The Phonological Distribution of Pitch Accent in Hiaki

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In a Hiaki word with multiple syllables, one syllable will usually be more prominent than the others. In languages like English, the prominent syllable is often indicated by the intensity and duration of its vowel, meaning that it might be pronounced longer and louder. Linguists refer to this as “stress accent”. However, in “pitch accent” languages like Japanese, the vowel’s change in pitch is the only indication of which syllable is the prominent one. Some researchers have said that Hiaki is a stress accent language, while others have said it is a pitch accent language. This paper investigates and analyzes actual Hiaki speech and makes the claim that Hiaki is neither a “stress accent” nor a “pitch accent” language, but is more of a combination of the two types and has elements of both.