prosodic emphasis OF function words

Jeff Deby debyj at
Mon May 7 16:45:25 UTC 2001

Hello all,

Does anybody know of any research on the phenomenon of prosodic emphasis of
function words, often coupled with the absence of emphasis on content words?

A classic example is flight attendant intonation (which is addressed in
Banks 1995).  For example: "IN case of cabin depressurization,  oxygen masks
WILL drop down FROM the ceiling, providing you WITH oxygen until pressure
can be restored."

I am examining this phenomenon in a corpus of televised ice-hockey
commentary, though I notice it also in news broadcasts, advertisements, and
the public speech of politicians, businesspeople and academics.

Please send replies to me directly and I'll post a summary to the list.

Thanks in advance,

Jeff Deby
PhD Candidate, Sociolinguistics
Georgetown University
debyj at

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