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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Academic Paper

Title: The role of pitch range in establishing intonational contrasts
Author: Joan Borràs-Comes
Institution: Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Author: Maria del Mar Vanrell
Institution: Freie Universität Berlin
Author: Pilar Prieto
Institution: Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Linguistic Field: Phonology; Pragmatics
Subject Language: Catalan-Valencian-Balear
Subject LANGUAGE Family: Romance
Abstract: One of the unresolved issues in the field of intonational phonology is whether pitch accent range differences are used by languages to express discrete linguistic distinctions. In Catalan, as in some other Romance languages, a rising-falling nuclear pitch contour – i.e. a rising pitch accent associated with the utterance-final stressed syllable followed by a Low boundary tone – can be used to convey three different pragmatic meanings depending on its pitch range properties: information focus statements (IFSs), corrective focus statements (CFSs), and counter-expectational questions (CEQs). In order to investigate how these pragmatic meanings are distributed across the pitch range continuum and whether Catalan listeners use these tonal scaling distinctions to identify such meanings, we performed an identification task and a congruity test. The results show that CEQs differ from both IFSs and CFSs in a discrete way, yet the perceived difference between IFSs and CFSs cannot be exclusively explained by scaling differences. These findings provide further evidence that pitch range differences can be used to make intonational distinctions in some languages, and strengthen the argument that pitch range features need to be represented descriptively at the phonological level.


This article appears IN Journal of the International Phonetic Association Vol. 44, Issue 1.

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