Stress, tonal alignment, and phrasal position in Singapore English

James S. German, Adam J. Chong


Within a language, the way that f0 marks stressed syllables can depend on phrasal position. In this study, we examine how the relationship between tonal alignment and stress in Singapore English differs as a function of position within an Intonation Phrase (IP). Singapore English speakers produced sentences containing trisyllabic words with either initial or medial stress. These occurred in Accentual Phrases (APs) that were either medial or final in the IP. For both positions, two broad patterns emerged. In one pattern, a low trough early in the AP was followed by a rise. In the other, there was a fall from the previous AP to a low elbow followed by a plateau. For both positions and patterns, the early L aligned to either the beginning of the AP or the stressed syllable. The alignment of the peaks (rises) and fall onsets (plateaux) differed by position. For medial targets, this aligned to the end of the AP, whereas for final targets, it aligned to the end of the stressed syllable. These findings contrast sharply with earlier findings that tonal alignment is not sensitive to stress for IP-initial words, suggesting that cues to phrasal and word-level prominence involve a complex trading relation.


 DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2018-30

Cite as: German, J.S., Chong, A.J. (2018) Stress, tonal alignment, and phrasal position in Singapore English. Proc. TAL2018, Sixth International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages, 150-154, DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2018-30.


@inproceedings{German2018,
  author={ James S. German and Adam J. Chong},
  title={ Stress, tonal alignment, and phrasal position in Singapore English},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. TAL2018, Sixth International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages},
  pages={150--154},
  doi={10.21437/TAL.2018-30},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/TAL.2018-30}
}