The Phonology of Contrastive Focus in Standard Colloquial Assamese

Asim I. Twaha, Shakuntala Mahanta


The present study investigates how Standard Colloquial Assamese (henceforth SCA) underlines contrastive focus (henceforth CF) phonologically, and what are the phonetic cues it employs in doing so. Assamese belongs to the Eastern Indo-Aryan language area of the Indo European language family (Goswami, 1982; Goswami & Tamuli, 2003) with SOV as the canonical word order. SCA variety is mostly spoken in the eastern districts of Assam: Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Sibsagar, Jorhat, Golaghat and Sonitpur (Moral, 1992).
The present paper has been arranged into five sections: first section (§2) elaborates CF and the perspective in which the concept has been used in this paper, the second section (§3) deals with the post-lexical prosody of SCA. Subsequently in the next section (§4) phonological manifestation of CF in SCA has been explained. The following section (§5) concentrates on how cross-linguistically attested phonetic correlates of CF such as pitch and duration values interact with CF in SCA. Finally the conclusion (§6) consolidates the entire discussion with respect to the findings of the present study.


Intonation, Contrastive Focus; Assamese

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