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Title:The Interaction of *Focus and Lexical Pitch Accent in Speech Production and Dialogue Comprehension: Evidence From Japanese and Basque
Author(s):Ito, Kiwako
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Jennifer Cole
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Linguistics
Abstract:This thesis investigates how the informational status of words is expressed by means of intonation in two pitch accent languages, Tokyo Japanese and Bermeo Basuque, in which the tonal shape of words is lexically determined. Two production experiments were conducted to examine how speakers of these two languages manipulate pitch to express various types of focal status of words in pre-determined experimental dialogues. In the first experiment, both Tokyo Japanese and Bermeo Basque speakers showed a reliably higher pitch level for narrow contrastively focused words than for words that were broadly focused or unfocused. In Bermeo Basque, phonetic segments of focused words were consistently lengthened, whereas such a focus-related segmental lengthening was restricted for Tokyo Japanese, presumably in order to maintain the phonological contrast between long and short vowels. The focal status of a word did not affect the alignment of the pitch peak of a lexical accent in a consistent manner in either Tokyo Japanese or Bermeo Basque. In the second production experiment, the focus effect on the pitch height was compared between accented words and unaccented words in Tokyo Japanese. The pitch height of a phrasal high tone in unaccented words was not affected by the words' focal status as much as an accentual high tone in accented words. When an unaccented word was under narrow focus, the following accented word, rather than the unaccented word itself, had a high pitch level. Thus intonational focus expression in Tokyo Japanese seems to be constrained by the phonological specification of tonal properties for its lexical items. The third experiment showed that Japanese listeners make use of intonational cues to comprehend dialogues in a similar manner as English speakers do, although the interpretation of a pre-focal word seems to be different between Japanese and English, due to the retained lexical tonal prominence of the pre-focal word in Japanese. These findings suggest that speakers and listeners of pitch-accent languages use intonation to express and comprehend the focal status of words, but the effects are constrained so that lexical tonal specifications are not obscured.
Issue Date:2002
Description:250 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3070335
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2002

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