We are happy to announce the next talk in the Phonology Colloquium, which will take place on Wednesday, January 30, 4 – 6 pm in IG 4.301.
You are all cordially invited.

On the interaction of tone and intonation in some Eastern Bantu Languages

Nancy C. Kula, University of Essex

This talk looks at the implementation and effects of boundary intonational tones in different contexts in four Eastern Bantu languages: Bemba, Shingazidja, Chichewa, and Tumbuka. The goal is to look at the contrast in intonational tone implementation in local and global contexts. Global intonational effects target whole constituents and are good diagnostics for identifying larger prosodic constituents like maximal intonation phrases. Local intonational effects target smaller constituents – minimal and intermediate intonation phrases – embedded within maximal intonation phrases. A key focus will be to establish whether we can identify any emerging areal (Eastern Bantu) features in intonation patterns and specifically whether the punctual versus non-punctual implementation of boundary tones correlate to specific discourse information contrasting discourse salient information, on the one hand, and non-/less discourse salient information, on the other.
We will investigate this by considering constituents of varying sizes including subjects, topics and dislocated constituents in different sentence types to show that there is a disparity between whether a boundary intonational tone targets a single syllable or a number of syllables. An important question that comes into play in these cases is the interaction of lexical tones and intonational tones and whether lexical tone in some way influences the implementation of boundary tones. It will be argued that the level of the intonational phrase as intermediate i-phrase or maximal i-phrase plays a crucial role in the implementation and that the phrasing itself correlates to different discourse contexts. The patterns between the four languages do not offer a uniform
picture but begin to point us in the direction of possible parameters of intonational pattern variation in Eastern Bantu.