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The Phonology of Chichewa$
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Laura J. Downing and Al Mtenje

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198724742

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198724742.001.0001

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(p.254) 11 Intonation
The Phonology of Chichewa

Laura J. Downing

Al Mtenje

Oxford University Press

Intonation in African languages remains an especially understudied topic of investigation. Chichewa is, then, rather exceptional, as there exist both purely impressionistic studies of intonation for the language, such as Kanerva (1990), as well as more phonetically informed studies, such as Carleton (1996), Myers (1996, 1999a, b), Downing (2011a, 2017), and Downing et al. (2004). Based on this work as well as our own investigations, the first three sections of the chapter provide an overview of intonation in three basic constructions: declarative sentences (both simple and complex), content questions and answers, and polar questions. Emphasis prosody (as opposed to focus prosody) is also discussed. Intonational phenomena covered include: downstep, final lowering, continuation rise, emphasis raising, suspension of downstep, and polar question intonation. The implications of Chichewa intonation for the typology of intonation in tone languages is discussed in the concluding section of the chapter.

Keywords:   declarative intonation, downstep, final lowering, continuation rise, emphasis prosody, polar question intonation, suspension of downstep

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