Prosodic Phonology


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In order to account for the distribution of the boundary tone, I must first provide an analysis of lexical tone in Cherokee. There have been previous comprehensive tone analyses Lindsey ; Wright ; Uchihara , which argue for a tonal inventory with two underlying tones high and lowfall , a superhigh accent, and a default low which does not interact with the tonal phonology. I summarize these previous analyses and discuss what generalizations they can and cannot account for. I also argue that some low pitches in Cherokee are the surface realization of an underlying low tone.

By including an underlying low tone in the tonal inventory of Cherokee, problematic surface pitch sequences from previous research can be explained. Before analyzing the boundary tone, I show all possible syllable shapes and discuss Word-Final Vowel Deletion, an optional fast speech process which often results in non-canonical word-final codas. I argue that there is a prosodic word which maps to a morphosyntactic word, as well as a larger prosodic word which includes enclitics.

I also describe clitic linearization and attachment, and discuss how Cherokee clitics show a number of typologically unusual properties. Finally, I describe all possible alignments of the boundary tone.


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While mentions of the boundary tone in previous literature claim that the boundary tone only appears on word- final vowels, I show a much wider range of possible surface positions for the boundary tone: 1 the boundary tone appears on word-final vowel, 2 the boundary tone appears on a non word-final vowel, and 3 the boundary tone does not appear at all.

Ladd traces the origins of the intonational phrase back over a half century, and he identifies three properties common to all of the various proposals: intonational phrases are the largest phonological entity with phonetically definable boundaries into which utterances can be divided, they have a particular intonational structure, and they are assumed to relate in some way to syntactic or discourse-level structure.

Although this broad definition is helpful in unifying the works of several researchers, we need a more specific definition for this study. Consequently, we will adopt the definition proposed by Pierrehumbert , which says that an intonational phrase is delimited by high or low boundary tones.

This definition as part of a much larger phonology of intonation proposed by Pierrehumbert , has been quite influential, and her definition of intonational phrase has been adopted by a number of other researchers e. Although most researchers agree on at least two levels of a prosodic hierarchy prosodic words and intonational phrases , other constituents have been proposed and are of interest in this study.

Consequently, we now consider proposed constituents both above and below the level of the intonational phrase. Beckman and Pierrehumbert argue that there is at least one, and possibly two, levels of phrasing between the prosodic word and the intonational phrase. Intonational phrases are made up by grouping together one or more intermediate phrases and marking the end of the final one with a boundary tone.

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This intermediate phrase is similar to the unit Nespor and Vogel refer to as a phonological phrase. As for levels of phrasing above the intonational phrase, Liberman and Pierrehumbert have identified phonetic effects that appear to have a domain larger than a single intonational phrase. Beckman and Pierrehumbert , however, argue that these effects are related to discourse structure and do not provide evidence of a higher-level phonological unit.

In contrast to the relatively sparse hierarchies advocated in the works discussed above, Ladd proposes allowing a recursive prosodic structure and sees no principled reason to restrict the number of levels in the hierarchy. Ladd argues that the single level of intonational phrasing is inadequate to capture both the boundary phenomena i.

Prosodic Phonology (Studies in Generative Grammar)

It should be clear from the preceding discussion that, while many phonologists are in substantial agreement on the need for some types of prosodic constituents, there are still substantial differences in how they choose to define those constituents. Moreover, there are several types of constituents that have been suggested by some, but not widely adopted. Nonetheless, if we consider the constituents that have been suggested, eliminating notational variants, we arrive at a superset a set union of all the theories of prosodic constituents.

In the next subsection, we examine the relationship between the levels in this superset and the perceptual labels used in this study. No language is produced in a smooth, unvarying stream. Rather, the speech has perceptible breaks and clumps. For example, we can perceive an utterance as composed of words, and these words can be perceived as composed of syllables, which are composed of individual sounds.

At a higher level, some words seem to be more closely grouped with adjacent words: we call these groups phrases. These phrases can be grouped together to form larger phrases, which may be grouped to form sentences, paragraphs, and complete discourses. These observations raise the questions of how many such constituents there are and how they are best defined.

Prosodic Phonology

The domain of linguistic theory most appropriate to address these questions is phonology, traditionally defined as the study of sound units and their structural inter-relationships in spoken language. Work in this field has been reported for seven centuries [c. Jones' History of English Phonology Jones, ].


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However, only in the last half century have researchers begun to substantially address the relationships between intonational, rhythmic, and pausing patterns. Pike described a hierarchy of rhythmic units, separate from syntactic structure, and examined their interaction with intonation and pausing.

With the development of syntactic surface structure trees, the phonological information was thought to be contained within, or derived from, the single structure Chomsky and Halle, More recently, phonologists have again begun to develop theoretical frameworks that include a separate hierarchy of prosodic constituents. The next subsection reviews several of the prosodic hierarchies that have been proposed.

Although the proposals differ in many respects, we try to illuminate the many areas in which they overlap. In particular, we note that one can extract a superset of constituent types, which takes account of almost all of the proposals. The relationship between this superset and the perceptual labeling used in this study is then explored in the following subsection.

Phonology: Minimal Pairs, Phonemes Phones Allophone, Prosody and Suprasegemental Phonology

A fundamental characteristic of spoken language is the relation between the continuous flow of sounds on the one hand, and the existence of structured patterns within this continuum on the other hand. In this respect, spoken language is related to many other natural and man-made phenomena, which are characterized not only by their typically flowing nature but also by the fact that they are structured into distinct units such as waves and measures.

Prosodic phonology is a theory of the way in which the flow of speech is organized into a finite set of phonological units. It is also, however, a theory of interactions between phonology and the components of the grammar. The interactions, in the form of mapping rules that build phonological structure on the basis of morphological, syntactic, and semantic notions, provide the set of phonological units necessary to characterize the domains of application of a large number of phonological rules.

While the division of the speech chain into various phonological makes reference to structures found in the other components of the grammar, a fundamental aspect of prosodic theory is that the phonological constituents themselves are not necessarily isomorphic to any constituents found elsewhere in the grammar. Although the specification of the domains which phonological rules are bound is the main goal of prosodic phonology, it turns out that the same units are relevant in other areas of the organization of language as well. For example, even in the absence of phonological rules, the prosodic units of grammar are relevant at the first level of speech processing in the disambiguation of ambiguous sentences.

In addition, the constituents provided by prosodic phonology account for a number of rhythmic patterns and metrical conventions observed in works of poetry.

Prosodic phonology ms ferrer

The organization of phonology into prosodic units encompasses seven hierarchically structured levels, going from the syllable to the phonological utterance. While the two smallest units, the syllable and the foot, are essentially constructed on the basis of phonological criteria, the remaining units represents each in its own way the interface between phonology and the other components of the grammar. The pattern that emerges from the various type of interaction is one in which the degree of abstractness and generality of the nonphonological information required correlates with the height of a prosodic constituent in the hierarchy.

In particular, the mapping rules that construct the phonological word and the clitic group must make reference to such general syntactic notions as the positions in which affixes and clitics are attached to their host. Phonological phrase construction makes reference to such general syntactic notions as the head of a phrase and the direction of embedding.

The two highest prosodic constituents, the intonational phrase and the phonological utterance, make use of even more general notions, such as the root sentence and the highest node in the syntactic tree, respectively. At the three uppermost levels of the prosodic hierarchy, restructuring rules are needed under certain circumstances to readjust the prosodic structures built by the mapping rules.

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Prosodic Phonology Prosodic Phonology
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