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Conference Papers Year : 2021

Prosodic phrasing in Naija (Nigerian Pidgin)

S. Abiola Oyelere
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This paper aims at examining the procedures adopted to prosodically segment the different levels prosodic structure identified in Naija, an extended pidgin spoken in Nigeria (West Africa) by the vast majority of its inhabitants. Prosodic phrasing remains a complex notion that has received great attention among scholars this last decade, particularly in Romance and Germanic languages (Jun 2005); in contrast, it has yet been little studied in African languages. This work is based on the Rhapsodie model, developed for the intonosyntactic modelling of French, and its functional interpretation in terms of communication devices and shaping of the informational flow of speech (Lacheret-Dujour, Kahane & Pietrandrea 2018), but the internal structure of one of the units is explained from the perspective of the Institute for Perception Research (IPO) (Hart, Collier & Cohen 1990). This study presents at least two major interests. First is the identification and annotation of the prosodic units in Naija. In phrasing Naija (a language that remains underexplored at both the lexical and postlexical prosodic level) prosodically, this work adapts a methodology developed for French (a typologically different language), in terms of annotation, instrumentation, and semi-automatic processing to analyse the prosody of the language, which makes it possible to highlight the prosodic specificities of this language. In this work, ten (10) files of at least five minutes monologues recorded from ten speakers representing all the regions of Nigeria, presenting a balanced sampling between the Northern and Southern parts of the country were selected from NaijaSynCor6 golden corpus (80 files). The data had been orthographically and phonetically transcribed, then syllabified semi-automatically using the SPPAS tool (Bigi, Caron & Oyelere 2017). Since prosodic phrasing involves the identification of the prominence and its boundary within a unit, the prosodic chunking done in this paper is phonetically and perceptually driven, such that the nucleus (peak) of the intonational contour and its boundary were identified, manually annotated on PRAAT and phonetically verified on ANALOR (Oyelere, Simard & Lacheret-Dujour 2018). The second interest of this paper is the semi-automatic and theoretical treatment of the two prosodic hierarchical units of intonation period (IP) and prosodic phrase (PP) which were found in Naija speeches. The annotation of the maximal unit called IP in this work was used to train ANALOR for semi-automatic IP annotation. And the internal structures of the second level (PP) was examined theoretically with IPO via the concepts of local and global attributes of intonational contour (Hart, Collier & Cohen 1990). Local attribute characterizes the f0 peak of the contour and the syllable that bears it, whereas global attribute concerns the stretch of the contour over the domain of the concerned prosodic unit. The two attributes are morphosyntactically examined on the concepts of the root, the prefix and the suffix of eachintonational contour of Naija PP.
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Dates and versions

hal-04140851 , version 1 (26-06-2023)


  • HAL Id : hal-04140851 , version 1


S. Abiola Oyelere. Prosodic phrasing in Naija (Nigerian Pidgin). SPCL Summer Meeting 2021, Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics, Jun 2021, Paris, France. ⟨hal-04140851⟩
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