Stress in Inuktitut

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Stress in Inuktitut

Postby Psi-Lord » 2010-04-06, 19:22

It’s interesting how no materials I’ve checked this far mention anything on Inuktitut stress. So I’m wondering…

I remember reading/being told that stress in Inuktitut depends on syllable weight. Since heavy syllables would be those with either a double/long vowel or a vowel followed by two consonants, stress would fall on the last heavy syllable of the word.

However, I’ve got no idea if that’s really so, and, in case it is, what accounts for stress in words with no heavy syllable. Besides, are we to analyse words as a whole, or the noun/verb root only, with affixes either being unstressed or bearing secondary stress?

I did find a short section on Greenlandic prosody in the Wikipedia that sort of matches the outline above:

Intonation is influenced by syllable weight: heavy syllables are pronounced in a way that may be perceived as stress. Heavy syllables include syllables with long vowels and syllables before consonant clusters. The last syllable is stressed in words with less than four syllables and without long vowels or consonant clusters. The antepenultimate syllable is stressed in words with more than four syllables that are all light. In words with many heavy syllables, syllables with long vowels are considered heavier than syllables before a consonant cluster.

I wonder, though, if that might be applied to Inuktitut as well (although it might be the case that even Inuktitut variants differ on that among themselves, too).

So, basically, is there any input on this anyone can give me? :)
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Re: Stress in Inuktitut

Postby zeme » 2010-05-10, 20:46

I think we're in trouble. Unilang's Inuktitut master, Tukkumminnguaq, can't really help us with phonology. :(
The fellow who thinks he knows it all is especially annoying to those of us who do.

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Re: Stress in Inuktitut

Postby Ser » 2011-11-06, 4:54

http://phonology.cogsci.udel.edu/dbs/st ... php?id=122

According to this page, stress falls on the last syllable.

EDIT: And this other page (same site):

http://phonology.cogsci.udel.edu/~heinz ... stress.pdf
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Re: Stress in Inuktitut

Postby ppigott » 2012-03-30, 6:25

It's a controversial question. The information off Wiki is an old misconception stemming from the syllable weight theory proposed by Kleinschmidt (1851). He was just going by ear. Instrumental measurement by Jacobsen (2000) shows there is no empirical basis for K's theory.. the heavier the syllable the more duration, yes, but that doesn't mean they're stressed. She concludes that 'stress' is not a relevant category in the prosody of West Greenlandic. I argue as well based on my own data from Labrador that all the Inuit dialects (except perhaps Bering Inupiaq) are non-stress languages, unlike the related Yupik and Aleut which are iambic.

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Re: Stress in Inuktitut

Postby deardron » 2012-04-07, 12:50

The human ear often acts as a more sublime instrument than spectrographs. To say there's no stress in Greenlandic is a bit ridiculous, because I hear it clearly, whatever phonetic realization, although it's certainly of another nature than in English and many European languages with dynamic stress and reduction of unstressed syllables (nevertheless I sometimes encounter cases of reduction in Greenlandic as well). So this is rather a manifestation of the fact that stress has different acoustic nature in various languages and has a complex nature where duration, loudness, pitch, metrics etc. have a say.

In my view there is stress in words like oqarpoq 'he says', oqarpunga 'I say'. You even can hear how they stress different morae of long vowels:

qaaqquvai 'he invites them', qaaqquvaat 'they invite him/them'
nuannaraakka 'I enjoy them', aperaanga 'he asks me'

How does Jakobsen treat cases like that?

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Re: Stress in Inuktitut

Postby Ser » 2012-04-07, 20:49

Maybe both of you are right. Stress isn't relevant in Inuktitut the way it is in English (insight vs. incite) and IE languages in general, but nonetheless there's syllables that have a certain acoustic prominence over others.
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Re: Stress in Inuktitut

Postby księżycowy » 2012-04-12, 14:07

I figured I'd weigh in, just because you guys got me interested in this.

I was looking through my textbooks and grammars of Aleut, Yup'ik and Inupiaq, and nowhere in my grammar for Inupiaq (which is a dialect of Inuktitut, as I'm sure some of you know) that there is no talk of stress.

My Yup'ik book does discuss stress in both Yup'ik and a little bit on Inupiaq/Inuktitut. What's interesting in this book, A Practical Grammar of Central Alaskan Yup'ik Eskimo Language, is that Yup'ik has rhythmic stress, but Jacobson says that Inupiaq/Inuktitut has no stress.
Aleut has stress too.

It seems odd that the other languages of the family have stress, but Inupiaq/Inuktitut has no stress. :hmm:

Though I'm no expert, and I can't speak for the research Jacobson, or any of the other authors have done.

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Re: Stress in Inuktitut

Postby Ser » 2012-04-12, 15:44

The same thing goes on in Cantonese with stress being largely irrelevant, even though Mandarin does have some relevant stress (e.g. 東西 [ˈtʊŋ˥ ˈɕiː˥] 'East and West', 東西 [ˈtʊŋ˥ɕi˨] 'thing').
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Re: Stress in Inuktitut

Postby księżycowy » 2012-04-12, 16:23

Interesting. :hmm:

Not that I find it really odd that one language wouldn't have stress and the others would. It's more just fascinating.

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Re: Stress in Inuktitut

Postby Ser » 2012-04-13, 5:40

It's not that they don't have stress, it's that it's not as relevant. You hear Cantonese speakers speak, and sure, some words have some more prominence than others, but it's not like it's a property of words isolated.
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Re: Stress in Inuktitut

Postby księżycowy » 2012-04-13, 11:23

I got it. :)


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