5. Prosody of Contrastive Focus in Two Varieties of Assamese

Prosodic Variation (with)in Languages - Intonation, Phrasing and Segments - Marisa Cruz

Asim I. Twaha
Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati
Shakuntala Mahanta
Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati

Description

In this paper we have studied the prosodic aspect of how Contrastive focus (henceforth CF) is marked in SCA (Standard Colloquial Assamese) and NVA (Nalbariya Variety of Assamese), two varieties of Assamese, a head-final eastern Indo-Aryan language (Goswami, 1982) with SOV as canonical word order. In our study we have found that these two varieties employ the same pitch accent (L*+H) and boundary tone (HP) to demarcate both focused and non-focused phrases; the final phrase (verb) cannot be focused. When the phrase length is limited to two to three syllables, the trailing tone of the pitch accent is left unrealized, and pitch pattern becomes L*HP. A focused phonological phrase differs from a non-focused one in terms of increased pitch range [(F0max at the right boundary – F0min at the first syllable)]. Following Ladd’s Free Gradient Hypothesis (Ladd, 1994; Gussenhoven, 1999), we propose here that in SCA and NVA pitch range is used in a categorically distinct way rather than in a gradient way. Similar to the phonological implementation of pitch range in the languages like Catalan (Borras-Comes, Vanrell, & Prieto, 2014), English (Ladd D. R., 1994; 1996), Spanish (Prieto, 2004) among others, pitch range may potentially be represented phonologically in the Assamese varieties.

Notify A Colleague

Citation

Twaha, Asim; Mahanta, Shakuntala. 5. Prosody of Contrastive Focus in Two Varieties of Assamese. Prosodic Variation (with)in Languages - Intonation, Phrasing and Segments. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Feb 2021. ISBN 9781781794685. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=30068. Date accessed: 12 Nov 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30068. Feb 2021

Dublin Core Metadata