Conference Proceedings

Prosodic marking of focus in Nafsan

Janet Fletcher, Rosemary Billington, Nick Thieberger, Sasha Calhoun (ed.), Paola Escudero (ed.), Marija Tabain (ed.), Paul Warren (ed.)

Prosodic marking of focus in Nafsan | Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association | Published : 2019


Languages use a variety of means to realise informational structure categories like topicalisation and focus. The interaction between prosody and focus realisation strategies was examined in Nafsan, a Southern Oceanic language of Vanuatu, in a series of tasks that were designed to explore prosodic realisation of informational and contrastive focus on nouns that were subjects or objects in mini-dialogues where word-order was manipulated. All speakers produced utterance-initial or utterance-final focal elements with a major pitch movement associated with the focused noun (subject or object). Focused nouns were also realised with a wider pitch and often realised in their own prosodic phrase com..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council