14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

The Effect of Intonation on Pitch Cues to the Estonian Quantity Contrast

Eva Liina Asu (1), Francis Nolan (2)

(1) Department of Estonian, University of Tartu, Estonia
(2) Department of Linguistics, University of Cambridge, UK

Estonian has a three-way quantity contrast operating at the level of the foot, e.g. [sada] ‘hundred’, [saada] ‘send (2 sg. imperative)’, and [saa:da] ‘get (infinitive)’. It has been known for some time that, in citation forms at least, pitch as well as duration is correlated with the contrast. In particular the ‘overlong’ third quantity is associated with an early pitch peak, and a concomitant fall in pitch on the first syllable. This finding, however, has apparently been made on the basis of prepausal tokens spoken with falling intonation. The experiment reported here investigates whether there is a parallel pitch cue when the intonation is rising. This turns out not to be the case, and the paper discusses the reasons why this might be, and what the theoretical implications are.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Asu, Eva Liina / Nolan, Francis (1999): "The effect of intonation on pitch cues to the Estonian quantity contrast", In ICPhS-14, 1873-1876.