----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, May 24, 2002 11:24 PM
Subject: [phoNet] Pitch Accent
> I have three questions:
> May stressed syllables be
indicated by low tune instead of high, with unstressed syllables having high
tune and low tune respectively?
Stress is not necessarily correlated with tone, especially in languages
that employ fundamental frequency (F0) to mark lexical tone (in such cases the
location of stress is marked by duration an intensity). _If_ there is a
correlation, however, raised F0 is virtually always a cue for prosodic
strength, since it reflects increased vocal effort, other things being
equal. Conversely, lower F0 (or even a super-low tone resulting from
creaky-voiced phonation) marks lower prominence and is a common boundary signal
(a kind of phonetic full stop).
Note, however, that "other things" are not always equal. In particular,
_primary_ stress is typically marked with a "nuclear" intonation realised as a
_contour_ tone rather than merely a high tone. The beginning ("head") of the
contour is linked to the stressed syllable, but its "tail" is aligned
with the rest of the intonational phrase. If the contour is [LH] (as in yes/no
questions in English) the stressed syllable carries a low (or low rising) tone
and F0 rises over the following syllable(s). Compare "Seven." [H.L] with
"Seven?" [L.H] ([.] marks syllable division).
What is a special-purpose "general question" intonation in most accents
of English (and often elsewhere) may be the default intonation of plain
declarative sentences in some languages: familiar examples that spring to mind
include the Scouse-type accents of northern British English, and Swiss German.
Welsh accents of English (as well as the Welsh language) realise primary stress
as a complex rising-falling intonation [LHL]. In words with penultimate
stress this becomes [L.HL], where [HL] is aligned with the unstressed final
syllable, which may therefore sound more prominent than the stressed penult
to a non-Welsh ear!
I suspect that similar phenomena (the association of
primary stress with tonal movement rather than height) account for the
occasionally reported implemantion of stress as low rather than high
> Does contrast in pitch in pitch accent languages necessarily be of
the type HL vs LH? Or may H vs LH/HL be an equally possible contrast opposition?
I'd say that both types are perfectly possible. For
example, the contrast between "acute" and "circumflex" in Ancient Greek
seems to have been realised as [H] versus [HL], the latter being the "marked"
term of the opposition, restricted to long (bimoraic) nuclei.
Are there any known instances of qualitative changes in vowel inventory, in
which pitch accent is a decisive factor?
> Such as
> [á] >
[ó] but [â] > [â]
As far as I know, pitch-accent contrasts are accompanied
by clear qualitative differences in Modern Lithuanian (if Sergei Tarasovas is
listening to us, he can give you some first-hand information about that).
Divergent historical development is sometimes visible in Slavic. For example,
Proto-Slavic "acuted" *óRC- (where R = *r or *l) > Polish RaC- in
word-initial position, while "circumflexed" *ôRC- > RoC-.