Event Title

Prosody of Tokyo Japanese Revisited: "Boundary Fall" in the Sentence-Level Pitch Contour

Mentor 1

Yuko Kojima-Wert

Start Date

16-4-2021 12:00 AM

Description

As opposed to the traditional level-tone analysis of the prosody of Tokyo Japanese, where each mora is marked as "high" or "low," the contour-tone analysis proposed by Kodama (Kodama, Nozomi 2008 "Tone Contours in Japanese Prosodic Structures") assumes "falling" and "non-falling" contour tones, in addition to an "accent nucleus" lexically given to each prosodic word. With accent nuclei and contour tones assumed simultaneously, implicit in his model is that consecutive syllables can have a phonologically significant pitch drop in a sequence of non-falling moras. The present study calls the hypothetical pitch drop between consecutive non-falling syllables "boundary fall." While previous studies, including Kori 2017 (Kori, Shiro 2017 "Accent Reduction and Restrictive Modification in Tokyo Japanese"), have shown that contour tones are phonologically significant, phonetic realizations of boundary falls have been little studied. The present study elicited multiple spoken phrases, with and without a boundary tone, from Japanese speakers raised in the Greater Tokyo Area, and their pitch contours were extracted and analyzed. Out of 21 speakers who participated, 15 speakers who replicated specific characteristics of Tokyo Japanese known in the previous studies, namely, Kori 2017 and Kuno 2019 (Kuno, Mariko 2019 "New Linguistic Atlas of Tokyo —Study of Accent—"), were preselected for analysis. The preselection was done to control for regional and sociolinguistic factors as we aimed to study Tokyo Japanese as known in said studies as opposed to other variants that may be spoken around the region. The results show that when a heavy syllable follows an accent nucleus, the syllable being in the non-falling tone (that is, with a boundary fall), versus the falling tone (without a boundary fall), leads to a relatively smaller pitch drop within itself. It is also suggested that the boundary fall may be characterized by a relatively convex pitch contour.

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Apr 16th, 12:00 AM

Prosody of Tokyo Japanese Revisited: "Boundary Fall" in the Sentence-Level Pitch Contour

As opposed to the traditional level-tone analysis of the prosody of Tokyo Japanese, where each mora is marked as "high" or "low," the contour-tone analysis proposed by Kodama (Kodama, Nozomi 2008 "Tone Contours in Japanese Prosodic Structures") assumes "falling" and "non-falling" contour tones, in addition to an "accent nucleus" lexically given to each prosodic word. With accent nuclei and contour tones assumed simultaneously, implicit in his model is that consecutive syllables can have a phonologically significant pitch drop in a sequence of non-falling moras. The present study calls the hypothetical pitch drop between consecutive non-falling syllables "boundary fall." While previous studies, including Kori 2017 (Kori, Shiro 2017 "Accent Reduction and Restrictive Modification in Tokyo Japanese"), have shown that contour tones are phonologically significant, phonetic realizations of boundary falls have been little studied. The present study elicited multiple spoken phrases, with and without a boundary tone, from Japanese speakers raised in the Greater Tokyo Area, and their pitch contours were extracted and analyzed. Out of 21 speakers who participated, 15 speakers who replicated specific characteristics of Tokyo Japanese known in the previous studies, namely, Kori 2017 and Kuno 2019 (Kuno, Mariko 2019 "New Linguistic Atlas of Tokyo —Study of Accent—"), were preselected for analysis. The preselection was done to control for regional and sociolinguistic factors as we aimed to study Tokyo Japanese as known in said studies as opposed to other variants that may be spoken around the region. The results show that when a heavy syllable follows an accent nucleus, the syllable being in the non-falling tone (that is, with a boundary fall), versus the falling tone (without a boundary fall), leads to a relatively smaller pitch drop within itself. It is also suggested that the boundary fall may be characterized by a relatively convex pitch contour.