Pitch accent and phrase boundaries: Kinematic evidence from Japanese

Karen Tsai, Argyro Katsika


Constriction gestures at phrase boundaries are longer, larger and slower. However, the scope of these effects, i.e., the stretch of speech affected, is still unclear. Previous work has mainly focused on stress languages and suggests that lexical prominence plays a key role in determining the scope of phrase-final lengthening. Less is understood about other kinematic dimensions and the interaction between lexical prominence and boundary-related effects in languages without stress, although some research on Japanese suggests that lexical pitch accent affects the amount of phrase-final lengthening. The current Electromagnetic Articulography study examines the amount and scope of phrase-final effects in two kinematic dimensions, duration and velocity, as a function of pitch accent position in Japanese. Results show that phrase-final lengthening affects the formation gesture of the final syllable’s onset consonant, regardless of pitch accent position. Words with accent on the first or second syllable show greater amount of lengthening on that gesture and lengthening of the following consonant gesture as well. This is consistent with research detecting phrase-final lengthening solely on boundary-adjacent syllables. Analysis of normalized peak velocity revealed effects of accent, but no boundary-related slowing. The implications of these findings for prosodic structure are discussed, and typological distinctions are highlighted.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-44

Cite as: Tsai, K., Katsika, A. (2020) Pitch accent and phrase boundaries: Kinematic evidence from Japanese. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 215-219, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-44.


@inproceedings{Tsai2020,
  author={Karen Tsai and Argyro Katsika},
  title={{Pitch accent and phrase boundaries: Kinematic evidence from Japanese}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={215--219},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-44},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-44}
}