Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 47–96 | Cite as

Bengali intonational phonology

  • Bruce Hayes
  • Aditi Lahiri

This paper proposes a phonological analysis of the Bengali intonational system, using a descriptive framework developed by Pierrehumbert (1980) and others. Our analysis bears on a number of theoretical points. We argue that the Bengali facts support a typology of intonational tones that includes only pitch accents and boundary tones, and that the docking sites for boundary tones are the phrase edges provided under the theory of the Prosodic Hierarchy (Selkirk 1980). We show that Bengali intonational contours are governed by the obligatory Contour Principle (OCP), which forbids adjacent identical tones. Underlying contours that violate the OCP are converted to permissible surface forms by a phonological rule. We also bring Bengali data to bear on a long-standing controversy concerning phrasal stress: Bengali can be shown to have a default, phonologically assigned phrasal stress pattern; thus phrasal stress assignment cannot be reduced exclusively to focus and other semantic factors.


Artificial Intelligence Theoretical Point Surface Form Stress Pattern Docking Site 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce Hayes
    • 1
  • Aditi Lahiri
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUCLALos Angeles
  2. 2.Max-Planck-Institut für PsycholinguistikNijmegenThe Netherlands

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