2020-10-26Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/22089
Foxes, deer, and hedgehogs: The recall of focus alternatives in Vietnamese
Sprach- und literaturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
In tonal languages, the role of intonation in information-structuring has yet to be fully investigated. Intuitively, one would expect intonation to play only a small role in expressing communicative functions. However, experimental studies with Vietnamese native speakers show that intonation contours vary across different contexts and are used to mark certain types of information, for example, focus (Jannedy, 2007). In non-tonal languages (e.g., English), the marking of focus by intonation can influence the processing of focus alternatives (Fraundorf, Watson, & Benjamin, 2010). If Vietnamese also uses intonation to mark focus, the question arises whether the behavioral consequences of prosodic focus marking in Vietnamese are comparable to languages such as English or German. To test this, we replicate a study on memory for focus alternatives, originally carried out in German (Koch & Spalek, in progress), with Vietnamese language stimuli. In the original study, memory for focus alternatives was improved in a delayed recall task for focused elements produced with contrastive intonation in female speakers. Here, we replicate this finding with Northern Vietnamese native speakers: Contrastive intonation seems to improve later recall for focus alternatives in Northern Vietnamese, but only for female participants, in line with the findings by Koch and Spalek (in progress). These results indicate that prosodic focus marking in Vietnamese makes alternatives to the focused element more salient.
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