What causes the activation of contrastive alternatives, the size of focus domain or pitch accent type?

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2015
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WOLTERS, Maria, ed. and others. ICPhS 2015 : 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences ; Proceedings. IPA, 2015. ISBN 978-0-85261-941-4
Zusammenfassung

Theories of information structure argue that focus involves alternative sets; experimental studies have also shown that narrowly focused constituents lead to the activation of alternatives. However, narrow focus can be realized with different accent types, indicating the information status of the referent and it is unclear whether it is focus domain or accent type that conditions the activation of alternatives. In two visual-world eye-tracking experiments in German, we compared narrow focus conditions (Exp1: L+H*, Exp2: H+L*; narrow focus realized on the subject constituent) to a broad focus condition. We analysed participants' fixations to words that are contrastively related to the accented word while they processed the utterance.
Results showed that contrastive associates were not generally fixated more in narrow focus conditions, but only when the narrow focus is realized with an L+H* accent, suggesting that accent type plays a stronger role than focus domain in the activation of contrastive associates.

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Fachgebiet (DDC)
400 Sprachwissenschaft, Linguistik
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information structure, intonational meaning, focus, contrast, eye-tracking, German
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ICPhS 2015 : 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 10. Aug. 2015 - 14. Aug. 2015, Glasgow
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ISO 690BRAUN, Bettina, 2015. What causes the activation of contrastive alternatives, the size of focus domain or pitch accent type?. ICPhS 2015 : 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow, 10. Aug. 2015 - 14. Aug. 2015. In: WOLTERS, Maria, ed. and others. ICPhS 2015 : 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences ; Proceedings. IPA, 2015. ISBN 978-0-85261-941-4
BibTex
@inproceedings{Braun2015cause-32835,
  year={2015},
  title={What causes the activation of contrastive alternatives, the size of focus domain or pitch accent type?},
  url={http://www.icphs2015.info/pdfs/Papers/ICPHS0379.pdf},
  isbn={978-0-85261-941-4},
  publisher={IPA},
  booktitle={ICPhS 2015 : 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences ; Proceedings},
  editor={Wolters, Maria},
  author={Braun, Bettina}
}
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    <dcterms:abstract xml:lang="eng">Theories of information structure argue that focus involves alternative sets; experimental studies have also shown that narrowly focused constituents lead to the activation of alternatives. However, narrow focus can be realized with different accent types, indicating the information status of the referent and it is unclear whether it is focus domain or accent type that conditions the activation of alternatives. In two visual-world eye-tracking experiments in German, we compared narrow focus conditions (Exp1: L+H*, Exp2: H+L*; narrow focus realized on the subject constituent) to a broad focus condition. We analysed participants' fixations to words that are contrastively related to the accented word while they processed the utterance.&lt;br /&gt;Results showed that contrastive associates were not generally fixated more in narrow focus conditions, but only when the narrow focus is realized with an L+H* accent, suggesting that accent type plays a stronger role than focus domain in the activation of contrastive associates.</dcterms:abstract>
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