Positional constraints on the initial rise in French

Cristel Portes, Mariapaola D'Imperio, Leonardo Lancia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


A basic constituent of French intonation is the Accentual Phrase (AP), which includes two distinct tonal events: a final LH* accentual rise and an initial LHi rise. A previous study had shown a difference between the rising movements according to the the position of the AP within the intonational phrase (IP): prenuclear (P, IP-initial) versus nuclear (N, IPfinal). The present paper explains this difference through the occurrence of a LHi in P position which does not occur in N position. Specifically, we tested whether LHi can occur adjacent to LH* within the AP and whether the occurrence of LHi triggers initial strengthening of the onset consonant independent of its status (as a liaison consonant or not). Four native speakers of French read target words varying as to their distribution within the intonation phrase as well as to the segmental nature of the target syllable onset (/k/ onset versus /z/ liaison). Results confirm that LHi can be immediately adjacent to LH* within the AP, but only in P position and that the height of its H target is influenced by onset consonant type. The results are discuss relative to the phonological status of the initial rise and the phonological structure of the nuclear pitch accent in our data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 6th International Conference on Speech Prosody, SP 2012
PublisherTongji University Press
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9787560848693
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event6th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2012, SP 2012 - Shanghai, China
Duration: May 22 2012May 25 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 6th International Conference on Speech Prosody, SP 2012


Conference6th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2012, SP 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


  • French
  • Initial rise
  • Intonation
  • Melody
  • Speech prosody


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