An intonational comparison of Yes/No Questions between the dialect of Evia and Standard Greek

Katerina Panussi


This paper presents an Autosegmental analysis of the intonational contour of Yes/No Questions in Evia Greek (EG) and compares it to that of Standard Modern Greek (SMG). It is shown that the two dialects can express Y/N questions differently: where SMG has a rise-fall at the end of the question, EG can have either a similar contour to SMG or a rise as a boundary tone. In our analysis, we followed the auto-segmental metrical theory and in particular GRToBI (Arvaniti & Baltazani 2005). We collected sound data from 4 native speakers of EG via 4 different production experiments, manipulating the position of the last stressed syllable (final syllable, penult, and antepenult). Therefore, we controlled the realisation of tonal targets under tonal crowding conditions. We also measured the scaling and the alignment of nuclear accents and phrase-edge tones. A different phonetic realization has frequency of occurrence of 71% in the dialectal variety, that is described with low nuclear accent (L*), a bitonal phrase tone (LH-) and a H(igh) edge tone (H%), which sound similar to the Elliptical Questions in SMG or continuation rise, but do not have the same function.


intonation, Yes/No questions, dialect, phonological realization, phonetic realization

Full Text:



Arvaniti, Α. 2002. The intonation of yes-no questions in Greek. In M. Makri-Tsilipakou (ed.), Selected Papers on Theoretical and Applied Linguistics. Thessaloniki: Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, School of English, Aristotle University, 71-83.

Arvaniti, A. & M. Baltazani. 2000. GREEK ToBI: A system for the annotation of Greek speech corpora. In M. Gavrilidou, G. Carayannis, S. Markantonatou, S. Piperidis, G. Stainhaouer (eds), Proceedings of Second International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2000), vol. II. Paris: European Language Resources Association, 555-562.

Arvaniti, A. & M. Baltazani. 2005 Intonational analysis and prosodic annotation of Greek spoken corpora. In S.-A. Jun (ed.), Prosodic typology: The phonology of intonation and phrasing. Oxford University Press, 84-117.

Arvaniti, A., D.R. Ladd & I. Mennen. 1998. Stability of tonal alignment: The case of Greek prenuclear accents. Journal of Phonetics 26: 3-25.

Arvaniti, A., D.R. Ladd & I. Mennen. 2000. What is a starred tone? Evidence from Greek. In M. Broe & J. Pierrehumbert (eds), Papers in laboratory phonology V: Acquisition and the lexicon. Cambridge University Press, 119-131.

Arvaniti, A., D.R. Ladd & I. Mennen. 2006. Phonetic effects of focus and ‘tonal crowding’ in intonation: evidence from Greek polar questions. Speech Communication 48(6): 667-696.

Baltazani, M. 2007. Intonation of polar questions and the location of nuclear stress in Greek. C. Gussenhoven & T. Riad (eds), Tones and tunes: Experimental studies in word and sentence prosody, vol. II, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 387-405.

Baltazani, M. & S.-A. Jun. 1999. Focus and topic intonation in Greek. Proceedings of the XIVth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, vol. 2, 1305-1308.

Beckman, M.E. & J.B. Pierrehumbert. 1986. Intonational structure in Japanese and English. Phonology Yearbook 3: 255-310.

Beckman, Μ.Ε. & G. Ayers Elam. 1993. Guidelines for ToBI labelling, The Ohio State University Research Foundation.

Boersma, P. & D. Weenink. 2009. Praat: Doing phonetics by computer (Version 5.1.05) [Computer program]. Retrieved on 10 May, 2009 from

Brugos, A., S. Shattuck-Hufnagel & N. Veilleux. 2006. Transcribing prosodic structure of spoken utterances with ToBI. MIT Open Courseware. Retrieved from

D'Imperio, M., F.B. Gili & O. Niebuhr. 2010. Alignment perception of high intonational plateaux in Italian and German. In SP-2010, paper 186.

Goldsmith, J. 1976. An overview of autosegmental phonology. Linguistic Analysis 2(1): 23-68.

Grice, M. 1995. The intonation of interrogation in Palermo Italian: Implications for intonation theory. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

Grice, M., D.R. Ladd & A. Arvaniti. 2000. On the place of phrase accents in intonational phonology. Phonology 17: 143-185.

Gussenhoven, C. 2004. The phonology of tone and intonation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hirst, D. 1988. Tonal units as phonological constituents: The evidence from French and English intonation. In H. van der Hulst & N. Smith (eds), Autosegmental studies in pitch accent. Dordrecht: Foris.

Ladd, D.R. 1996. Intonational phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ladefoged, P. 2007. Εισαγωγή στη Φωνητική. Μ. Μπαλτατζάνη (μτφ.). Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Πατάκη.

Leben, W. 1973 Suprasegmental phonology. PhD thesis, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts. [Distributed by Indiana University Linguistics Club, Bloomington.]

Pierrehumbert, J. 1980. The phonetics and phonology of English intonation. Ph.D. Dissertation, MIT.

Pitrelli, J., M. Beckman & J. Hirschberg. 1994. Evaluation of prosodic transcription labeling reliability in the ToBI framework. ICSLP 1: 123-6.

Silverman, Κ., Μ.Ε. Beckman, J. Pitrelli, M. Ostendorf, C. Wightman, P. Price, J. Pierrehumbert & J. Hirschberg. 1992. ToBI: A standard for labeling English prosody. ICSLP 2: 867-70.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 Katerina Panussi

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, unless otherwise stated.