Effects of dialect and context on the realisation of German prenuclear accents

Braun, B. (2007). Effects of dialect and context on the realisation of German prenuclear accents. In J. Trouvain, & W. J. Barry (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2007) (pp. 961-964). Dudweiler: Pirrot.
We investigated whether alignment differences reported for Southern and Northern German speakers (Southerners align peaks in prenuclear accents later than Northerners) are carried over to the production of different functional categories such as contrast. To this end, the realisation of non-contrastive theme accents is compared with those in contrastive theme-rheme pairs such as ‘Sam rented a truck and Johanna rented a car.’ We found that when producing this ‘double-contrast’, speakers mark contrast both phonetically by delaying and rising the peak of the theme accent (‘Johanna’) and/or phonologically by a change in rheme accent type (from high to falling ‘car’). The effect of dialect is complex: a) only in non-contrastive contexts produced with a high rheme accent Southerners align peaks later than Northerners; b) peak delay as a means to signal functional contrast is not used uniformly by the two varieties. Dialect clearly affects the realisation of prenuclear accents but its effect is conditioned by the pragmatic and intonational context.
Publication type
Proceedings paper
Publication date
2007

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