Prosody of Intonation and Focus in Malayalam English with Acoustic Experimental Evidences

Mahesh
unpublished
This paper concerns itself with focus and giveness in the verities of English namely Malayalam English (Dravidian). Here the study mainly presents analysis on prosody of narrow focus and giveness in declarative sentences through a production experiment in the form of an anima test (this experimental task compares the expression of different focus types induced by different questions (following Dik 1981, 1997). In narrow focus, the study mainly focuses on informational, confirmation, selection
more » ... d correction aspects of focus. All intended answers were in canonical SVO word order. Wh-questions have been used for information, yes or no questions for confirmation and selection focus in the following way. The answers are spontaneous. For example: In front of the garden, is a girl hitting a tree? In front of the garden, yes a girl is hitting a tree. Some questions are framed for subject focus and some are for the object focus. Here the study is analyzing acoustic correlates such as pitch (minimum, maximum and mean), amplitude (min, max and mean) and duration of Focused and Given information. Preliminary findings show focused nominal (when subject is focused) is getting more pitch than the Given. But in the case of object focus higher pitch is not playing a significant role. In most of the utterances irrespective of focus on subject/object initial constituent is getting more pitch. There is a final slight pitch-rise at the end of object when it is focused (need an elaborate study here). Amplitude is slightly more in subject position irrespective of the focus in subject or object. Loudness is more in subject in all the utterances (Perception). Focused part is getting more duration than the Given. The result is same in both varieties of English. There is falling intonational pattern in declarative sentences of both the varieties, irrespective of the focus on subject or the object (figure 1). The data for narrow focused utterances and broad focus utterances are yet to be analyzed in detail.
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