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Greek wh-questions and the phonology of intonation*

  • Amalia Arvaniti (a1) and D. Robert Ladd (a2)

Abstract

The intonation of Greek wh-questions consists of a rise-fall followed by a low plateau and a final rise. Using acoustic data, we show (i) that the exact contour shape depends on the length of the question, and (ii) that the position of the first peak and the low plateau depends on the position of the stressed syllables, and shows predictable adjustments in alignment, depending on the proximity of adjacent tonal targets. Models that specify the F0 of all syllables, or models that specify F0 by superposing contour shapes for shorter and longer domains, cannot account for such fine-grained lawful variation except by using ad hoc tonal specifications, which, in turn, do not allow for phonological generalisations about contours applying to utterances of greatly different lengths. In contrast, our findings follow easily from an autosegmental-metrical approach to intonational phonology, according to which melodies may contain long F0 stretches derived by interpolation between specified targets associated with metrically strong syllables and prosodic boundaries.

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Greek wh-questions and the phonology of intonation*

  • Amalia Arvaniti (a1) and D. Robert Ladd (a2)

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