Prosodic Description: An Introduction for Fieldworkers

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ISSN: 1934-5275

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Himmelmann, Nikolaus P.; Ladd, D. Robert
prosody; tone; accent; fieldwork
article description
This article provides an introductory tutorial on prosodic features such as tone and accent for researchers working on little-known languages. It specifically addresses the needs of non-specialists and thus does not presuppose knowledge of the phonetics and phonology of prosodic features. Instead, it intends to introduce the uninitiated reader to a field often shied away from because of its (in part real, but in part also just imagined) complexities. It consists of a concise overview of the basic phonetic phenomena (section 2) and the major categories and problems of their functional and phonological analysis (sections 3 and 4). Section 5 gives practical advice for documenting and analyzing prosodic features in the field.