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Pitch scaling and the internal structuring of the Intonation Phrase in French*

  • Mariapaola D'Imperio (a1) and Amandine Michelas (a2)


Within the autosegmental-metrical approach to French intonation, the existence of an intermediate phrase or ip is controversial. Our study provides strong evidence for its existence, by uncovering systematic pitch-scaling effects within this constituent. We first show that the presence of an ip break is responsible for blocking recursive downstep of subsequent AP-final LH* rises in declarative utterances, causing the return of the final H target to the pitch level set by the first accentual peak of the phrase (i.e. complete reset). Additional evidence for the internal structuring of the Intonation Phrase is also provided by partial reset on the postboundary H target as well as by preboundary lengthening on the last syllable of the ip. The pitch-scaling effects are claimed to result from control over the reference pitch level for the entire ip, which can alternatively be modelled through secondary association of the last pitch accent of the domain.


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This work was made possible by a doctoral fellowship from the French Ministry of Education and Research to Amandine Michelas and by support from the Institut Universitaire de France to Mariapaola D'Imperio. This work was also carried out within the Labex Brain and Language Research Institute (ANR-11-LABX-0036) and has benefited from support from the French National Agency of Research (ANR), under the project title ‘Investments of the Future’ A*MIDEX (ANR-11-IDEX-0001-02). We would also like to thank three anonymous reviewers and the editors of this journal for providing insightful suggestions and comments, which helped to greatly improve the quality of the paper.



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Pitch scaling and the internal structuring of the Intonation Phrase in French*

  • Mariapaola D'Imperio (a1) and Amandine Michelas (a2)


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