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English Sentence Prosody
― The Interface between Sound and Meaning ―

Masao Okazaki
First published:
1998 / 2 / 13
Price (in Japan only):
6,019 yen (Tax Not Included) (320 pages)


This book, which is devoted to an investigation into the relation between sentence accent and meaning, an instance of the form-meaning correspondence, presents a new theory of sentence accent assignment wherein the surface distribution of sentence accents within broad focus domains is determined through two basic stages; one for pitch accent assignment by two semantics-phonology mapping rules, which require that specific NPs on the part of the speaker and action-type predicates in the sense of Nakau's tripartite theory of basic predicate types correspond to a pitch accent within a broad focus domain and the other for nucleus assignment by a genuine phonological rule, which requires that the rightmost pitch-accented word within a Phonological Phrase be most prominent. The proposed theory succeeds in accounting for some classes of puzzling prosodic facts in English and providing a unified account of a wide range of English accentual facts which would otherwise be seen as unrelated to each other. The proposed theory is further shown to be effective at capturing a number of cross-linguistic prosodic similarities and differences in Germanic languages such as German, Dutch, and Danish which prove to be linguistically significant butremain yet to be explained.


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