UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 8 (1996)

An experiment with tone



It has been previously claimed that identical phonological objects are componential in phonation contrasts and lexical tone. It has also been shown that infants perceive language-specific phonation contrasts. We here investigate the perception of lexical tone by an adult speaker of Yoruba to allow us to both design stimuli and form hypotheses for infant testing. Two important theoretical points are discussed: firstly, that prosody and melody, which remain independent throughout adult life, must undergo separate developments; and secondly, that the insertion of identical melodic material into different structural architecture may lead to different phonetic outputs.

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