The prosody of enhanced bias in Mandarin and Japanese negative questions

Yurie Hara, Shigeto Kawahara, Yuli Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the semantics of prosodic cues that enhance the bias meaning of negative polar questions in Mandarin Chinese and Japanese. We propose a semantic denotation for each phonetic phenomenon: Mandarin sentence-final stress marks the salience of the proposition with the opposite polarity to that of the surface proposition, while Japanese deaccentuation marks the givenness of the positive answer. The proposed semantics compositionally derives the observed discourse effects. The second part of the paper reports two naturalness rating experiments, which further support the empirical bases of our semantic analyses. Taken together, our study demonstrates the significant interaction between prosodic cues and contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-116
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Oct


  • Alterative semantics
  • Bias
  • Deaccentuation
  • Focus
  • Givenness
  • Information structure
  • Naturalness rating experiment
  • Prosody
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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