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Seeking for an Anchorage

Seeking for an Anchorage. Stability and Variability in Tonal Alignment of Rising Prenuclear Pitch Accents

Dr. Charalambos Themistocleous

Monday 24 March 2014, 11:30-13:30, Room CY013

This study provides evidence about Cypriot Greek melodic structure; more specifically, it tests the claims of the Segmental Anchoring Hypothesis and the Invariance Hypothesis about the alignment of the rising prenuclear pitch accents. By manipulating the syllable pattern and the number of unstressed syllables that follow the Cypriot Greek prenuclearpitch accent, the study sheds light on the alignment of the L and the H that comprise the prenuclear pitch accent. More specifically, the L persistently aligns inside the onset consonant, a few milliseconds before the stressed vowel. In contrast, the H does not anchor to a specific segment but its alignment varies depending on the number of unstressed syllables that follow the prenuclear pitch accent. Most importantly, these findings suggest that the two hypotheses do not account for the prenuclear pitch accent alignment. Welby and Lœvenbruck (2006)’s Segmental Anchorage Hypothesis, which suggests that the H aligns with respect to a specific segmental region, provides a superior account for the results. In addition, the study proposes the Maximum Differentiation Hypothesis and the Effort Code Hypothesis to account for the alignment of the H within the segmental anchorage. Lastly, the socioprosodic implications of prenuclear pitch accent alignment are discussed.

Biographical Note

Dr. Charalambos Themistocleous is a Special Scientist at the Department of English Studies, University of Cyprus. He holds an MA in Applied Linguistics and an MA in Computational Linguistics. His doctoral thesis entitled “Prosody and Information Structure in Greek” provides an all-encompassing analysis of modern Greek intonation. He received scholarships for excellence by the Cyprus State Scholarship Foundation and the Public Welfare Foundation “Alexander S. Onassis”. He participated in various research programs funded by the Academy of Athens, the Leventis Foundation, and the Open University of Cyprus. He taught Sociolinguistics, Phonetics, Phonology, Research Design & Statistics and Conversation Analysis. He is currently the Press Officer of the Cyprus Linguistic Society. He presented his work in international scientific conferences and his work is published in several book volumes and in peer-reviewed journals. In 2012, in collaboration with Georgia Fragaki and Athanasios Georgakopoulos he edited the volume “Current Trends in Greek Linguistics”, which was published by the Cambridge ScholarsPublishing. He specialises in Phonetics, Phonology, Prosody, and Computational Linguistics. His current research focuses on Information Structure, Sociophonetics, Variational Sociolinguistics, and Socioprosody.