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The acoustics of primary and secondary stress in Modern Hebrew

In: Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics
Authors:
Evan-Gary Cohen Tel-Aviv University

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Vered Silber-Varod Open University of Israel

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Noam Amir Tel-Aviv University

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Abstract

This study investigates the acoustic realization of primary and secondary stress in polysyllabic words in Modern Hebrew (MH). The study focuses on the production of target words embedded in a meaningful carrier sentence, with three primary stress types: ultimate, penultimate and antepenultimate stress. We measured the duration, intensity and F0 of each vowel. Results show that duration is the sole reliable cue for stress in MH, and that there is no phonetic realization of secondary stress in MH, and therefore no true surface alternating pattern. These findings may have phonological implications regarding the prosodic organization of language, and provide a solid basis for future studies on the perception of primary and secondary stress by speakers.

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