Investigating relationships between intonational and syntactic phrasing in Ruruuli/Lunyala

Margaret Zellers, Saudah Namyalo, Alena Witzlack-Makarevich

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Ruruuli/Lunyala is a Great Lakes Bantu language mainly spoken in central Uganda. Canonical word order in Bantu languages is generally S V IO DO with adjuncts following, but both arguments and adjuncts can occur in non-canonical positions. Since many Bantu languages, including Ruruuli/Lunyala, are tone languages, it is profitable to investigate non-pitch-related cues to intonational phrasing in these languages. In particular, penultimate lengthening has been identified as a common feature at intonation phrase boundaries in many Bantu languages. Since our data consists of conversations, it can also be fruitful to investigate phenomena in the vicinity of silent pauses, although these do not stand in a one-to-one relationship with either syntactic or intonation phrase boundaries. We investigate the locations of candidate intonation phrase boundaries in relation to syntactic boundaries. We also investigate the phonetic characteristics (e.g. penultimate lengthening) of our candidate intonation phrases in order to confirm the initial phrasing analysis and compare boundary strength associated with different syntactic boundary types.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)394-398
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the International Conference on Speech Prosody
StatePublished - 2020
Event10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020 - Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 25 May 202028 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 International Speech Communications Association. All rights reserved.


  • Bantu
  • Intonation
  • Phrasing
  • Prosody-syntax interface


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