Acoustic cues signaling prosodic units in Moore: A comparison of journalist and non-journalist realizations

Author(s): Laetitia Compaoré


This study describes how prosody is used to organize oral speech in Moore (a tone language spoken in Burkina Faso). The analysis pertains to the phonetic realization of intonation in Moore spontaneous speech of two social groups: journalist and non-journalist native speaker of Moore. The main issues are: to identify the acoustic cues which permit speech division into chunks, and to find out if these acoustic indices are the same for the two social groups. Following the approach of Martin [1]. I also consider that prosodic structure relies on the existence of prosodic events instantiated by prosodic contours. Therefore, the prosodic description will determine the acoustic indices which signal prosodic events, often located at units’ boundaries. The study focuses on two prosodic units, finite and non-finite utterance. The corpus of the study is made up of recordings of three journalists and three native’s speakers of Moore. Results of the analysis suggest that prosodic boundaries in Moore are determined by the combination of three acoustic parameters: final syllable lengthening, F0 contour, and the duration of pause following the boundary. Depending on the communication style, one of the parameters is highlighted.