Pitch Cues for the Recognition of Yes-No Questions in French

  • Monique VionEmail author
  • Annie Colas
Original Paper


Linguistic studies of the intonation of Yes–No questions in French show that, in questions containing more than two stress groups, interrogative intonation is characterized by a sequence of lowered pitches or downstepped tones which precede the final rise. The gating paradigm was used here to determine whether subjects listening to French NP utterances containing three stress groups could indicate whether the utterance was an statement or a question before the final rise was heard. Although the task was difficult, findings indicate that listeners can in fact to a certain extent, recognize with mid confidence ratings, the intonational device of a question while they were hearing the downstepped tones preceding the final rise.


French language Melodic cues Yes–No question Recognition Gating paradigm 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS UMR 6057: Parole & Langage, Psycholinguistics teamUniversity of ProvenceAir-en-Provence Cedex 1France

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