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A phonological model for intonation without low tone

Cabrera-Abreu, Mercedes; (1996) A phonological model for intonation without low tone. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Using the evidence of intonational phenomena drawn mainly from English, I propose a phonological model for intonation characterised by a single tone (T), and boundaries of domains as Tone Bearing Units (TBUs). Such domains reflect the organisation of information in terms of intonation, that is, they constitute the manifestation of intonational focus. In addition, their existence is formalised in terms of some licensing principles. In the framework of a restrictive theory of phonological representation, I argue that intonational pitch patterns can be accounted for with just T, and that L can be discarded. I defend this claim against evidence from earlier models which have recourse to L in the account of an extensive range of intonation contours, and of tonal phenomena such as contour-tones, tone-spreading, and downstep. Contour-tones are defined by assigning different pitch specifications (presence/absence of T) to TBUs. Tone-spreading is treated as a matter of interpolation between boundaries with equal tonal association. Downstep is accounted for by the presence of toneless boundaries which correspond to empty nuclei. The phonetic interpretation of such nuclei (and toneless boundaries in general) is controlled by Gravitation Effect, a pulling down force which has a similar effect on domains to its right. I support this view by subjecting earlier analyses to an examination based on maximally constrained principles in phonology. Under this approach, such analyses to some extent lose their validity, and no longer constitute a challenge for my model. The extensive revision of previous models results in a parsimonious and homogeneous model, and at the same time, permits the formulation of phonological generalisations.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A phonological model for intonation without low tone
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics; Low tone; Phonology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10104931
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