Interspeech'2005 - Eurospeech

Lisbon, Portugal
September 4-8, 2005

Fundamental Frequency and Tone in isiZulu: Initial Experiments

Natasha Govender, Etienne Barnard, Marelie Davel

University of Pretoria, South Africa

Much theoretical work has been done on the tonal structure of languages in the Bantu family. However, most of these studies are not supported by physical measurements, or even a consistent model for mapping from linguistic constructs to such measurements. As a first step towards addressing this deficiency, we report on initial measurements regarding the relationship between fundamental frequency and linguistic tone in isiZulu. After choosing a suitable algorithm for pitch extraction, we have correlated a number of linguistically assigned tone values with measured values for fundamental frequency. These measurements indicate a fairly complex relationship between tone and pitch, and suggest that the commonly observed ‘falling' tone in isiZulu may be a context-specific realization of the high tone.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Govender, Natasha / Barnard, Etienne / Davel, Marelie (2005): "Fundamental frequency and tone in isizulu: initial experiments", In INTERSPEECH-2005, 1417-1420.