LSPh 03: The Use and Realisation of Accentual Focus in Central Catalan with a Comparison to English

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The Use and Realisation of Accentual Focus in Central Catalan with a Comparison to English

Eva Estebas Vilaplana
Universidad Nacional de Educación A Distancia

This thesis investigates the use of accentuation to indicate broad and narrow focus in the Central dialect of Catalan. In response to a question such as “Who sang the song?” English speakers can say “JOE sang the song”, indicating the narrow focus of the answer by an accent on “Joe” and by the absence of accents on the following words. It has been claimed that in some Romance languages accent cannot be used to indicate focus in this way. Such languages choose instead to alter the grammatical structure of the response, for instance “The song, it was sung by Joe”. In this case, “Joe” is moved to an accentual prominent position.

Estebas-Vilaplana shows that in fact the “English-type” mechanism of achieving focus by re-structuring the prosody is fully available to a Central Catalan speaker and goes on to explore the details of its implementation. In doing this, she investigates quite a number of basic issues in the intonational analysis of Catalan within the Autosegmental-Metrical framework. She makes an interesting discovery that Central Catalan has a boundary tone aligned with the end of the word, and hence that a word level should be incorporated into the prosodic hierarchy. Eva Estebas-Vilaplana currently works at the Distance Learning University in Spain (UNED) as a lecturer in phonetics. She has published many papers on the intonation of Catalan and Spanish. She is the author of the book “Teach Yourself English Pronunciation”.

ISBN 9783895861376. LINCOM Studies in Phonetics 03. 247pp. 2009.

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