UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 8 (1996)

Edge-licensing in chanting contours



This paper looks at the manifestation of downstep in chanting contours, and at the way in which this phenomenon has been accounted for by some models of intonation. Special attention is paid to the analysis in Cabrera-Abreu (1996), where it is argued that toneless boundaries belonging to an empty nucleus are responsible for downstep in phonetic interpretation. However, this proposal cannot be fully formalised unless a strategy is found to license such nuclei. We propose here that empty nuclei can be licensed by the edge of the intonation domain. This analysis allows for both a descriptively and an explanatorily adequate account of chanting contours.

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