Donegal Irish rises: Similarities and differences to rises in English varieties

Author(s): Amelie Dorn and Ailbhe Ní Chasaide

Abstract

Ulster (Donegal) Irish is strikingly different from southern varieties of Irish in having a dominance of rising tunes. In this paper, we look at the prosodic characteristics (tunes and phonetic interrogativity markers) of utterance-final rising tunes in statements (ST) and questions (WHQ, YNQ) in four local varieties (RF, BF, GCC and RG) of Donegal Irish (DI), in order to shed light on possible differences and similarities to previous accounts of typically rising English varieties (Urban Northern British: Glasgow, Belfast, Liverpool). The rising tunes occurring frequently in certain UNB English varieties in the British Isles have been attributed in the literature to a possible Irish influence. In DI and UNB English, rises constitute a standard declarative pattern unlike high-rising terminals (HRT) in a number of English varieties. Results for DI show, that declarative nuclear rises are much like DI question tunes. Prosodic sentence mode differentiation is achieved by fine-detailed phonetic features. In terms of these finer-grained phonetic measures, DI rises in statement and question tunes emerge as being more similar to those reported for Belfast than Glasgow English. Finally, DI rises are different in form and function to HRT rises described for Australian, New Zealand or some North American English varieties.

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