The paper deals with emphatic accentuation in spoken language. First, the term emphatic is discussed.
What are the functional and formal properties connected with emphasis or emphatic in linguistic
literature? With regard to German, three main functions are described (together with their
formal realizations): expressive emphasis, emphasis for contrast and emphasis for intensity. In the
second part, predictions are made regarding the acquisition of emphatic accentuation in a second
language (in this case Italian): communicative or paralinguistic uses of intonation and accentuation
are said to be similar across languages and thus easy to acquire. This is tested by investigating
a corpus with German L2 / Italian L1- speakers at B2 level. Although the corpus was not designed
in order to elicit emphatic speech, emphatic use of accentuation can be largely detected. This speaks
in favour of the hypothesis that emphatic use of accentuation is a similar cross-linguistic, paralinguistic
feature allowing for positive transfer.