2010-06-11 03:50:50 通知 wangfeng
(Prosodic patterns of focus and their cross-linguistic distributions)
Department of Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences, University College London, UK
Much of the existing research on prosodic focus has tried either to argue that every language employs a unique accent- or phrasing-based phonology, or to search for cross-linguistic phonetic universals in terms of prominence. A different line of research over the past two decades has shown evidence that the most effective prosodic encoding of focus involves not only phonetic variations in the focused component itself, but also a reduction of pitch range and intensity of the post-focus components, a phenomenon known as post-focus compression (PFC). More recent research has shown that languages are divided in terms of the presence of PFC: while Beijing Mandarin and English both belong to PFC languages, Taiwanese and Cantonese do not. More interestingly, Taiwan Mandarin, unlike Beijing Mandarin, seems to have lost PFC due to its close contact with Taiwanese. These new findings have lead to a novel hypothesis: that there is a geographically based global typological divide in regard to the presence of PFC, and that PFC has a single historical origin and is spread cross-linguistically through language contact. I will show that this single-origin of PFC hypothesis, though seemingly outlandish, is testable using straightforward but sophisticated phonetic-based experimentation, and that free digital tools are available to facilitate a large scale international collaborative investigation to test the hypothesis.