Stress, tone and discourse prominence in the Curaçao dialect of Papiamentu

Bert Remijsen, Vincent J. van Heuven
2005 Phonology  
This paper investigates the word-prosodic system of the Curaçao dialect of Papiamentu. Curaçao Papiamentu has both lexically distinctive stress and, independently, a word-level tone contrast. On the basis of a detailed acoustic investigation of this tonal contrast, we propose a privative phonological interpretation of the tone contrast, similar to proposals for the Scandinavian word-accent systems (Riad 1998, to appear). As compared to previous treatments of Curaçao Papiamentu word prosody, our
more » ... u word prosody, our hypothesis makes crucial reference to intonation and to tonal underspecification. We also investigate the realisation of primary and secondary stress in Curaçao Papiamentu. * The recordings were made in Willemstad, Curaçao, in the offices of the Fundashon pa Planifikashon di Idioma (FPI), an institute whose functions include the production of language-learning resources for Papiamentu and the translation of books for all ages. Farienne Martis of the FPI supervised the recording sessions. We are very grateful to her. The first author also gratefully acknowledges the hospitality of the FPI, and of its director, Ronnie Severing, which he and his wife enjoyed for three months. 205 is mostly restricted to one syllable per word (Rivera-Castillo 1998 , Kouwenberg 2004 ). It appears worthwhile, therefore, to consider alternative accounts involving underspecification of tone at the word level. In addition, little is known about the realisation of the hypothesised stress and tone contrasts, and about how they interact with phrase-level (intonational) features in Papiamentu prosody -none of the hypotheses formulated in previous studies has been quantitatively tested. As demonstrated by studies such as Bruce (1977) and Pierrehumbert & Beckman (1988) , both consideration of the interaction with phrase-level prosody and quantitative analysis are important components of a comprehensive analysis of word-level prosodic contrasts. This paper presents a new phonological analysis of the word-level prosodic system of the Curaçao dialect of Papiamentu. We carried out an acoustic investigation of the word-prosodic patterns of Curaçao Papiamentu in a number of utterance contexts. Our study confirms that Papiamentu has both lexically contrastive stress and a lexical tone contrast. With respect to the nature of the tone contrast, we found that it can be analysed best in terms of a privative word-level tone contrast. That is, our phonetic investigation supports a phonological analysis in which one member of the tone contrast involves a lexical tone, irrespective of the intonational context. The other member is characterised by the absence of this tone. In this respect, our analysis is similar to accounts of 'word accent ' in e.g. Stockholm Swedish (Riad 1998) and Venlo Dutch (Gussenhoven & van der Vliet 1999). The structure of the paper is as follows. §1 introduces the word-level prosodic phonology of Papiamentu. This section includes a description of the facts, a brief overview of previous work, and our own alternative analysis of the tone contrast. §2 reports on an acoustic investigation of the word-prosodic contrasts in the Curaçao dialect of Papiamentu. The results corroborate our alternative analysis of the tone system. §3 presents the main conclusions and future directions. In addition, we compare the Curaçao Papiamentu tone contrast with that of Stockholm Swedish, and consider some similar prosodic systems. The phonology of Curaç ao Papiamentu word prosody Papiamentu has both distinctive stress and lexically contrastive tone. In §2.2, we consider each of these phenomena in turn, before focusing on minimal contrasts. We then briefly summarise previous work on Papiamentu prosody ( §2.3). Our own proposals for the phonological representation of tone in the Curaçao dialect of Papiamentu are outlined in §2.4.
doi:10.1017/s0952675705000540 fatcat:kxwfntttkbbi7o7a6rofxs7rpe