Punjabi: Is tone sometimes used to complement stress?

souminwé

Senior Member
North American English, Hindi
I've long noticed that words like pushaak, xudaa, kalaam, Bashiireyaa will be pronounced by some Punjabi speakers as pṷsháak~pᵊsháak, xṷdáa, kᵊláam~kláam, Bᵊshíireya~Bshíireya. That is, vowels before a stressed syllable are very reduced in length, sometimes in quality or even deleted. Strong vowel reduction seems to be looked down on, but I feel even weak pre-stress reduction in Punjabi is notable only because it's a step stronger than what occurs in Hindi-Urdu (some kind of reduction itself is not very noteworthy). I'm rather sure I've heard xṷdáa even in very enunciated Bible lectures, and I can't imagine any Punjabi person pronouncing a word like sangiidaa with long vowels drawled as Hindi.

What is interesting to me is that it further seems that the stressed syllable also "gains" a rising tone. My question is if Punjabi speakers also feel that these words "gain a tone", as is my intuition. Am I actually just hearing a tendency to strongly reduce pre-stress vowels and lengthen stressed syllables?

Words seem to gain a tone at sentence level emphasis too, which again sounds like it's "complementing" the stress:

o teraa pinD e - That is your village.
ˈóːe teraa pinD e - THAT one is your village right there.
ˈóːe teraa ˈpińːD e [te etthe ii sakuul e, taaN das xaaN innaa leT kyoN eN]- THAT, right there, is in fact YOUR VILLAGE [and the school is right here, so tell me why are you late?] (it sounds to me that the nasal was lengthened and given tone in the sample I heard).

It seems to me that when words are verbally emphasised, they additionally gain a rising tone (which seems counter to English, where the tone would drop). Do Punjabis speakers hear this rise in tone the same way they here phonemic tones? Or do you feel that Punjabi sentence pitch rises for emphasis and my English ears are shocked because they expect a drop? Or am I just talking hot air and in fact I'm all wrong?

Also, I got the "ˈóːe teraa ˈpińːD e" example from a youtube video. If you search "maa di shaan anwar masood" you'll find a talk by him; around the 9 or 10 minute mark he starts speaking in Punjabi. The rest of the video is only 3 minutes-ish and this sentences occurs somewhere in that time. Give it a listen and tell me your thoughts!

A more extreme (to me anyway) example: I once overheard discussions on the "impropriety" of the pronuncitations hankaar and tbaar for ahankaar and aitbaar).


 
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  • marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    I've long noticed that words like pushaak, xudaa, kalaam, Bashiireyaa will be pronounced by some Punjabi speakers as pṷsháak~pᵊsháak, xṷdáa, kᵊláam~kláam, Bᵊshíireya~Bshíireya. That is, vowels before a stressed syllable are very reduced in length, sometimes in quality or even deleted. Strong vowel reduction seems to be looked down on, but I feel even weak pre-stress reduction in Punjabi is notable only because it's a step stronger than what occurs in Hindi-Urdu (some kind of reduction itself is not very noteworthy). I'm rather sure I've heard xṷdáa even in very enunciated Bible lectures, and I can't imagine any Punjabi person pronouncing a word like sangiidaa with long vowels drawled as Hindi.
    I can't do more than make an attempt to say something about the first paragraph, and if I manage to say something sensible, I'll be glad. You have posted so many thoughts and observations which are perhaps intertwined.

    I can share my observations about poshaak (not pōshāk) or as you like posháak. klaam, bᵊshiíreyaa. I haven't heard any elision of /u/ from xudaa.
    A Punjabi person will pronounce it a very short nasalized schwa, accented /ii/ and an unstressed final /a/ or with an additionally stressed final /áá/. Am I right in my understanding?
     
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