Between Stress and Tone: Acoustic Evidence of Word Prominence in Kurtöp

Hyslop, Gwendolyn
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Hawaii Press
Classic typologies within prosody tend to treat ‘tone’ languages as being diametrically opposed to ‘stress’ languages. However, Hyman (2006) highlights several languages that can have both, including Seneca, Fasu, and Copala Trique. As language documentation advances and our acoustic methodologies in the field are further refined, we have seen this list continue to expand. The aim in this article is to further this research trajectory by presenting the correlates of stress in Kurtöp, a tonal Tibeto-Burman language. Kurtöp has a word-level tone system, in which high versus low tone is required on the first syllable of every word. Stress, or prosodic word-level prominence, is realised on the first syllable of a root. Thus, stress and tone usually occur on the same syllable; they are only separated from each other when the negative prefix triggers movement of the tone to the initial syllable, leaving a stressed but toneless second syllable. Based on data collected in the field from three speakers, this article shows that the primary correlate of stress is duration, not pitch, intensity, or expansion of vowel space.
Kurtokha language, Tone (Phonetics), Tibeto-Burman languages, Accents and accentuation
Hyslop, Gwendolyn. 2021. Between Stress and Tone: Acoustic Evidence of Word Prominence in Kurtöp. Language Documentation & Conservation 15: 551-575.
Access Rights
Email if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.