15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

A Phonetic Study of the Haka Performed by the All Blacks

Michel Chafcouloff

LPL-CNRS, France

Following a preliminary study in which it was demonstrated that there exists a strong relationship between voice and gestures in the performing of the Haka by the All Blacks, an acoustic analysis of the speech signal produced by a chorus of twenty-two male voices was undertaken with particular attention to its durational characteristics. From the measurements of speech spectrograms, it was found that each verse of the Ka mate may be divided into four (or five) rhythmic groups of approximate equal duration (750 ms). Likewise, stress intervals were found to be largely isochronous (about 750-800 ms), and most of the time three 'heavy' syllables were perceived as stressed in each verse. At the suprasegmental level, it may be said that the main prosodic feature of the Haka is a verbal rhythm (of a trochaic pattern) characterized by an alternate balance of long and short syllables with a left-headed metrical foot. At the segmental level, the production of the [a]-vowel associated with the voiceless stop consonants [p] and [k] is largely favoured in 'scanned' words uttered in a staccato mode.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Chafcouloff, Michel (2003): "A phonetic study of the Haka performed by the All Blacks", In ICPhS-15, 2103-2106.