• Tone, intonation, stress and duration in Navajo

      Kidder, Emily; University of Arizona (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2008)
      The phenomena of tone, intonation, stress and duration interact on the phonetic level due to their shared use of the acoustic cues of pitch and segment length. The Navajo language, in which the existence of intonation and stress has been questioned by native speakers and scholars (McDonough, 2002), provides a unique system for studying this interaction, due to the presence of both phonemic tone and phonemic segment length. The variable nature of stress and intonation, as well as their status as linguistic universals has been debated among scholars of prosody (Connell and Ladd, 1990; Laniran, 1992; McDonough, 2002; Hayes, 1995). This paper discusses the interaction between these prosodic elements in Navajo, arguing that stress and intonation cannot be concretely identified, and positing a causal relationship between the presence of contrastive tone and length, the lack of stress and the lack of intonation.