The phonetic realization of tonal contrast in Dränjongke

Seunghun Lee, Hyun Kyung Hwang, Tomoko Monou, Shigeto Kawahara

Dra¨njongke is a Tiberto-Burman language spoken in Sikkim, India. The language has been described as having a two-way tonal contrast [1], but how the tonal contrast is realized phonetically has not been explored in detail. To fill this gap, we report an acoustic analysis of Dra¨njongke based on the speech of 12 native speakers, focusing on how the tonal contrast in Dra¨njongke manifests itself in syllabary readings. The results suggest that (i) in syllables consisting of only vowels (e.g. [a]), the tonal differences manifest themselves at the left edge of syllables, and more surprisingly, (ii) in syllables with sonorant onsets (e.g. [na]), the tonal differences primarily appear during the sonorant intervals, and can be neutralized during the vocalic intervals. This paper discusses some theoretical implications of the observed patterns. First, we propose that phonologically, tones can be directly associated with consonants, a proposal independently motivated by an analysis of phonological consonant-tone interaction patterns in various languages [2]. Second, we address the general issue of how supralaryngeal gestures and laryngeal gestures are coordinated, the issue known under the rubric of “articulatory binding” [3]. We argue that articulatory binding—a principle that requires laryngeal gestures to be coordinated with supralaryngeal gestures to maximize their perceptual salience—is violable.

 DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2018-44

Cite as: Lee, S., Hwang, H.K., Monou, T., Kawahara, S. (2018) The phonetic realization of tonal contrast in Dränjongke. Proc. TAL2018, Sixth International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages, 217-221, DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2018-44.

  author={ Seunghun Lee and Hyun Kyung Hwang and Tomoko Monou and Shigeto Kawahara},
  title={ The phonetic realization of tonal contrast in Dränjongke},
  booktitle={Proc. TAL2018, Sixth International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages},