Phonetic variation in tone and intonation systems

Jonathan Barnes, Hansjörg Mixdorff, Oliver Niebuhr*

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Publikation: Kapitel i bog/rapport/konference-proceedingKapitel i bogForskningpeer review


In both tonal and segmental phonology, patterned variability in the realization of abstract sound categories is a classic object of empirical description as well as a long-standing target of theoretical inquiry. Among prosody researchers in particular, focus on this critical aspect of the phonetics–phonology interface has been constant and intensive, even during periods when intellectual contact between segmental phonologists and their phonetician counterparts notably ebbed. In this chapter, we review the most commonly cited phenomena affecting the phonetic realization of both lexical and intonational tone patterns. The chapter’s title purposefully invokes a broad range of interpretations, and we aim, if not for exhaustivity, then at least for inclusivity of coverage within that range. Many of the phenomena we investigate here are examples of non distinctive, within-category variability—realizational elasticity, in other words, within some phonetic dimension, in spite of or unrelated to the phonological contrasts being expressed. At the same time, however, we mean equally to review the ways in which particular phonetic dimensions of the signal may be modulated in support of the expression of contrasts (in the manner of Kingston and Diehl 1994). The thread that unifies it all is a broad concern with how tone and intonation patterns are implemented phonetically. Throughout what follows, we return repeatedly to several issues we view as central to the development of the field. One such focus is on phonetic motivation for phonological patterns, with emphasis on both perception and production evidence. We also touch on the cross-language variation in the distribution and implementation of the phenomena reviewed. Do they appear in both tone and intonation systems? Do they have both gradient and categorical manifestations, and, if so, how are these connected? Lastly, we urge researchers to consider the potential interaction of all the phenomena under discussion. The emergence of higher-level regularities, such as those involving enhancement relations or perceptual cue integration, is only now being explored by prosody researchers in the way that it has been for decades in the study of segmental contrasts such as voicing or consonant place. This bears great promise for the future of the field.
TitelThe Oxford Handbook of Language Prosody
RedaktørerCarlos Gussenhoven, Aoju Chen
ForlagOxford University Press
Publikationsdato31. dec. 2020
ISBN (Trykt)9780198832232
StatusUdgivet - 31. dec. 2020

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