LINGUIST List 13.2520

Thu Oct 3 2002

Diss: Phonology: Smilijanic "Lexical..."

Editor for this issue: Karolina Owczarzak <>


  1. rajka, Phonology: Smilijanic "Lexical, Pragmatic and Positional..."

Message 1: Phonology: Smilijanic "Lexical, Pragmatic and Positional..."

Date: Wed, 02 Oct 2002 15:37:16 +0000
From: rajka <>
Subject: Phonology: Smilijanic "Lexical, Pragmatic and Positional..."

New Dissertation Abstract

Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Rajka Smiljanic 

Dissertation Title: 
Lexical, Pragmatic and Positional Effects on Prosody in Two Dialects
of Croatian and Serbian: An Acoustic Study

Linguistic Field: 
Phonology, Phonetics 

Dissertation Director 1: Jennifer S. Cole 
Dissertation Director 2: Jose I. Hualde 
Dissertation Director 3: Zsuzsanna Fagyal 
Dissertation Director 4: Hans H. Hock

Dissertation Abstract: 

This thesis investigates the interplay of lexical, pragmatic and
prosodic factors in determining the pitch contours and durational
patterns in two dialects of Serbian and Croatian (S/C): the Belgrade
dialect with lexical duration and pitch contrasts and the Zagreb
dialect without such contrasts. More specifically, it examines the
effects of lexical pitch and vowel length contrasts, of pragmatic
narrow focus and of the position within a prosodic phrase on
durational patterns and on the alignment of tonal targets, such as F0
peaks and valleys, with the segmental string through a comparative
study of two dialects. Furthermore, this is an investigation of how
the presence or absence of phonological contrasts in pitch and
duration affects the expression of focus and how/if it constrains the
effects of tonal crowding/proximity to intonational boundaries in
these two dialects. The goal of this thesis is to answer the following
related questions: 1) What role do lexical, pragmatic and prosodic
factors play in shaping pitch contours and duration patterns in S/C?
2) How does the presence vs. absence of a lexical pitch and vowel
length contrast limit pragmatic and prosodic effects on the alignment
of pitch targets, on the pitch-range, and on duration? 3) Are there
differences between pragmatic and prosodic boundary effects on F0 peak
alignment? 4) How are distinct categories that are defined in the
phonology of a language implemented phonetically?

Briefly, the results of the acoustic studies conducted show that there
is a difference between the two dialects in their phonological
properties: as mentioned, the Belgrade dialect has a pitch-accent and
vowel length contrast while the Zagreb dialect does not. Lexical
pitch-accent and vowel length contrasts are found to influence the
expression of pragmatic focus: the phonemic contrasts are enlarged in
narrow focus. Tonal crowding in the phrase-final positions
additionally affects tonal alignment regardless of the presence or
absence of the lexical pitch-accent contrast. These results have
implications for the typology of the prosodic systems, for
Intonational Phonology, and for phonetic implementation of
phonological contrasts.
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