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

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

Downdrift and Pitch Range in Chichewa Intonation

Scott Myers

University of Texas at Austin, USA

In many languages, questions have a higher pitch range and less steep downdrift than in statements. It is also known that the pitch range is higher in louder speech. In this study, the effects of these two factors on F0 were studied in Chichewa, a Bantu tone language of Malawi. Three speakers produced three sentences both as statements and as questions, at three levels of loudness. F0 peaks corresponding to four high tones per sentence were measured. The general trends above for questions vs. statements and louder vs. softer speech were replicated in these data. There was also a significant interaction between the two factors. Multiple regression models were used to predict the values of later F0 peaks on the basis of the first F0 peak, position, and sentence type. Notably, the best models were based on a linear decline in F0, augmented by a boost for the phrase-initial peak.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Myers, Scott (1999): "Downdrift and pitch range in Chichewa intonation", In ICPhS-14, 1981-1984.