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Hierarchical organisation and tonal scaling*

  • Hubert Truckenbrodt (a1) and Caroline Féry (a2)

Ladd (1988) investigates configurations A[BC] vs. [AB]C of three English clauses containing clause-internal downstep. A sister-node relation between clauses (but not a sequential relation) leads to downstep among clauses, such that C is systematically lower than B in A[BC] but not in [AB]C. These findings are replicated here with German data. In addition, the German phenomenon of upstep (Truckenbrodt 2007b) arguably targets the phonetic reference line that models lowering among clauses (van den Berg et al. 1992). We show that both Ladd's and our results also support Selkirk's (2011) suggestion that root sentences/illocutionary clauses can be interpreted as matched to intonational phrases (not just aligned with them, as in Downing 1970). The results also suggest that, in addition to downstep among intonational phrases, phrase-final lowering takes place.

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We would like to thank Bob Ladd and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments, and Kirsten Brock for proofreading and stylistic work on this article. All errors are of course our own. The research reported here was made possible by a guest professorship at the Centre of Cognitive Studies in Potsdam during the winter semester 2002–03 for the first author. This research was supported by the SFB 632 on Information Structure at the University of Potsdam for the second author, and by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Grant 01UG1411).

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