Speech Prosody 2004

Nara, Japan
March 23-26, 2004

Asymmetric Distribution of Accents and the Related Issue of Vowel Duration

Yuko Z. Yoshida

Institute for Language and Culture, Doshisha University, Japan

This paper offers a phonological analysis of the compatibility between vowel quality and lexical accent in Standard Japanese (SJ). This work benefits not only from phonological considerations but also from phonetic analysis. Analyses from these two perspectives converge on the claim that the vowel /a/ attracts lexical accents, while on the other hand /u/ repels lexical accents. Acoustic measurements of vowel duration suggest that the longest vowel attracts lexical accents most, and the shortest vowel, the least. However, we encounter a difficulty in establishing the pecking order of the other 3 vowels in SJ. A phonological analysis couched in the theory of Phonological Government provides an account of which vowel tends to attract or repel accents, calling upon the notion of licensing relations holding between Phonological Elements.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Yoshida, Yuko Z. (2004): "Asymmetric distribution of accents and the related issue of vowel duration", In SP-2004, 45-48.