Prominence and Intonation in Singapore English

Adam J. Chong, and James S. German.
2023. Journal of Phonetics 98 (May): 101240   —  @HAL
Previous work on Singapore English prosody has focused largely on establishing the acoustic correlates of lexical stress and examining where the language falls within a rhythm-class typology. Little attention, however, has been paid to how lexical prominence, if present, interacts with phrasal prominence. In this study, we examine the extent to which f0 realizations vary across lexical items with differing stress patterns, while taking into account that prosodic phrasing requirements necessitate an f0 rise to the phrase-final syllable. We show that across target types of varying stress placement, syllable length, and constituency, f0 realizations are highly consistent, involving a rise from the start of the target word or phrase which culminates with a peak on the phrase-final syllable. The location of lexical prominence is the primary influence on the scaling of f0 across the entire target, with stress-initial targets having a higher mean f0. Exploratory analysis of duration and intensity measures further corroborates the prominence-lending nature of the phrasefinal syllable, with some evidence for marking of prominence on non-final lexically stressed syllables. The findings support the primarily post-lexical role that f0 plays in marking phrase edges, instead of lexical heads, in Singapore English, in line with a previously proposed AM model of Singapore English intonation. The implications of these findings for the study of prosodic typology and sociolinguistic variation in Singapore English are also discussed.
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