Acoustic properties of prominence in Hungarian and the Functional Load Hypothesis

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The acoustic properties associated with prominence (e.g. duration, F0) may also serve for “phonemic” contrasts. The question is thus how speakers correctly interpret these properties. We address this question in terms of an extension of the Functional Load Hypothesis (FLH): given that vowel length is contrastive in Hungarian, the FLH predicts that duration will not be the main cue to prominence (i.e. stress or focus). Based on a large, systematically collected corpus, we demonstrate that this is, in fact, the case; the main cue for both is pitch (F0), though its characteristics are different in the two cases. We also demonstrate that the vowel duration contrast is still present in the synchronic structure of Hungarian.


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