Are tones aligned with articulatory events? Evidence from Italian and French
Mariapaola D'Imperio, Université de Provence
Alignment of tonal targets relative to segmental “anchors” might be governed by principles of synchrony and stability (Arvaniti et al 1998, Ladd et al. 1999, inter alia). However, a number of discrepancies have emerged in the cross-linguistic study of alignment. Also, most of the alignment proposals so far inherently assume that anchors for tonal alignment must be acoustic in nature. In this study we test the plausibility that these anchors are articulatory, and regularities in synchrony and stability will be seen in the articulatory domain.
Comparitive study of French and Neapolitan Italian were conducted by means of the EMA system. Our results suggest that H targets of LH nuclear rises in Neapolitan statements might be synchronous with peak velocity of the primary consonantal trajectory, while in questions, the H peaks appear to be timed to occur at the zero velocity of the same articulatory trajectories. For French the acoustic alignment of the L tone of the early rise appears synchronous with the word onset showing smaller latency values, however we also notice a trend for the close alignment of L tones to peak velocity of the primary constrictor.