Phonetic cues to contrastive focus in Standard Colloquial Assamese

Asim Twaha, Shakuntala Mahanta

In this paper our goal is to investigate the phonetic cues of duration and pitch (F0) for contrastive focus (henceforth CF) in Standard Colloquial Assamese (henceforth SCA), spoken in the eastern part of Assam. SCA declarative utterances in non-final Phonological phrases (henceforth P-phrase) display rising pitch contours (L*HP) and the final constituent undergoes a smooth fall [1]. When a constituent is contrastively focused it forms a P-phrase with a low pitch accent (L*) and high focus boundary tone annotated with an ‘f’ immediately preceding it (fHP). It was also observed that phonetic cues such as increased pitch range and final syllable lengthening of focused sequence characterise CF [1]. In the experiment reported in this paper, longer string of sentences are considered with focus on three different constituents in order to observe the pre- and post-focus constituents along with the focused constituent. The results show that a constituent with CF has higher pitch and duration value compared to wide focus baseline; the pre-focus constituents though undergo pitch and duration reduction, the compression level is not statistically significant, and finally the post-focus constituents display a flattened pitch contour.

DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2016-33

Cite as

Twaha, A., Mahanta, S. (2016) Phonetic cues to contrastive focus in Standard Colloquial Assamese. Proc. Tonal Aspects of Languages 2016, 152-156.

author={Asim Twaha and Shakuntala Mahanta},
title={Phonetic cues to contrastive focus in Standard Colloquial Assamese},
booktitle={Tonal Aspects of Languages 2016},