5aSC8. Pitch accent, phrase tones, and vowel devoicing in Tokyo Japanese.

Session: Friday Morning, June 20

Author: Mafuyu Kitahara
Location: Dept. of Linguist., Indiana Univ., Bloomington, IN 47405


In Tokyo Japanese, short high vowels devoice between voiceless consonants, which conflicts with the realization of pitch accent. The fundamental frequency around the devoiced region in a corpus of 12 speakers was measured to investigate if and how speakers compensate for the loss of information normally conveyed by the pitch accent. Previous studies revealed that elevation and abrupt pitch fall immediately after the devoiced region is characteristic of utterances containing a devoiced accented syllable. However, preliminary analyses of these data show the occurrence of the characteristic pitch pattern after a devoiced region is dependent on the pitch height before the devoiced region. If two syllables are consecutively devoiced and the first one bears an accent, the pitch elevation only occurs when the antepenultimate syllable has a low phrase tone. This suggests a nonlocal pitch adjustment exists dependent on the occurrence of devoicing and the location of phrase tones. This also implies that vowel devoicing is not just a low-level consonantal effect, but has a long distance impact on the execution of phrasal pitch contours. XXSU SC

ASA 133rd meeting - Penn State, June 1997