence-initial position and nearly only in focus in sentence-final position. Further, children frequently realise the topic with an accent, whereas adults mostly deaccent the sentence-final topic and use H*L and H* to realise the sentence-initial topic because of rhythmic
motivation. These results show that 4- and 5-year-olds have
not acquired H*L as the typical focus accent and deaccentuation as the typical topic intonation yet. Possibly, frequent use of H*L in sentence-initial topic in adult Dutch has made it difficult to extract the functions of H*L and deaccentuation from the input.