Pitch reset in Asante Twi, a dialect of Akan

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Title: Pitch reset in Asante Twi, a dialect of Akan
Alternative title: Pitch reset in Asante Twi, a dialect of Akan
Author: Oppong, Olivia Serwaa
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Humanistinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts
Helsingfors universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2021
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202106152743
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Kielellisen diversiteetin ja digitaalisten menetelmien maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme Linguistic Diversity in the Digital Age
Magisterprogrammet i språklig diversitet och digitala metoder
Specialisation: Fonetiikka
Abstract: This thesis investigates the interaction between lexical tones and pitch reset in Akan, a Kwa language with about 8.1 million native speakers in Ghana (Eberhard et al., 2020). Experimental studies on Akan prosody are limited, although the language has a large first and second language speakers. This study seeks to increase our knowledge of the tone-intonation structure of the Akan language. In an earlier study on Akan complex declarative sentences, pitch reset occurred at the beginning of the content word that followed the clausal marker of an embedded clause (Kügler, 2016). Following a pilot study, a hypothesis was formed for the present study that pitch reset in complex declarative utterances in Akan also occurs within the clausal marker of the dependent clause and not only in the following content word. Focusing on the Asante Twi dialect, a controlled material consisting of 64 complex sentences were created. Five native speakers of Asante Twi were recorded as they produced the 64 sentences and additional 32 complex sentences used as fillers. The Mean f_0 values of the syllables of the subordinate conjunction and the syllables of the word before and after the conjunction were extracted and analysed in R; the statistical analysis was based on a linear mixed model. As expected, a reset in the pitch contour consistently occurred within the subordinate conjunction, contrasting the earlier study. The conjunction was phrased prosodically with the dependent clause to signal the syntactic relationship between the two. The degree of pitch register reset was also dependent on the tonal structure; reset was more significant when the initial tone of the conjunction was High but lesser when the conjunction began with a Low tone. Thus, the results show that lexical tones interact to determine the f_0 contour of Akan utterances and that the intonational contour of utterances is complex in the Akan language.
Subject: Akan
pitch reset
fundamental frequency (f_0)

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