Pitch Accent

Pitch accent is a linguistic term of convenience for a variety of restricted tone systems that use variations in pitch to give prominence to a syllable or mora within a word. The placement of this tone or the way it is realized can give different meanings to otherwise similar words. The term has been used to describe certain Scandinavian and South Slavic languages, Ancient Greek, Vedic Sanskrit, Japanese, Korean, Hiaki and Shanghainese. Although it has been claimed that "pitch accent" is not a coherently defined term, it is commonly understood to refer to a language that uses phonemic tone, but where only one or two syllables in a word can be phonemically marked for tone, and many words are not marked for tone at all. In such languages, the syllable with phonemic tone typically is acoustically prominent, in a similar fashion to the dynamic stress of languages such as English or Spanish.

Pitch-accented languages may have a more complex accentual system than stress-accented languages, in that in some cases they have more than a binary distinction, but are sometimes less complex than fully tonal languages such as Chinese or Yoruba, which may assign tone to an entire word without association to specific syllables, or which may assign a separate tone to each syllable. For example, Japanese allows short nouns (1-4 moras) to have tone on any one mora, but more frequently on none at all, so that in disyllabic words there are three-way minimal contrasts such as káki "oyster" vs. kakí "fence" vs. kaki "persimmon"); Ancient Greek in contrast had obligatory tone on one of three final moras, so that if the tonic syllable had a long vowel or diphthong, it had either a rising or a falling tone. In addition, the mapping between phonemic and phonetic tone may be more involved than the simple one-to-one mapping between stress and dynamic intensity in stress-accented languages.

Proto-Indo-European accent is usually reconstructed as a free pitch-accent system, preserved in Ancient Greek, Vedic, and Proto-Balto-Slavic. The Greek and Indic systems were lost: Modern Greek has a pitch produced stress accent, and it was lost entirely from Indic by the time of the Prākrits. Balto-Slavic retained Proto-Indo-European pitch accent, reworking it into the opposition of "acute" (rising) and "circumflex" (falling) tone, and which, following a period of extensive accentual innovations, yielded pitch-accent based system that has been retained in modern-day Lithuanian and West South Slavic languages (in some dialects). Some other modern Indo-European languages have pitch accent systems, like Swedish and Norwegian, deriving from a stress-based system they inherited from Old Norse, and Punjabi, which developed tone distinctions that maintained lexical distinctions as consonants were conflated.

Read more about Pitch Accent:  Norwegian and Swedish, Franconian Languages, Welsh and Welsh English, West South Slavic Languages, Japanese, Korean, Shanghainese, Autosegmental-metrical Theory, English

Other articles related to "pitch accent, accent, pitch accents, pitch":

Gyeongsang Dialect - Tone
... as North Gyeongsang or South Gyeongsang based on pitch accent ... Pitch accent plays a grammatical role as well, for example distinguishing causative and passive as in jép-pida 'make s.o ... In North Gyeongsang, any syllable may have pitch accent in the form of a high tone, as may the two initial syllables ...
Japanese Pitch Accent - Correct Pitch Accent
... Normative pitch accent, essentially the pitch accent of the Tokyo dialect, is considered essential in jobs such as broadcasting ... The current standards for pitch accent are presented in special accent dictionaries for native speakers such as the Shin Meikai Nihongo Akusento Jiten ... Foreign learners of Japanese are often not taught to pronounce the pitch accent, though it is included in some noted texts, such as Japanese The Spoken Language ...
Slovene Dialects - Regional Groups
... by monophthongal stressed vowels, an acute semivowel, pitch accent, standard circumflex shift, and two accentual retractions with some exceptions ... Among other features, this group is characterized by pitch accent, extensive dipththongization (ei, ie, uo), an a-colored semivowel, shift of o > u, and partial akanye ... this group is characterized by loss of pitch accent, tonemically high and lengthened accented syllables, lengthening of accented short syllables, and ...
Tokyo Dialect - Pitch Accent
... A few words are pronounced different pitch accent between Yamanote and Shitamachi ... Bandō (another name of Kantō region) Accent on ba in Yamanote, Accentless in Shitamachi ... saka ("slope") Accent on ka in Yamanote, Accent on sa in Shitamachi ...
Pitch Accent - English
... Pitch accents in English serve as a cue to prominence, along with duration, intensity, and spectral composition ... Pitch accents are made up of a high (H) or low (L) pitch target or a combination of an H and an L target ... The pitch accents of English used in the ToBI prosodic transcription system are H*, L*, L*+H, L+H*, and H+!H* ...

Famous quotes containing the words accent and/or pitch:

    I had many problems in my conduct of the office being contrasted with President Kennedy’s conduct in the office, with my manner of dealing with things and his manner, with my accent and his accent, with my background and his background. He was a great public hero, and anything I did that someone didn’t approve of, they would always feel that President Kennedy wouldn’t have done that.
    Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908–1973)

    People do not know the natural infirmity of their mind: it does nothing but ferret and quest, and keeps incessantly whirling around, building up and becoming entangled in its own work, like our silkworms, and is suffocated in it: a mouse in a pitch barrel.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592)