Berber is a typological treasure chest. While it has a conventional Afro-Asiatic syllable structure, the distribution of its segments over syllable positions is striking. In this talk, I will illustrate this on the basis of the dialect spoken in Zwara (Zuwarah), a coastal city in western Libya. While vowels only occupy syllable peaks, consonants appear in both C-positions and V-positions without exception. Since both /j w/ and /i u/ exist, this means that vowels and glides contrast in syllable peaks. In addition, it has geminate versions of all consonants. While always requiring a mora, geminates can appear in nearly all positions in syllable structure. Notably, they cannot appear in an onset-plus-peak position, making the beginning of the syllable rime an unbridgable boundary for them.
A frequent location for geminates is the rime-plus-onset location, whereby the rime favours a vowelless first half of the geminate. Rimes do not contrast /əC/ and /C/, where the realization of [ə] depends on the type of C, with voiceless obstruents typically lacking a preceding schwa. These first halves of geminates frequently occur in the stressed syllable, so that many words have ‘silent stress’. For instance, in /a.ˈws.su/ ‘humid period’ and /m.ˈmˁχ.χrˁ/ ‘late’ the stressed syllables are /ws/ and /mˁχ/ respectively, where the obstruent is the syllable peak. The voicelessness of the syllable peak and the following onset will interrupt the f0 contour at a point where a pitch peak is expected.
A question that arises is whether speakers apply ‘segmental intonation’, a shift in the spectrum of voiceless fricative and plosive bursts, detected by Oliver Niebuhr in German. To this end, we recorded four repetitions of 12 words with /χ f s ʃ k q/ in stressed position in four carrier sentences intended to elicit three intonation conditions and a stress shift condition. In addition, we added one word as a control condition for word-final stressed /s/, a situation in which Niebuhr found ‘segmental intonation’ effects between declaratives and interrogatives. Each of the friction portions in words with /χ f s ʃ/ was segmented into three equal parts (giving 4 repetitions x 9 words x 3 friction portions x 4 conditions = 432 friction segments, while the bursts of /k q/ were segmented (4 repetitions x 4 words x 4 conditions = 64, or 496 friction/burst portions in all). These were rated for perceived pitch in an AX task using a 7-point scale by five judges in a pilot experiment. Results show segmental intonation effects that indicate these are non-automatic.
Outi Tuomainen (University of Potsdam)
Perception et production des voyelles nasales du français par des hispanophones d'Espagne et de Colombie
Michael A. Grosvald (Qatar University)
Martin Krämer (The Arctic Unversity of Norway)