A model of intonational phonology of Singapore Malay
Date of Issue2016
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Intonation in Singapore Malay involves phrase-final rises, and an utterance-final rise-fall at the end of declaratives. The location of the utterance-final rise is dependent on the number of syllables of the final word. The peak is observably earlier in focused constituents and lowered in post-focus constituents, in comparison to the corresponding peaks in neutral utterances (Hamzah and German, 2014). Taking into consideration the influence of segmental structure and information structure on the intonational contour, this study aims to develop a more comprehensive model of the intonational phonology of Singapore Malay within the Autosegmental-Metrical framework. Using data drawn from a production experiment involving 24 Singaporean Malay speakers producing targeted sentences to wh-questions, this study analyzed acoustic measurements of suprasegmental features, including F0, duration and intensity. The study found evidence for two levels of prosodic phrasing (i.e., accentual phrase and intonational phrase), with edge tone(s) associated to their periphery. Focus is marked by a bitonal pitch accent, which triggers a lowering of post-focus peaks.