Automatic intonational contour clustering in Patwin


  • Anna Björklund University of California, Berkeley



prosody, intonation, Californian languages , Wintuan languages, automatic clustering


This study uses automated methods from Contour Clustering (Kaland 2021) to identify seven common intonational patterns in Patwin, an understudied Wintuan language of Northern California that survives via archival recordings. Only two phonetic or phonological analyses currently exist for Patwin (Lawyer 2015, 2021). This study finds that all seven contours suggested by Contour Clustering are attested in word-list elicitation, demonstrating a remarkable diversity of intonational types. In so doing, this study challenges claims made in Shafer (1961) that Patwin has lexical tone. Though the results are generally successful, Contour Clustering is not robust to the effects of poor recording quality on pitch tracking and subsequent cluster assignment. In general, this study indicates that using automated methods in tandem with a more phonologically grounded method of analysis such as PaToBI (Silverman et al. 1992; Björklund 2024) is fruitful for facilitating working with large amounts of archival data. This study adds to our limited understanding of Wintuan intonation, suggesting new intonation types for future investigation.




How to Cite

Anna Björklund. 2024. “Automatic Intonational Contour Clustering in Patwin”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 9 (1): 5713.