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Prosodic encoding of focus in Hijazi Arabic

Alzaidi, MS; Xu, Y; Xu, A; (2019) Prosodic encoding of focus in Hijazi Arabic. Speech Communication , 106 pp. 127-149. 10.1016/j.specom.2018.12.006.

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Abstract

This paper presents findings of the first systematic acoustic analysis of focus prosody in Hijazi Arabic (HA), an under-researched Arabic dialect. A question-answer paradigm was used to elicit information and contrastive focus at different sentence locations in comparison with their neutral focus counterparts. Systematic acoustic analyses were performed to compare all the focus conditions, in terms of both continuous F0 trajectories and specific acoustic measurements. Results show that focused words have significantly expanded excursion size, higher maximum F0 and longer duration. Post-focus words have significantly lowered F0 (except in the case of penultimate focus). Pre-focus words, in contrast, lack systematic changes. These patterns are consistent with previously reported prosodic patterns of focus in other Arabic dialects. They are also consistent with a number of others languages that have also been applied similar systematic acoustic analyses. Thus Arabic appears to belong to a group of languages that all exhibit post-focus compression (PFC), as opposed to languages that lack PFC. In addition, the results also show evidence of prosodic differences between contrastive focus and information focus. This difference, however, is interpreted as due to a methodological feature that allowed elicitation of incredulity related to contrastive focus, rather than as a language-specific property. It is also argued that the possible involvement of incredulity in focus marking needs further research.

Type: Article
Title: Prosodic encoding of focus in Hijazi Arabic
DOI: 10.1016/j.specom.2018.12.006
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.specom.2018.12.006
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: prosodic focus, post-focus compression, Hijazi Arabic
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10064753
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