What’s in a rise: Evidence for an off-ramp analysis of Dutch Intonation

Chen, A. (2011). What’s in a rise: Evidence for an off-ramp analysis of Dutch Intonation. In W.-S. Lee, & E. Zee (Eds.), Proceedings of the 17th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences 2011 [ICPhS XVII] (pp. 448-451). Hong Kong: Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics, City University of Hong Kong.
Pitch accents are analysed differently in an onramp analysis (i.e. ToBI) and an off-ramp analysis (e.g. Transcription of Dutch intonation - ToDI), two competing approaches in the Autosegmental Metrical tradition. A case in point is pre-final high rise. A pre-final rise is analysed as H* in ToBI but is phonologically ambiguous between H* or H*L (a (rise-)fall) in ToDI. This is because in ToDI, the L tone of a pre-final H*L can be realised in the following unaccented words and both H* and H*L can show up as a high rise in the accented word. To find out whether there is a two-way phonological contrast in pre-final high rises in Dutch, we examined the distribution of phonologically ambiguous high rises (H*(L)) and their phonetic realisation in different information structural conditions (topic vs. focus), compared to phonologically unambiguous H* and H*L. Results showed that there is indeed a H*L vs. H* contrast in prefinal high rises in Dutch and that H*L is realised as H*(L) when sonorant material is limited in the accented word. These findings provide new evidence for an off-ramp analysis of Dutch intonation and have far-reaching implications for analysis of intonation across languages.
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