Durational Cues and Prosodic Phrasing in French: Evidence for the Intermediate Phrase

Amandine Michelas, Mariapaola D’Imperio, Université Aix-Marseille I et Laboratoire Parole et langage, CNRS

Studies addressing prosodic constituency in French generally agree on two levels of phrasing (accentual phrase, AP, and intonation phrase, IP), while the existence of an intermediate level of phrasing (intermediate phrase, ip) is still controversial. In this study we examine durational cues in a read speech corpus at normal and fast rates in which the target syllable was either adjacent to a prosodic boundary or word-internal. Additional evidence for the existence of an intermediate level of phrasing between the AP and the IP was found: the vicinity to an ip-boundary is signaled by durational cues that are stronger than the ones associated to an AP-boundary, yet this lengthening is weaker than the one found in the vicinity of an IP boundary.