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Vol. 57, No. 1, 2000
Issue release date: January–March 2000

The Question of ‘Stress’ in West Greenlandic1

An Acoustic Investigation of Rhythmicization, Intonation, and Syllable Weight

Jacobsen B.
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The main purpose is to investigate whether stress is a relevant category in Greenlandic word prosody. I focus on tonal and durational parameters. The data material consists of word lists read aloud seven times by two subjects. The main findings are: (1) The prosodic characteristics of words can be explained in either tonal or durational terms. (2) The four different syllable types (of different ‘weight’) are distinguished in durational terms; further, there appears to be only a tripartite system of short, long and overlong. (3) There are intra-syllabic as well as inter-syllabic rhythmical adjustments. It is concluded that Greenlandic prosody does not include an autonomous stress category, either tonal or durational parameters alone will do. And although Greenlandic has distinctive quantity, there is room for considerable durational variation of segments.

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