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The prosody of Occitan-French bilinguals

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Abstract

Occitan is a threatened Gallo-Romance language in a diglossic contact situation with French in Southern France. To examine the extent of prosodic interference we proceeded to a comparative analysis of semi-spontaneous speech recorded with bilingual speakers in both languages and monolingual northern French speakers. The higher frequency of schwa syllables gives southern French rhythmic properties that recall Occitan. Both languages display Accentual Phrases, a prosodic unit that may contain more than one lexical word but only one final pitch accent, and an optional initial rise. However, in the bilinguals’ prosody, AP-internal rhythmic prominences denote a tendency to maintain remainders of Occitan lexical accent in their French, whereas they correspond to a weakening of word accent in Occitan under French influence.

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