Acoustic correlates of lexical stress in Uyghur

Yakup, M., & Sereno, J. A. (2016). Acoustic correlates of lexical stress in Uyghur. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 46(01), 61-77. [Link]

An interesting paper on the Uyghur language.


The present study examined lexical stress patterns in Uyghur, a Turkic language. The main goal of this research was to isolate and determine which acoustic parameters provide cues to stress in Uyghur. A number of studies have investigated the phonetic correlates of lexical stress across the world’s languages, with stressed syllables often longer in duration, higher in pitch, and greater in amplitude. The present study systematically investigated the acoustic cues to stress in Uyghur, examining duration, fundamental frequency, and amplitude. Three experiments were conducted: one utilizing minimal pairs in Uyghur, one examining disyllabic nouns in Uyghur that contrasted in the first syllable, and one investigating the interaction of lexical stress with Uyghur sentence intonation. The data consistently show that duration was a robust cue to stress in Uyghur, with less consistent effects for intensity. The data also clearly show that fundamental frequency was not a cue to lexical stress in Uyghur. Uyghur does not use the fundamental frequency to distinguish stressed from unstressed syllables. The results suggest that Uyghur does not pattern like a pitch-accent language (e.g. Turkish), but rather like a stress-accent language.


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