Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

The phonetics and phonology of lexical prosody in San Jerónimo Acazulco Otomi

  • Rory Turnbull (a1)

San Jerónimo Acazulco Otomi (SJAO) is an underdescribed and endangered Oto-Manguean language spoken in central Mexico. This paper provides an analysis of the phonology of tonal contrasts in SJAO and the phonetics of their realization based on pitch pattern data derived from audio recordings of citation forms of SJAO words. Each SJAO lexical word has one and only one tonal sequence – either /H/ or /HL/. This sequence is underlyingly associated with one syllable in the word. Other syllables are not specified for tone, and their phonetic realization is predictable depending on their position relative to the tonal syllable. A phonetic analysis revealed that underlyingly-tonal syllables are phonetically distinct from non-tonal syllables: those with /H/ are produced with greater vocal effort (measured by spectral tilt), and those with /HL/ are longer, louder, and bear a higher f0 (fundamental frequency), compared with non-tonal syllables. This analysis differs from previous accounts of lexical prosody in other Otomi varieties, which have either described a three-way system of high, low, and rising tones contrasting on every stem syllable, or a system where one syllable per word is assigned a stress-like ‘accent’. This difference from previous analyses suggests that there is a third possible characterization of lexical prosody for Otomi, which is appropriate for SJAO and potentially other understudied varieties.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Henrietta Andrews . 1949. Phonemes and morphophonemes of Temoayan Otomi. International Journal of American Linguistics 15 (4), 213222.

Doris Bartholomew . 1979. Review of Otomi parables, folktales, and jokes, edited by H. Russell Bernard & Jesús Salinas Pedraza. The International Journal of American Linguistics 45 (1), 9497.

Mary E. Beckman 1986. Stress and non-stress accent. Dordrecht: Foris.

Tessa Bent . 2004. Mandarin and English listeners’ perception of Mandarin tones in isolation and in context. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 116 (4), 2573.

H. Russell Bernard . 1973. Otomí phonology and orthography. International Journal of American Linguistics 39 (3), 180184.

H. Russell Bernard . 1974. Otomi tones in discourse. International Journal of American Linguistics 40 (2), 141150.

H Russell Bernard . 1980. Orthography for whom? International Journal of American Linguistics 46 (2), 133136.

H. Russell Bernard & Jesús Salinas Pedraza 1976. Otomi parables, folktales, and jokes (IJAL Native American Texts Series 2). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Richard C. Blight & Eunice V. Pike . 1976. The phonology of Tenango Otomi. International Journal of American Linguistics 42 (1), 5157.

Kenneth J. de Jong 1995. The supraglottal articulation of prominence in English: Linguistic stress as localized hyperarticulation. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 97 (1), 491504.

Pierre Delattre . 1966. A comparison of syllable length conditioning among languages. IRAL – International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching 4 (1–4), 183198.

Nancy C. Dorian 1994. Varieties of variation in a very small place: Social homogeneity, prestige norms, and linguistic variation. Language 70 (4), 631696.

Olle Engstrand . 1988. Articulatory correlates of stress and speaking rate in Swedish VCV utterances. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 83 (5), 18631875.

Dennis B. Fry 1955. Duration and intensity as physical correlates of linguistic stress. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 27, 765768.

Jackson T. Gandour 1978. The perception of tone. In Victoria A. Fromkin (ed.), Tone: A linguistic survey, 4172. New York: Academic Press.

Matthew Gordon & Peter Ladefoged . 2001. Phonation types: A cross-linguistic overview. Journal of Phonetics 29, 383406.

Helen M. Hanson 1997. Glottal characteristics of female speakers: Acoustic correlates. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 101 (1), 466481.

John W. Hawks & James D. Miller . 1995. A formant bandwidth estimation procedure for vowel synthesis. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 97 (2), 13431345.

Mattias Heldner . 2003. On the reliability of overall intensity and spectral emphasis as acoustic correlates of focal accents in Swedish. Journal of Phonetics 31, 3962.

Néstor Hernández-Green , Enrique L. Palancar & Selene Hernández-Gómez . 2011. The Spanish loanword lado in Otomi spatial descriptions. Language Sciences 33 (6), 961980.

Arthur S House & Kenneth N Stevens . 1958. Estimation of formant band widths from measurements of transient response of the vocal tract. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research 1 (4), 309315.

José Ignacio Hualde . 2006. Remarks on word-prosodic typology. Proceedings of the Berkeley Linguistics Society 32 (BLS 32), 157174.

Marie K. Huffman 1987. Measures of phonation type in Hmong. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 81 (2), 495504.

Larry M. Hyman 2006. Word-prosodic typology. Phonology 23, 225257.

Larry M. Hyman 2009. How (not) to do phonological typology: The case of pitch-accent. Language Sciences 31, 213238.

Markus Iseli , Yen-Liang Shue & Abeer Alwan . 2007. Age, sex, and vowel dependencies of acoustic measures related to the voice source. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 121 (4), 22832295.

René Kager . 1993. Alternatives to the iambic-trochaic law. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 11, 381432.

Dennis H. Klatt & Laura C. Klatt . 1990. Analysis, synthesis, and perception of voice quality variations among female and male talkers. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 87 (2), 820857.

Jody Kreiman , Bruce R Gerratt & Norma Antoñanzas-Barroso . 2007. Measures of the glottal source spectrum. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 50, 595610.

Jody Kreiman , Yen-Liang Shue , Gang Chen , Markus Iseli , Bruce R. Gerratt , Juergen Neubauer & Abeer Alwan . 2012. Variability in the relationships among voice quality, harmonic amplitudes, open quotient, and glottal area waveform shape in sustained phonation. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 132 (4), 26252632.

D. Robert Ladd . 2014. Simultaneous structure in phonology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Frances Leon & Morris Swadesh . 1949. Two views of Otomi prosody. International Journal of American Linguistics 15 (2), 100105.

Satsuki Nakai , Sari Kunnari , Alice Turk , Kari Suomi & Riika Ylitalo . 2009. Utterance-final lengthening and quantity in northern Finnish. Journal of Phonetics 37, 2945.

Enrique L. Palancar 2004b. Verbal morphology and prosody in Otomi. International Journal of American Linguistics 70 (3), 251278.

Enrique L. Palancar 2006. Property concepts in Otomí: A language with no adjectives. International Journal of American Linguistics 72 (3), 325366.

Enrique L. Palancar 2011. The conjugations of colonial Otomi. Transactions of the Philological Society 109 (3), 246264.

Enrique L. Palancar 2012. The conjugation classes of Tilapa Otomi: An approach from canonical typology. Linguistics 50 (4), 783832.

Enrique L. Palancar 2013a. The evolution of number in Otomi: The many faces of the dual. Studies in Language 37 (1), 94143.

Ingo Plag , Gero Kunter & Mareile Schramm . 2011. Acoustic correlates of primary and secondary stress in north American English. Journal of Phonetics 39, 362374.

Doug Pulleyblank . 1986. Tone in lexical phonology. Dordrecht: Reidel.

Daniel Silverman . 1997. Tone sandhi in Comaltepec Chinantec. Language 73 (3), 473492.

Adrian P. Simpson 2012. The first and second harmonics should not be used to measure breathiness in male and female voices. Journal of Phonetics 40 (3), 477490.

Donald E. Sinclair & Kenneth L. Pike . 1948. The tonemes of Mesquital Otomi. International Journal of American Linguistics 14 (2), 9198.

Agaath M. C. Sluijter & Vincent J. van Heuven . 1996. Spectral balance as an acoustic correlate of linguistic stress. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 100 (4), 24712485.

Jorge A. Suárez 1983. The Mesoamerican Indian languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Alice E. Turk & Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel . 2007. Multiple targets of phrase-final lengthening in American English words. Journal of Phonetics 35, 445472.

Ethel E. Wallis 1968. The word and the phonological hierarchy of Mezquital Otomi. Language 44 (1), 7690.

Ratree Wayland & Allard Jongman . 2003. Acoustic correlates of breathy and clear vowels: The case of Khmer. Journal of Phonetics 31, 181201.

Doug H. Whalen & Yi Xu . 1992. Information for Mandarin tones in the amplitude contour and in brief segments. Phonetica 49 (1), 2547.

Enrique L. Palancar 2004a. Middle voice in Otomi. International Journal of American Linguistics 70 (1), 5285.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of the International Phonetic Association
  • ISSN: 0025-1003
  • EISSN: 1475-3502
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-international-phonetic-association
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 8
Total number of PDF views: 37 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 406 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 18th October 2016 - 19th August 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.