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Pitch, Frequency and Duration:Using Phonetic Correlates to Determine the Word-Level Stress Pattern of Tunisian Arabic

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Author: Shifflett, Erica Lauren
Advisor: Mansour, Chadia
Committee Members: Ament, Erin Good; Eisele, John C.
Issued Date: 5/14/2011
Subjects: Arabic
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10288/13744
Description: This research sought to establish the word-level stress patterns of Tunisian Arabic and compare these patterns to the known patterns of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). The hypotheses addressed were: 1.) Tunisian dialect Arabic would follow a different set of word-level stress pattern rules than Modern Standard Arabic. However: 2.) The stress patterns of Tunisian dialect Arabic would still be based on syllable weight, like Modern Standard Arabic Three native speakers of Tunisian dialect Arabic were interviewed in February 2011, in order to collect data, which consisted of individual words spoken by the speaker in Tunisian Arabic. All words were said in isolation and were recorded using the program Audacity. The purpose of the study was to determine the word level stress pattern by using the phonetic correlates of pitch, intensity and vowel duration. Pitch and intensity are said to be higher in syllables which are stressed, while vowel duration is longer (de Jong & Zawaydeh, 1999). The audio files were played through the program PRAAT to display the pitch, intensity and vowel duration of each word. These measurements were compared to the perceived stress pattern of the word, and used to determine the stress pattern of each word. The results show that Tunisian dialect follows the same pattern as that of Modern Standard Arabic, but the stress pattern is in fact based on syllable weight. Syllable weight dictates exactly where in the word stress will fall. Additionally, it was found that the three measured phonetic correlates did correlate well to stress in the word.
Degree: Bachelors of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies

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