Philippe BOULA DE MAREÜIL, Albert RILLIARD & Alexandre ALLAUZEN (Paris Sud)
Diachronic variation in the prosody of French news announcer speech: changes in word initial accent
2012, Vol. XVII-1, pp. 97-111
This study addresses prosodic evolution in the French news announcer style, based on acoustic analysis of French audiovisual archives. A 10-hour corpus covering six decades of broadcast news is investigated automatically, focusing on word-initial stress, which may give an impression of emphatic style. Objective measurements suggest that the following features have decreased since the forties: mean pitch, pitch rise associated with initial stress, and vowel duration characterising an emphatic initial stress. The onsets of stressed initial syllables have become longer while speech rate (measured at the phonemic level) has not changed. This puzzling outcome raises interesting questions for research on French prosody, suggesting that the durational correlates of word-initial stress have changed over time, in the French news announcer style.