Metrical and Tonal Prominence in Swatou

Suki Yiu


This paper explores a metrical interpretation of prominence in Swatou (Teochew, Southern Min), a six-tone language with bi-directional sandhi spoken in the Chaoshan region of China, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia. It attempts to provide phonetic evidence in terms of duration and intensity to see whether systematic patterns can be observed based on predictions of the Iambic-Trochaic Law. Acoustic data elicited from two native speakers of Swatou was processed with Praat, then submitted to Linear Mixed Effect Regression Models with R to generate estimates for disyllabic units at both positions (i.e. the first and second syllables) of two sandhi types (i.e. anterior and posterior sandhi) for determining whether the durational and intensity contrasts of each estimate point are significantly different. Model comparison was also made to examine whether sandhi type predicts duration and intensity contrasts. Results showed significant duration and intensity contrasts for anterior and posterior sandhi respectively, despite a tendency for higher intensity on the first syllable for both sandhi types. The results largely support a metrical interpretation of prominence in complex tone languages, in addition to the pitch-related cue for tonal prominence in terms of tone sandhi. Index Terms: metrical prominence, tonal prominence, Iambic-Trochaic Law, tone and stress, Swatou, Teochew


 DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2018-32

Cite as: Yiu, S. (2018) Metrical and Tonal Prominence in Swatou. Proc. TAL2018, Sixth International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages, 159-163, DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2018-32.


@inproceedings{Yiu2018,
  author={ Suki Yiu},
  title={ Metrical and Tonal Prominence in Swatou},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. TAL2018, Sixth International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages},
  pages={159--163},
  doi={10.21437/TAL.2018-32},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/TAL.2018-32}
}