Interrelations of Syntax, Narrative Structure and Prosody in a Berber Language

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This study is a systematic investigation of the links among prosody, clause structure, and discourse pragmatics in four oral narratives of Tarifit, a VSO Berber language spoken in northeastern Morocco. It is a new method of empirical analysis of language utilizing a unique combination of sound analysis, statistics, grammar and story structure. Using the speech analysis program Signalize, levels of amplitude, fundamental frequency, length, and speed were analyzed. In addition, factors relating to clause structure and discourse pragmatics were quantified. The results of this investigation support some, but not all, claims of previous researchers, and reveal numerous additional interrelations not previously noted. These results suggest that prosody in relation to discourse pragmatics and clause structure may be a rich field of future linguistic endeavor. They also contribute to greater knowledge of a little known language in North Africa.

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