In this study we measured patterns of pitch alignment, pitch range and duration in relation to broad and contrastive focus in Romanian. In declarative sentences with broad focus, speakers place a pitch accent on each lexically stressed syllable with peaks that become progressively lower towards the end of the sentence. In prenuclear accents peaks align with the post-tonic syllable. In declarative sentences with contrastive focus, speakers use strategies based on pitch and duration in order to build a maximum contrast between the word under focus and those in pre- and post-focal contexts: an expanded pitch range under focus and a reduced pitch range and shorter stressed syllables in pre- and post-focal contexts. Thus, the flat F0 and shorter segmental durations in pre- and post-focal contexts constitute a background that by contrast, highlights the segmental durations and expanded pitch ranges found under contrastive focus.


This is the author accepted manuscript of Manolescu, A., Olson, D. J., & Ortega-Llebaria, M. (2009). Cues to contrastive focus in Romanian. In M. Vigaro, S. Frota, & M. J. Freitas (Eds.), Phonetics and phonology: Interactions and interrelations (pp. 71-90). Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

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