Prosodic Prominence and High Vowel Lowering in Apurímac Quechua
This paper presents an acoustic study of High Vowel Lowering in Apurímac Quechua dialect of Peru. High Vowel Lowering in the vicinity of uvular stops has been reported in related dialects of the Quechua language family (Quechua IIC category), e.g. Cusco and Cochabamba Quechua. Initial impression of Apurímac Quechua also indicated a lowering effect of high vowels after uvular stops, which motivated the current study, where we compared the high vowels following uvular stops to high vowels following alveolar stops. Considering the fact that prosodic phenomena such as word and phrasal prominence , i.e. stress and focus may resist the erosion of contrastive features or enhance the contrastive features of segments, it is possible that the high vowels would not undergo lowering in the presence of stress or focus or both. Hence in addition to testing the effect of the place of articulation of the preceding consonant on high vowels, this study also tests the effects of stress and focus on the lowering process. While the results show that stress resists High Vowel Lowering, focus does not lend the same effect.