So I know that there are on the one hand pitch-accent languages (like South-Slavic languages, Greek, Norwegian, etc.) where the accentuated syllable is indicated by a particular pitch contour/tone rather than by stress, and on the other hand languages with dynamic accent produced by an increased intensity in articulation of the stressed syllable (such as in German or Czech).

Now, am I right in thinking that French has a dynamic accent? I didn't see this stated explicitly anywhere where I looked so I just want to check. I did however find that French lacks lexical stress entirely which I suppose means that you can't distinguish two identical words just by using a different accent on them?

I'm sorry for my English, I hope everything is clear.

1 Answer 1


The distinction between dynamic stress and pitch accent describes types of word-level "stress" distinctions. So French has neither (and it also is not a tone language). In addition to word stress, tone or simply nothing, a language can (observationally, always does) have a system of intonation superimposed. There is an article which proposes a ToBI-paradigmatic account of French intonation.

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