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Cypriot Greek Nuclear Pitch Accents

Chapter in book
Authors Charalambos Themistocleous
Published in In Z. Gavriilidou, A. Efthymiou, E. Thomadaki & P. Kambakis-Vougiouklis (eds), 2012, Selected papers of the 10th ICGL
Pages 796 – 805
Publisher Democritus University of Thrace
Place of publication Komotini, Greece
Publication year 2011
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Pages 796 – 805
Language en
Keywords prosody, information structure, Cypriot Greek
Subject categories Phonetics


This study examines the Cypriot Greek nuclear pitch accents. Specifically, it examines the tonal representation of narrow information focus, broad focus, contrastive focus, and contrastive topic. For this purpose, an experiment has been designed in which four distinct contexts have been devised in order to elicit utterances with different information structure categories. The experiment examined whether the information structure categories are associated with categorically distinct nuclear pitch accents. The results showed no effect of the information structure categories on the realization of the nuclear pitch accents. However, secondary cues from segmental duration distinguish narrow foci from broad focus. These results, which underline a division of labor between phonological structure and meaning interpretation, are difficult to accommodate in models that directly associate meaning to tonal categories.

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