- Introduction (2007)
- German sentence accent revisited (2004)
- Results of a production experiment on the placement of sentence accent in German are reported. The hypothesis that German fulfills some of the most widely accepted rules of accent assignment— predicting focus domain integration—was only partly confirmed. Adjacency between argument and verb induces a single accent on the argument, as recognized in the literature, but interruption of this sequence by a modifier often induces remodeling of the accent pattern with a single accent on the modifier. The verb is rarely stressed. All models based on linear alignment or adjacency between elements belonging to a single accent domain fail to account for this result. A cyclic analysis of prosodic domain formation is proposed in an optimality-theoretic framework that can explain the accent pattern.
- Information structural notions and the fallacy of invariant correlates (2007)
- In a first step, definitions of the irreducible information structural categories are given, and in a second step, it is shown that there are no invariant phonological or otherwise grammatical correlates of these categories. In other words, the phonology, syntax or morphology are unable to define information structure. It is a common mistake that information structural categories are expressed by invariant grammatical correlates, be they syntactic, morphological or phonological. It is rather the case that grammatical cues help speaker and hearer to sort out which element carries which information structural role, and only in this sense are the grammatical correlates of information structure important. Languages display variation as to the role of grammar in enhancing categories of information structure, and this variation reflects the variation found in the ‘normal’ syntax and phonology of languages.
- Phonology and intonation (2007)
- The encoding standards for phonology and intonation are designed to facilitate consistent annotation of the phonological and intonational aspects of information structure, in languages across a range ofprosodic types. The guidelines are designed with the aim that a nonspecialist in phonology can both implement and interpret the resulting annotation.
- Single prosodic phrase sentences (2008)
- A series of production and perception experiments investigating the prosody and well-formedness of special sentences, called Wide Focus Partial Fronting (WFPF), which consist of only one prosodic phrase and a unique initial accented argument, are reported on here. The results help us to decide between different models of German prosody. The absence of pitch height difference on the accent of the sentence speaks in favor of a relative model of prosody, in which accents are scaled relative to each other, and against models in which pitch accents are scaled in an absolute way. The results also speak for a model in which syntax, but not information structure, influences the prosodic phrasing. Finally, perception experiments show that the prosodic structure of sentences with a marked word order needs to be presented for grammaticality judgments. Presentation of written material only is not enough, and falsifies the results.