An Articulatory Account of Rhythm, Prominence and Phrasal Articulation

Donna Erickson, Showa Music University, Kawasaki City

This paper examines some articulatory and acoustic characteristics of American English. The results suggest that the jaw may be the articulatory organizer of phrasal rhythm, manifested acoustically through the F2-F1 pattern. Utterance prominence, such as contrastive emphasis, is additionally manifested by increased F0 along with increased duration on the prominent word. The rhythmical organization of the utterance, based on strong-weak jaw opening patterns, may be different from the intonational organization involving pitch accents/ boundary strengths. American English prosody might be best described using a parallel system involving both a rhythm system based on articulation, and an intonational system involving pitch notations.