The multi-facetted relation between phrasing and intonation contours in French

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Accounts of French prosody have traditionally held that the grouping of words in an utterance, the distribution of accents within those groups, and the intonation contours that can be realized are closely intertwined. Recent proposals claim that these connections can be successfully formalized in the grammar. Prosodic variation provides an excellent testing ground for this claim, since one of the crucial predictions is that the same grammar underlies any variation in prosodic surface forms that can be observed at, for instance, different speaking rates. The results of a production experiment confirm that, as expected, rate has an effect on the frequency distribution and phonetic implementation of prosodic structures, but not on the underlying system of phonological forms.


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