Downstep in Paicî (Oceanic, New Caledonia)
Florian Lionnet
June 2021
 

In this paper, I propose an updated analysis of the tone system of Paicî, one of the rare tonal Oceanic languages. Building on Jean-Claude Rivierre’s (1974) work, I show that the tonal system of Paicî is best described with three underlying primitives: a High tone, a Low tone, and a downstep /ꜜ/ best analyzed as a register feature independent of tone. Paicî is particularly interesting for the empirical documentation as well as the typological and theoretical understanding of downstep, because it combines many rare properties: (i) only downstepped ꜜL is attested; (ii) downstep is incompatible with H tones within the prosodic word (*ꜜH, *ꜜL...H); (iii) it is realized utterance-initially; (iv) it has accentual properties, and very likely derives from a former accentual system. The paper also provides an acoustic description of tone and downstep in Paicî – based on my own fieldwork as well as some of Rivierre’s recordings – an important step toward filling a serious gap in the documentation of downstepped ꜜL tones and their properties
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005263
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Submitted
keywords: oceanic, tone, downstep, clitics, prosodic structure, phonology
previous versions: v1 [June 2020]
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