A Preliminary Study of Pitch and Rhythm in Pitjantjatjara

by Marija Tabain, Janet Fletcher, and Christian Heinrich

Pitjantjatjara is a dialect of the greater Western Desert language, spoken mainly in the northwest of South Australia, but extending north into the Northern Territory, and west into Western Australia (Douglas 1964). Like most Australian languages, Pitjantjatjara has been analysed as a stress language (trochaic); however relatively little is known about the intonational system of this language. We present a preliminary analysis of the prosodic structure of Pitjantjatjara based on three female speakers reading two different texts – the Walpa Ulpariranya munu Tjintunya (South Wind and the Sun) passage, and the Nanikuta (Three Billy Goats) text.