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LINGUIST List 24.3750

Tue Sep 24 2013

Diss: Modern Greek, Phonetics: Katsika: 'Coordination of Prosodic Gestures at Boundaries in Greek'

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <xiyanlinguistlist.org>

Date: 23-Sep-2013
From: Argyro Katsika <argyro.katsikauni-potsdam.de>
Subject: Coordination of Prosodic Gestures at Boundaries in Greek
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Institution: Yale University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Argyro Katsika

Dissertation Title: Coordination of Prosodic Gestures at Boundaries in Greek

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics

Subject Language(s): Greek, Modern (ell)

Dissertation Director:
Jelena Krivokapic
Darya Kavitskaya
Louis Goldstein

Dissertation Abstract:

The dissertation investigates how the temporal and tonal events
characterizing strong prosodic boundaries are coordinated to their
co-occurring oral constrictions in Greek. Previous studies have found that
boundary lengthening is larger the stronger the boundary and decreasing
with distance from it. However, the exact stretch of speech that undergoes
the effect and its interaction with prominence constitute open questions
for current research. Regarding tonal events, the coordination of boundary
tone has not been experimentally investigated. Aiming for a clearer
understanding of prosodic boundaries and prosody, we simultaneously explore
the scope of boundary lengthening and the coordination of boundary tones as
a function of lexical stress and pitch accent, adopting the framework of
Articulatory Phonology (Browman & Goldstein 1992). We assess these issues
via an articulatory magnetometer (EMA) study of Greek that uses a variety
of syntactic constructions eliciting different types of boundary tones.

The results show that pre-boundary lengthening affects the constrictions
that immediately precede the boundary when stress is final, but is
initiated further leftward from the boundary when stress is not final. As
for boundary tones, they are initiated during the articulatory target of
the final vowel, with their onset occurring earlier as the stress occurs
earlier within the phrase-final word. Hence, lexical stress exerts a
similar effect on the scope of boundary lengthening and the coordination of
boundary tones. These effects remain stable regardless of the accentual
status of the phrase-final word. Further analyses reveal that phrase-final
words are followed by pauses involving specific vocal tract configurations,
with their point of achievement being at a stable temporal distance from
the onset of boundary tones regardless of the position of lexical stress.

Based on these results, a theoretical account of boundaries within the
framework of Articulatory Phonology and the π-gesture model (Byrd &
Saltzman 2003) is proposed. Rather than seeing prosodic events as
independent entities, the following set of coordinations between them is
suggested: In Greek, the π-gesture initiating prosodic boundaries is
coordinated both with the phrase-final vowel gesture and the μ-gesture
(Saltzman, Nam, Krivokapic and Goldstein 2008) that instantiates the
lexical stress of the phrase-final word, with the latter coordination being
weaker than the former. As a result of the different coordination
strengths, the π-gesture is slightly shifted towards the μ-gesture in words
with non-final stress. Boundary tones, in turn, are activated by π-gestures
that reach a certain level of activation. In words with non-final stress,
in which π-gestures are shifted towards the stressed syllable, this level
is reached earlier with respect to the boundary as opposed to words with
final stress. Consequently, boundary tones are initiated further away from
the boundary as lexical stress occurs earlier in the word. The existing
evidence is not sufficient to clarify whether these tones are also
coordinated to oral constrictions. The current results indicate that, if
such coordination is to be assumed, boundary tones are anti-phase
coordinated to phrase-final vowel gestures. Finally, pauses are activated
when π-gestures reach an even higher level of activation than that one
activating boundary tones. The implications of this account for a model of
prosody that cross-linguistically captures lexical and phrasal events
related to both boundaries and prominence are discussed.

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