Galiwinku, Stoakes (2019)

Prosodically conditioned consonant duration in Djambarrpuyŋu


Cross-linguistically, segments typically lengthen because of proximity to prosodic events such as intonational phrase or phonological phrase boundaries, a phrasal accent, or due to lexical stress. Australian Indigenous languages have been claimed to operate somewhat differently in terms of prosodically conditioned consonant lengthening and strengthening. Consonants have been found to lengthen after a vowel bearing a phrasal pitch accent. It is further claimed that this post-tonic position is a position of prosodic strength in Australian languages. In this study, we investigate the effects of proximity to a phrasal pitch accent and prosodic constituent boundaries on the duration of stop and nasal consonants in words of varying lengths in Djambarrpuyŋu, an Australian Indigenous language spoken in northeast Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia. Our results suggest that the post-tonic consonant position does not condition longer consonant duration compared with other word-medial consonants, with one exception: Intervocalic post-tonic consonants in disyllabic words are significantly longer than word-medial consonants elsewhere. Therefore, it appears that polysyllabic shortening has a strong effect on segment duration in these data. Word-initial position did not condition longer consonant duration than word-medial position. Further, initial consonants in higher-level prosodic domains had shorter consonant duration compared with domain-medial word-initial consonants. By contrast, domain- final lengthening was observed in our data, with word-final nasals preceding a pause found to be significantly longer than all other consonants. Taken together, these findings for Djambarrpuyŋu suggest that, unlike other Australian languages, post-tonic lengthening is not a cue to prosodic prominence, whereas prosodic domain-initial and -final duration patterns of consonants are like those that have been observed in other languages of the world.

In Language and Speech