Prosody of Tokyo Japanese Revisited: “Boundary Fall” in the Sentence-Level Pitch Contour

College of Letters and Science / Foreign Language & Literature


Project Objectives: The objective of the research is to detect acoustic and/or perceptual evidences of what is called kyokai-kako ("boundary fall"), a hypothetical phonological phenomenon the student defined and formulated by deduction from the past observations and formularizations of Tokyo Japanese, of which the most important is the one made by Nozomi Kodama, published in 2008 in the paper "Tone Contours in Japanese Prosodic Structures."

Collecting recordings and testing the speakers’ perceptions would be done in a sequential manner: We would record a participant’s utterances to be analyzed, and test the other participants’ perceptions on the recorded utterances, in such a way that both of the following can be tested:
a) Whether and how the hypothetical phonological event in question differentiates the pitch contour of the utterance and;
b) Regardless of whether we find any characteristics in the pitch contour, if the phenomenon in question is detected by the native speaker in any way.

We estimate that we need around 150 test sentences to be prepared, each carefully composed, and we need at least three, preferably six or more, native speakers of Tokyo Japanese as participants. Analysis on the sound data would be made using software environments such as Praat.

Tasks and Responsibilities

This is student-led research with the consultation of the mentor.
• Design surveys and perceptual tests
• Preparing necessary phrases that the participants would read aloud or hear the
pronunciation of
• Collecting and analyzing the speech/survey data

Desired Qualifications