5aSC18. An analysis of the high and low plateau of Japanese English.

Session: Friday Morning, December 6


Author: Motoku Ueyama
Location: Phonet. Lab., Dept. of Linguist. and Dept. of Appl. Linguist., UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1543


The tonal contour of focus in English intonation is H*L-L% in declaratives and L*H-H% in interrogatives, within the framework developed by Pierrehumbert (1980). Consequently, L- or H- show low- or high-plateau patterns, respectively. Japanese intonation does not permit such total deaccentuation after focus because of the need of preserving lexical pitch accents characterized by a sharp rise and fall. In earlier work on intonation, not much attention was paid to the interaction of the intonation of a first and second language. This study will analyze high- and low-plateau patterns of Japanese English. The speech of beginning and advanced Japanese learners of English was compared to the speech of native speakers of American English. The production data show the following patterns. The high plateau was often produced as a low plateau by both levels of Japanese learners due to the sharp pitch fall after the high peak. In contrast, the low plateau was produced as a sequence of downstepped H*. These patterns can be attributed to either the effect of Japanese intonation or possible universal constraints on intonation. These hypotheses will be further evaluated using additional data on Italian learners of English.

ASA 132nd meeting - Hawaii, December 1996