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The Intonation of Topic and Focus: Zaar (Nigeria), Tripoli Arabic (Lybia), Juba Arabic (South Sudan) and Tamasheq (Niger)

Abstract : The CorpAfroAs project, by gathering a group of languages into a set of machine-searchable corpora annotated with the same standard glossing system, has given us the opportunity of carrying-out this typologically-oriented study of the intonation of Topic and Focus in Afroasiatic languages, in relation to their phonological and information structures. The interest of this particular corpus is manifold: as Afroasiatic languages have phonologized pitch into different prosodic systems that vary from a demarcative accent system, e.g. Berber; to a lexical stress system, e.g. Tripoli Arabic; a pitch accent system, e.g. Juba Arabic; and a tone system, e.g. Hausa and Zaar, the question arises as whether these different prosodic systems correlate with different intonation systems. 2 More particularly, how does declination, which seems to be a universal of the intonation of declarative sentences, interact with other sentence types, such as Yes/No-Questions, WH-Questions, Exclamations, etc.? Likewise, when we switch to the study of information structure, is there a correlation between the prosodic systems and the intonational exponents of Topic and Focus? Between morphological and intonational exponents of Topic and Focus? In order to address these various questions, the paper will first set up the concepts and typological frame used for the study. Then, we will present a case study of four languages (Zaar, Tamasheq, Juba Arabic and Tripoli Arabic), each of them exemplifying a different prosodic system. Finally, we will end up by comparing the four systems, and drawing conclusions from a typological point of view. 1 TOPIC AND FOCUS
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Submitted on : Sunday, January 3, 2016 - 10:28:13 AM
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Bernard Caron, Cécile Lux, Stefano Manfredi, Christophe Pereira. The Intonation of Topic and Focus: Zaar (Nigeria), Tripoli Arabic (Lybia), Juba Arabic (South Sudan) and Tamasheq (Niger). Amina Mettouchi; Martine Vanhove; Dominique Caubet. Corpus-based Studies of lesser-described Languages: the CorpAfroAs Corpus of spoken AfroAsiatic languages. , John Benjamins, pp.63-115, 2015, 9789027203762. ⟨hal-01249782⟩



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