A preliminary study of penultimate accentuation in French

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The aim of this paper is to provide an acoustical study of penultimate accentuation in French. We compare stretches of spontaneous speech produced by four Swiss speakers (from Neuchâtel, considered as the speakers of the regional variety) with the productions of a four Parisian speakers (considered as the speakers of the standard variety). The results of our study lead us to conclude that penultimate accentuation is less frequent in Parisian French than in Swiss French. More interestingly, the study reveals that the penultimate accentuation manifests different acoustic correlates when comparing the two varieties: while French speakers use mostly melodic cues solely to mark their penultimate syllable as prominent, speakers from Neuchâtel tend to prefer to use durational cues to do so.


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