Article published in:Prosody and Iconicity
Edited by Sylvie Hancil and Daniel Hirst
[Iconicity in Language and Literature 13] 2013
► pp. 109–126
Pragmatic functions and the biological codes
Evidence from the prosody of sentence topic and focus in Egyptian Arabic declaratives
I argue in this paper that the intonational marking of information structure is mainly based on iconic principles relying on the effects of the frequency code (Ohala 1983; Gussenhoven 2002) and the effort code (Gussenhoven 2002). It will be shown that different information structures can be disambiguated, if, in addition to prominence relations, tonal properties are taken into account. Following Lambrecht (1994), I argue for a distinction between pragmatic relations (topic and rhematic focus), which are realized by tonal shape (high/rising or low/falling) and pragmatic properties (focus of interest) realized by prominence. Specifically, it is suggested that deaccenting is only a special case of downtoning, which is also employed in EA to mark presupposed material.
Published online: 28 March 2013
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