The P* reading group will meet for the final time this semester next Tuesday at 13:30 in room 002 (and on Zoom). This week, Olivia will be presenting on Kügler & Gentzel’s 2011 paper “On the prosodic expression of pragmatic prominence: The case of pitch register lowering in Akan,” which is attached and on the Drive. Below is an abstract:
This article presents data from three production experiments investigating the prosodic means of encoding information structure in Akan, a tone language that belongs to the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo family, spoken in Ghana. Information structure was elicited via context questions that put target words either in wide, informational, or corrective focus, or in one of the experiments also in pre-focal or post-focal position rendering it as given. The prosodic parameters F0 and duration were measured on the target words. Duration is not consistently affected by information structure, but contrary to the prediction that High (H) and Low (L) tones are raised in ex situ (fronted) focus constructions we found a significantly lower realization of both H and L tones under corrective focus in ex situ and in situ focus constructions. Givenness does not seem to be marked prosodically. The data suggest that pragmatic prominence is expressed prosodically by means of a deviation from an unmarked prosodic structure. Results are thus contradicting the view of the effort code that predicts a positive correlation of more effort resulting in higher F0 targets.