DOI: 10.1121/10.0022727 ISSN: 0001-4966

An investigation of ongoing tonal changes in Punjabi

Kiranpreet Nara
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Punjabi developed the falling and the rising tones due to the loss of the voiced aspirated consonants and the word-final glottal fricative /ɦ/ and the default tone appeared elsewhere. A falling pitch has recently been observed to develop in words with an initial glottal fricative and both falling and rising pitch patterns have been observed in words without any apparent conditioning factor (‘novel’ words). These developments within some traditionally default tone words have been only briefly mentioned in the literature (Shackle, 2003; Schniske, 2015; and Bhardwaj, 2016) and have not been investigated experimentally. The aim of this study was to document the f0 patterns observed in the glottal-initial and novel words and determine how they compare to the f0 of the traditionally default tone words. 24 native speakers of Indian Punjabi (9F, 15M) were recorded online. The stimuli contained 35 monosyllabic words (glottal-initial = 7, novel falling = 4, novel rising = 6, default = 18) with either /a/ or /ə/. The acoustic analysis showed falling f0 for the glottal-initial and novel falling words and a rising f0 for the novel rising words. Welch’s t-tests were conducted to compare the default tone to each of the three newer pitch patterns. The results showed that nearly half of the speakers produced a non-default pitch on the glottal-initial and novel words. Considerable within- and between-speaker variation was observed.

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