Acoustic correlates of lexical accent in Turkish

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Phonologists have long discussed the properties of 'stress' in Turkish, though there are some authors that suggest that Turkish is actually a pitch-accent language. As a first step in determining whether Turkish should be grouped with pitch-accent languages such as Basque and Japanese or with stress-accent languages such as English, this experimental study provides a detailed phonetic examination of word-level accent in Turkish. Seven female native speakers of Turkish were recorded saying 40 target words in three repetitions. The results show that there are significant differences in duration, peak amplitude, and peak F0 between words with final vs. non-final lexical accent. The magnitude of the duration differences, however, is not likely to be sufficiently perceptible to be a reliable cue to accent placement. The F0 peaks were dramatically different between lexically accented and unaccented syllables. A discriminant analysis confirms that F0 is the most robust cue, followed by intensity and then duration. The current study also provides a method for determining lexical accent placement in words where accent placement has been disputed. That is, a marked drop in F0 signals that the syllable preceding the drop contains the lexical accent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-97
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of the International Phonetic Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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