Publication Details

Dohen, M, Loevenbruck, H and Hill, HC, Visual correlates of prosodic contrastive focus in French: description and inter-speaker variability, Speech Prosody 2006, p 221-224, Dresden, Germany: TUD Press.


This study is a follow-up of previous studies we conducted on the visible articulatory correlates of French prosodic contrastive focus. A two speaker analysis using an automatic lip-tracking device had shown that these correlates existed and were used in visual perception. However the articulatory strategies depended on the speaker. The purpose of this study was thus to extend the analysis to other speakers, examine the similarities and variabilities and try to identify global tendencies. We recorded five speakers of French with a 3D optical tracker using a 13 sentence (subject-verb-object) corpus and four focus conditions (S, V, O or neutral). An articulatory analysis confirmed that visible articulatory correlates exist for all the speakers. The strategies used are mainly of two types: absolute and differential. An analysis of other facial movements showed that an eyebrow raising and/or a head nod can signal focus. This association is however highly inter- and intra-speaker dependent.