Single vs. double focus in English statements and yes/no questions

Fang Liu, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

This study investigates the acoustic realization of single vs. double focus in statements and yes/no questions in General American English. Four speakers produced four sets of utterances of different lengths with alternating focus and sentence type conditions. Results indicate that double focus increases max F0 and duration of the focused word to a similar degree as single focus in both statements and yes/no questions. Furthermore, post-focus pitch range suppression occurs in both single- and double-focused statements. However, in yes/no questions, post-focus pitch range compression and raising occur only after single focus and focus 2 of double focus. In contrast, F0 after focus 1 of double focus falls gradually until the stressed syllable in focus 2 in yes/no questions. These findings suggest that double focus interacts with sentence type in a more complicated way than single focus in shaping F0 contours of English sentences.