Focus prosody in Brahvi and Balochi

Nasir A. Syed, Abdul Waheed Shah, Yi Xu

Previous research has shown that post-focus compression (PFC) - the reduction of F0 and intensity after a focused word, is present in some languages but absent in many others. It has been hypothesized that the cross-linguistic distribution of PFC parallels that of the Nostratic macro-family. The present study is a test of this Nostratic-origin hypothesis through a comparison of focus prosody in Brahvi, a Dravidian language, and Balochi, an Indo-Iranian language, both alleged members of the Nostratic macro-family. Twenty native speakers from each language produced declarative sentences with different focus conditions. Acoustic analysis showed that, in both languages, post-focus F0 peaks are significantly lower than those in baseline neutral-focus sentences. But post-focus lowering of F0 and intensity is greater in Balochi than in Brahvi. These results offer evidence that at least one of the Dravidian languages has PFC, which is consistent with the Nostratic-origin hypothesis. The weaker form of PFC in Brahvi, however, suggests that factors that may weaken PFC in a language need to be investigated, and other Dravidian languages also need to be studied for the presence of PFC.

 DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2018-3

Cite as: Syed, N.A., Shah, A.W., Xu, Y. (2018) Focus prosody in Brahvi and Balochi. Proc. TAL2018, Sixth International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages, 12-16, DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2018-3.

  author={ Nasir A. Syed and Abdul Waheed Shah and Yi Xu},
  title={ Focus prosody in Brahvi and Balochi},
  booktitle={Proc. TAL2018, Sixth International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages},