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Auteur: Sandra SCHWAB

Co-Auteur(s): Mathieu AVANZI, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland Jean-Philippe GOLDMAN, University of Geneva, Switzerland Alice BARDIAUX, F.N.R.S./Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium Pauline DUBOSSON, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Variations in French Accentual Phrase Realization - the Case of Penultimate Marking

Abstract/Résumé: This paper aims at determining whether the presence of penultimate accentuation varies across the varieties of French, at examining acoustic correlates of penultimate prominence marking in a corpus-based perspective, and at discussing the status of such a phenomenon in French phonology. In French, the minimal prosodic unit for pitch accent assignment is not the Phonological Word, but a higher constituent in the prosodic hierarchy, the Accentual Phrase (AP). In the varieties of French spoken in the North of France, AP is tonally marked by a high pitch movement associated with its rightmost full syllable and an optional high tone associated with a syllable on its left (see the LHiLH* pattern identified by Jun & Fougeron [2002]). In the regional varieties of French spoken in the periphery of the Hexagon (Belgium and Switzerland); one variant of this pattern involves the realization of a prominence on the penultimate syllable of the AP. Little work has been dealing with such a prosodic pattern. Yet, the phonological status and the phonetic features associated with penultimate prominent marking in French still remain unsolved issues. In order to examine this question, we analyzed data extracted from the "Phonologie du Français Contemporain" (PFC) database [Durand et al. 2009]. In all, 6 varieties were selected: one variety from France (Paris, Lyon), three varieties spoken in the French-speaking part of Switzerland (Geneva, Neuchâtel, Nyon and Martigny) and two varieties from the French-speaking part of Belgium (Tournai and Liège). For each of these 8 varieties, we selected the recordings of the same text read by 8 speakers. In order to examine the presence of a prominent penultimate syllable within the AP, we first identified the APs boundaries. Then, we coded the penultimate syllable of each AP as prominent or non-prominent. On the other hand, to examine the acoustic features involved in the realization of a penultimate syllable perceived as prominent, we computed, for each parameter (duration, F0, amplitude and F0 rise), the number of UPs ("Unité de perception", according to Rossi [1979]). Taken together the results show that, despite the fact that penultimate prominences appear in the 6 varieties, not all acoustic cues are involved in the same in their realization in the different varieties, and that the question of the phonological status of penultimate marking in French is a complex problem