On the Phonetics and Phonology of Focus marking in Boro

Shakuntala Mahanta, Kalyan Das, Amalesh Gope


It is discussed widely in the literature on tone and intonation that both these phenomenon make use of changes in the f0. It is often assumed that intonation in tone languages is only slightly more limited than it is in non-tonal ones (Yip 2002). This paper addresses the question of tone assignment in Boro and investigates how it operates as a function of focus. This paper studies both the phonetics and phonology of intonation in Boro and delineates the way in-situ and morphological focus markers influence sentence prosody. The results show that in-situ focus does not result in any change of the f0 value of the target word. The only consistent acoustic correlate for focus marking is found to be post focus compression. The morphological focus marker leads to discrete downstepping of the following High tone and also emerges with an H* by deleting the neighboring H tones. One of the significant results of this experiment is that while H tones were realized at a higher f0 while co-occurring with the H* of the MF marker, L tones did not lead to any changes unless the stem were disyllabic, showing that there are phonological factors constraining sentential prosody.


Tone; Intonation; Focus

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/amp.v3i0.3668

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