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Preliminaries of Xhosa intonation - pitch, vowel length and devoicing

Seminarium, Föreläsning

Gemensamt seminarium inom forskningsområdet Språkliga strukturer vid institutionen för språk och litteraturer och Grammatikseminariet vid institutionen för svenska språket. Alla intresserade är välkomna!

A raised pitch in questions or on words that are in focus has been considered a near universal until studies of African languages started to change this picture (Rialland 2007). A recent increase in intonation research of African languages including Bantu has shown that intonation involves the manipulation of several distinct prosodic features such as vowel length and voice next to pitch (Downing and Rialland 2017). Xhosa is a tonal language as many other African languages, meaning that the use of pitch for intonational purposes interacts with the use of lexical and grammatical tone. Maybe for this reason, other means are employed than pitch rise to distinguish different intonational phrases. For example, previous research shows that polar questions in Xhosa are indicated by reducing the lengthening of the penultimate vowel of a phrase, which is long in declaratives (Jones 2001). This paper expands on such previous studies and includes the intonation of different kinds of questions and focus constructions in order to sketch a more complete picture of Xhosa intonation. It shows that the manipulation of penultimate lengthening plays an important role in distinguishing different phrases, in combination with final lowering of pitch. Also, devoicing the last vowel to a whisper indicates end of phrase. Understanding of the interaction of tone, intonation and phonological phrasing is important for understanding the grammatical structure and discourse pragmatics of Bantu languages.

DOWNING, Laura J. and Annie RIALLAND. 2017. Intonation in African Tone Languages. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

JONES, J. 2001. Queclaratives in Xhosa: An acoustic and perceptual analysis Doctoral dissertation. Stellenbosch: University of Stellenbosch.

RIALLAND, Annie. 2007. Question prosody: an African perspective. In C. Gussenhoven and T. Riad (eds): Tones and Tunes: Studies in Word and Sentence Prosody, 35-62. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Föreläsare: Eva-Marie Blom Ström

Datum: 2018-11-15

Tid: 13:15 - 14:45

Kategorier: Forskning, Lingvistik, Humaniora, Språk

Arrangör: institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Plats: Humanisten, Lundgrensgatan 7, H818

Kontaktperson: Laura Downing

Sidansvarig: |Sidan uppdaterades: 2013-02-06
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