Scaling Processes of Clause Chains in Pitjantjatjara

Rebecca Defina, Catalina Torres, Hywel Stoakes


Clause chains are a syntactic strategy for combining multiple clauses into a single unit. They are reported in many languages, including Korean and Turkish. However, they have seen relatively little focused research. In particular, prosodic features are often mentioned in descriptions of clause chaining, however there have been vanishingly few investigations. Corpus-based studies of the prosody of clause chains in two unrelated languages of Papua New Guinea report that they are typically produced as a sequence of Intonation phrases united by pitch-scaling of the L% boundary tones in each clause with only the final, finite, clause descending to a full L%. The present study is the first experimental investigation of the prosody of clause chains in Pitjantjatjara.

This paper focuses on one type of clause chain found in the Australian Indigenous language Pitjantjatjara. We examine a set of 120 clause chains read out by three native Pitjantjatjara speakers. Prosodic analysis reveals that these Pitjantjatjara clause chains are produced within a single Intonational Phrase. Speakers do not pause between the clauses in the chain, there is consistent linear downstep throughout the phrase and additionally phrase final lowering occurs at the end of the utterance. This differs from previous impressionistic studies of the prosody of clause chains.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2101

Cite as: Defina, R., Torres, C., Stoakes, H. (2020) Scaling Processes of Clause Chains in Pitjantjatjara. Proc. Interspeech 2020, 1868-1872, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2101.


@inproceedings{Defina2020,
  author={Rebecca Defina and Catalina Torres and Hywel Stoakes},
  title={{Scaling Processes of Clause Chains in Pitjantjatjara}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2020},
  pages={1868--1872},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2101},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2101}
}