Prosodic focus in Bangla: A psycholinguistic investigation of production and perception


  • Arunima Choudhury University of Southern California
  • Elsi Kaiser University of Southern California



The paper investigates the prosodic distinctions available in Bangla/Bengali to differentiate focus-types. Bangla has canonical SOV order. The immediate preverbal position is the default focus position. We conducted an elicitation study followed by a perception study to investigate whether Bangla speakers distinguish new-information vs. contrastive focus prosodically and whether the syntactic position of the focused constituent matters. We found reliable effects between focus-types only when the focused constituent is an object, in the default focus position. Therefore, Bangla uses prosodic cues to mark focus, but the perceptibility interacts with syntactic position: Differences between focus-types are amplified in default focus position.