Dalton, M. and Ní Chasaide, A., Modelling intonation in three Irish dialects, Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Barcelona, 2003, 1073 - 1076
This paper provides a preliminary account of features of the
intonation structure of three Irish dialects, Donegal (Ulster
Irish), Mayo, and Aran Islands, using the IViE system [1, 2].
The sentence types examined were declarative and
interrogative sentences: for the latter yes/no questions and
wh-questions. The picture that emerges suggests that in
intonation terms we are dealing with two rather than three
dialects. The first we broadly term Connaught Irish (to
include Mayo and Aran Islands, which despite fairly
striking segmental differences have very similar prosodic
properties). These differ strikingly from the Donegal
dialect in terms of the realisation of the pitch accent. For
example in declarative sentences, whereas Connaught Irish
is characterised by a predominantly H* pitch accent, with
downstep, the Donegal pattern is predominantly L*+H. The
questions arises as to whether such apparently dissimilar
patterns might be regarded as similar at an underlying level,
differing in terms of the time alignment of the tonal
material relative to the syllabic nucleus. This potential
analysis is modelled on the treatment by Bruce and Gårding
 of word tones in Swedish dialects. The similarities of
the Donegal (Ulster) patterns with those described by
Grabe et al.  for Belfast English are also discussed, as
well as the likelihood of language contact as an explanation
for the latter.
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