labeling system

The uses of Cat_ToBI

of the system

Prosodic phrasing


Prosodic phrasing

Level 0

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

How to discriminate between levels 0 and 1

How to discriminate between levels 3 and 4

Level 2

Break indices of level 2 (BI 2) mark two different types of breaks:

  • a perceived disjuncture with no intonation effect
  • an apparent intonational boundary but with no slowing or other break cues

A break indice of level 2 is supposed to mark the edge of a phonological phrase, a level of phrasing below the intermediate phrase. As for the existence of the phonological phrase in Catalan, this is an unresolved issue.

This domain generally includes the lexical head, the elements on the head’s nonrecursive side, and a following nonbranching phrase within its maximal projection (see Oliva 1992).

In other Romance languages the phonological phrase is the domain of application for several phonological processes.
For example, in Florence Italian, Radoppiamento Sintattico (or Syntactic Redoubling), Final Lengthening and Stress Retraction are phenomena that apply at the phonological phrase level (Nespor & Vogel 1986, 1989).
And in French and in Brazilian Portuguese, Stress Retraction also applies within the phonological phrase domain (see Post 1999, and Sandalo & Truckenbrodt 2002, respectively).

In Catalan, no conclusive evidence has been found thus far.
Unlike other Romance languages, the phonological phrase is not the domain of sandhi processes in Catalan: for example, vowel deletion and vowel merging processes can even apply across two intermediate phrases (e.g., (La nena de la Marina) (arribarà demà) ‘Marina’s daughter will arrive tomorrow’, pronounced with just one schwa across the two domains).

Similarly, the edges of phonological phrases do not need to be tonally marked and need not be signaled by edge-tones. Though Nespor & Vogel (1989) argue that Catalan exhibits Stress Retraction in this domain, this is not the usual way to avoid stress clash in this language. The default way to avoid stress clash in Catalan is the deletion or weakening of the first stress involved in the clash (Oliva 1992, Prieto et al. 2001).

On the other hand, from a perceptual point of view, oftentimes transcribers perceive a clear phrasing break at the end of a domain which does not have a tonal marking.

Thus, the phonological phrase level might have subtle manifestations in the prosody of Catalan, and we thus leave open the possibility of its existence.

There is also the possibility to use this level to mark non phonological prosodic disjunctures, such as hesitations, etc.


Voleu una llimonada?
[Do you want some lemonade?]

click to enlarge

In this example, the speaker hesitates and lengthens the end of the PrWord una, but there is no boundary tone. The right edge of this word may be labeled with a BI 2.