Contrastive Pitch Accents and Focus Particles

  • Nicole Gotzner
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Pragmatics, Language and Cognition book series (PSPLC)


This chapter looks at the role of focus intonation in the retrieval of alternatives. In Experiment 5, I investigate the recognition of mentioned alternatives across different pitch accent types, contrastive and non-contrastive ones. [Experiment 5 appeared in the Proceedings of the Cognitive Science Society (see Gotzner, Proceedings of the 35th annual meeting of the cognitive science society, pp. 2434–2440, Cognitive Science Society, Austin, TX, 2013). The experiment was designed and analyzed by myself.] In addition, I explore how the combination of two information-structural cues, contrastive pitch accenting and focus particles, affects the retrieval of alternatives. The results suggest that contrastive pitch accents help in identifying contextual alternatives while focus particles introduce an additional element of competition among members of the alternative set.


Focus intonation Contrastive pitch accents L+H* vs. H* Alternative semantics Exhaustive inferences Implicatures 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole Gotzner
    • 1
  1. 1.Humboldt UniversityBerlinGermany

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