Hostname: page-component-5db6c4db9b-bhjbq Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-25T17:45:45.829Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Prominence in Tamil

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 May 2006

Elinor Keane
Oxford University Phonetics


This paper investigates whether or not there are phonetic correlates of prominence at the word level in Tamil that can be associated with word-initial stress. There is no lexically distinctive stress but there are indications in previous work – based on impressionistic judgements and experimental evidence of vowel reduction patterns – that word-initial syllables may be prominent. Sets of words containing segmentally identical syllables in different positions within the word, e.g. [nariku], [kanavu] and [w o:dina] were recorded by five speakers in a carrier phrase. The prosodic properties of the test syllables were compared to establish whether syllable position had a significant effect. No consistent results were found for either duration or loudness: their role at the word level in Tamil seems to be confined to marking intrinsic segmental and quantitative distinctions. Significant differences in F0 related to syllable position would be consistent with initial syllables bearing abstract word-level prominence. This would be marked primarily through the association of phrasal pitch accents, unaccompanied by independent differences of loudness or robust durational effects.

Research Article
Journal of the International Phonetic Association 2006

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)