Focus Acoustics and Prosodic Organization in Hong Kong Cantonese and Taiwan Mandarin

Yu-yin Hsu, Anqi Xu

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


The acoustic realization of focus can be influenced by the position of a focalized word in a larger constituent and by constraints on prosodic organization of an utterance. Here, we report four production studies that explore the potential effects of local prosodic organization on the realization of focus in Hong Kong Cantonese (HKC) and Taiwan Mandarin (TwM). The materials consisted of sentences in which a syntactic subject noun phrase (consisted of monosyllabic numeral, classifier, and noun) expressing either corrective or wh focus. The span of the focus constituent within such an NP was controlled using short conversations indicating either (i) the numeral only focus, (ii) the noun only focus, or (iii) the whole noun phrase focus. Our results showed that the acoustic realization of focus in HKC and TwM extends beyond general acoustic highlighting of focus constituents, i.e., the acoustic realization of focus in HKC and TwM are influenced by constraints of prosodic organization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • focus
  • prosodic organization
  • Hong Kong Cantonese
  • Taiwan Mandarin
  • morphosyntactic unit

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