Tonal and durational correlates of accent in contexts of downstep in Lekeitio Basque

Gorka Elordieta, José Ignacio Hualde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we examine the realization of accentual prominence in downstep contexts (i.e. after another accented word) in the Northern Bizkaian Basque dialect of Lekeitio. Previous work has suggested that pitch is the primary correlate of accent in this language. In this paper, we test the hypothesis that in contexts where pitch differences are likely to be reduced or perhaps eliminated, duration will be recruited to convey accentual prominence. The results show that pitch-accents are reduced but not eliminated following other accents, including the context after a word with narrow focus. The reduced pitch excursions found in this context appear to reliably and consistently indicate the position of the accent. On the other hand, the participants in this study did not consistently employ duration to enhance the prominence of accented syllables (a durational effect was found for two out of five speakers). Given the robustness of the pitch cue in this language (always a fall from the accented syllable), even in contexts of downstep, other phonetic correlates of accent will be redundant, to the extent that they are used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-209
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the International Phonetic Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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