phonology>>Intonation>>Assertive contour

The assertive contour is characterized by a fall from H to a low tone target. The exact position of H needs more research, but appears to be towards the beginning of the last lexical word of the assertion.

AttachedImages/kithamperuuma.png

.

.

H....L

ini

kitham-pe

ruuma

prox

1pl=poss

house

'This is our house.'

} In (ex), there is no presupposition, only a deictic reference (whose contour we will ignore for now) and an assertion kithampe ruuma 'our house'. The assertion receives the HL contour, where H is linked to the beginning of the last lexical word ruuma 'house'1 and the L is linked to the end of the utterance. In (ex), we have a verbal predicate kitham=pe nigiri su-jaadi 'became our country'. The assertive contour is applied to the predicate with the high tone on the prefix of the last lexical word, the verb. Then follows a drop to the end of the utterance. The constituents kaarang 'now' and ini 'prox' receive a presuppositive contour, discussed further below.

AttachedImages/newkithampenigiri.png

.L

H

.L

H

.

.

H

L

kaarang

|

inni

|

kitham=pe

nigiri

su-jaadi

|

now

.

prox

.

1pl=poss

country

past-become

'Now this has become our country.'

} Above we have seen that the last lexical word (noun, verb) receives the high tone of the assertive contour. In the event that the assertion only contains functional elements, the description formulated above cannot apply. In this case, the high tone is linked to the last word nevertheless, even if it is not lexical. An example is kitham '1pl' in (ex).

AttachedImages/oorampadajo.png

.

.

.

H

H

L

an-tiinggal

ooram

pada=jo

$.|.$

kitham

$.|

past-settle

man

pl=foc

.

1pl

.

'The people who settled down here are we.'

} In narrow focus, the high tone is linked to the element in focus even if this is not the last lexical element in the assertion. In (ex), the speaker emphasizes the fact that the Malays are no longer East Asians, but Ceylonese. The two presuppositions kaarang 'now' and kithang 'we' are followed by the assertion SEELON ooram pada 'Ceylon people'. The presuppositions conform to the presuppositive contour, which will be discussed in more detail below. The assertion SEELON ooram pada receives the assertive HL contour, but H is linked to the emphasized element SEELON instead of the last lexical element ooram. This is marked in the graphic by a crossed out H where the normal tone would be expected.

AttachedImages/seelongoorangpada.png

...L

H

..L

H

H

.

.

L

kaarang

$.|.$

kithang

$.|.$

Seelong

ooram

pada

$.|

now

{}

1pl

{}

Ceylon

man

pl

{}

'Now we are Ceylonese.'

} Imperatives also take the assertive contour, as the following example, taken from cooking instructions, shows. Note that the rice is presupposed and has been talked about earlier, which can be seen from the accusative marker =yang, which normally only attaches to inanimate referents when they are topical (see Section =yang).

AttachedImages/birrasyangitthukathaaronew.png

.L

H

.L

H

.H

L

bìrras=yang

$.|

itthu=ka

$.|

thaaro

$.|

raw.rice=acc

{}

dem.dist=loc

{}

put

{}

'Add the rice to it!'

}


previous: Intonation, this: Assertive contour, next: Progredient contour



LDStags: LDS0.0

  1. The pitch peaks after the k and the th are caused by aspiration and thus artefacts and not part of the intonation proper. (1)