Intonational correlates of subject and object realisation in Mawng (Australian)

Author(s): Janet Fletcher, Hywel Stoakes, Ruth Singer and Deborah Loakes

Abstract

A range of intonational devices can be used in the grammar of information and corrective focus marking in languages with relatively free word order. In this paper we explore whether nouns in the Australian Indigenous language Mawng are realised differently depending on syntactic function and focus. Results show that the pitch level associated with Subjects is higher in conditions of corrective focus compared to other utterance contexts and there is a strong correlation between focus and utterance position. Placing a word in a corrective focus context does not appear to have an effect on word duration in this corpus confirming that pitch register variation and intonational phrasing are the major prosodic cues associated with corrective focus in Mawng.

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