The 4th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages

Nijmegen, The Netherlands
May 13-16, 2014

Variation in Prosodic Phonology: Individual Differences in Production of the Pitch-Accent Contrast

Irina Shport

Department of English, Louisiana State University, USA

Instead of the robust three-way contrast in the productions of two-syllable words varied in their accentual type, two types of neutralization were observed in native speakers of Tokyo Japanese. Two speakers produced some unaccented words with the accent on the final syllable; the other two speakers always produced words with the accent on the final syllable as unaccented. The accentual patterns of words with the accent on the initial syllable were always distinct. The results suggest a two-way contrast in productions of the speakers, possibly, due to reanalysis. The individual variation observed in this small-scale study raises a question about the place of variation in the description of phonological tone contrasts.

Index Terms: pitch-accent contrast, Tokyo Japanese, final-accented and unaccented, neutralization, production, reanalysis.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Shport, Irina (2014): "Variation in prosodic phonology: individual differences in production of the pitch-accent contrast", In TAL-2014, 104-107.