Lionnet (2018) – The colon as a separate prosodic category: Tonal evidence from Paicî (Oceanic, New Caledonia)

The colon as a separate prosodic category: Tonal evidence from Paicî (Oceanic, New Caledonia)
Florian Lionnet
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004265
October 2018
Most recent work in metrical theory rejects the colon (κ) —a constituent intermediate between the foot and the prosodic word and made of two feet: σσσσ→(σσ)Ft(σσ)Ft →{(σσ)Ft(σσ)Ft}κ— as a separate category in the Prosodic Hierarchy (PH: μ→σ→Ft→κ→PrWd), arguing that it is unnecessary and too costly (e.g. Ellenbaas and Kager 1999; Hyde 2002; Martínez-Paricio and Kager 2015, 2016, a.o.). I analyze an unusual downstep pattern in Paicî (Oceanic) and show that the most satisfying account of this pattern involves reference to the colon. Paicî is a two-tone language (H vs. L), where L-toned words of 4+ morae undergo register lowering after the second mora (/μ̀μ̀μ̀μ̀/ → [μ̀μ̀!μ̀μ̀]). This downstep does not occur with shorter words. I show that the two initial morae of 4μ+ words are parsed into a bimoraic foot. Crucially, no foot is parsed in 2μ or 3μ words. I argue that foot-parsing can only occur if it creates feet that are licensed by a colon (hence the need for at least 4μ), making the Paicî downstep pattern the first piece of tonal evidence in favor of the colon.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004265
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in WCCFL 36 Proceedings
keywords: metrical phonology, prosodic hierarchy, foot, colon, downstep, tone, phonology
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Posted in Research (e.g. papers, books)