Volume 29, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0929-0907
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9943
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French and (‘thing’) can function as placeholders, fillers or in general extender constructions. The aim of our paper is to investigate whether the prosodic characteristics of these three different uses may give a clue as to their respective status. For our analysis, we extracted 112 occurrences of and 57 occurrences of from the audio data of the PFC Corpus, which were analysed using Praat, focusing on the acoustic duration, the individual pitch contour and the integration of and into the intonation contour of the utterance. As in previous studies, our results show that the prosodic patterns vary remarkably and show a highly heterogeneous picture so that the use of prosodic properties as cues for disambiguation is problematic. However, we are able to show some weak tendencies which point to a close functional link between placeholders and fillers reflecting their pragmatic functions. There is no evidence for prosodic weakening or even phonetic reduction in placeholders. Furthermore, we detect some evidence for the detachment typical of pragmatic markers in the case of fillers. The prosodic characteristics of and in general extender constructions diverge from both the placeholder and the filler functions. Their prosody seems to be largely determined by the particular respective construction into which both forms are strongly integrated.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): fillers; French; placeholders; pragmaticalization; prosody
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