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On the Offensive

By Karen Stollznow

On the Offensive " This book sheds light on the derogatory phrases, insults, slurs, stereotypes, tropes and more that make up linguistic discrimination. Each chapter addresses a different area of prejudice: race and ethnicity; gender identity; sexuality; religion; health and disability; physical appearance; and age."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Role of Perception in Defining Tonal Targets and Their Alignment Add Dissertation
Author: Mariapaola D'Imperio Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Ohio State University, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2000
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonetics;
Subject Language(s): Neapolitan
Director(s): Mary Beckman
Keith Johnson

Abstract: Tonal targets can be defined in terms of two-dimensions, i.e., 'alignment' and 'scaling', where alignment specifies the exact temporal implementation of tonal highs (H) and lows (L) relative to structural elements (such as syllables and morae) and their segments. Alignment patterns might be constrained by various linguistic factors, such as phonological as well as phonetic factors. Among the phonological factors, the grammar of stress-accent languages specifies that the tones of a pitch accent must be aligned with those syllables that are marked as stressed in the lexicon. Moreover, syllable structure can constrain tune-text alignment. For instance, in Neapolitan Italian, the peak of a LH rising accent occurs closer to the offset of the stressed vowel when the vowel is in a closed syllable, and therefore short. Among the phonetic constraints, one finds facts about the perception of pitch and time, both for speech and for non-speech stimuli.This thesis investigates the role of alignment in determining tonal target perception for yes/no question and (narrow focus) statement contours in Neapolitan Italian. These contours are characterized by a melodic rise-fall, analyzed here as a sequence of a LH pitch accent plus a HL phrase tone. The separation of the rise and the fall is clear in the case of long focus constituents containing at least two words with independently stressed syllables. In more typical cases, however, this configuration is acoustically realized as a sequence of three tonal targets, LHL, due to 'merging' of the H tone sequence in nuclear position. This thesis shows that the precise alignment of each of those tonal events influences the perception of the question/statement contrast.