Linear Lengthening Intonation in English on Croker Island: identifying substrate origins

Hauptsächlicher Artikelinhalt

Robert Mailhammer
Patrick Caudal


The topic of this paper is a striking intonation contour which is found in English on Croker Island, NT, Australia, which is labelled Linear Lengthening Intonation. This contour is formally characterized by a prolonged stretch of high pitch, either in a plateau or rise, concluded by a high boundary tone, typically with lengthening of the final syllable nucleus. The meaning attached to this tune is essentially quantificational, and appears to apply mostly to the run traces of events. While this contour is not found in other varieties of English in this form, it is common in many northern Australian Aboriginal languages, among them languages spoken on Croker Island which have been in contact with English for several generations. In this paper we compare the form and meaning of this tune in Iwaidja, one of the main languages in contact with English on Croker Island, and in local English. Due to substantial parallels and due to the contact situation that is characterized by prolonged bilingualism in a long–term shift scenario, we propose that Linear Lengthening Intonation in English on Croker Island is probably due to language contact with Australian Aboriginal languages that have this tune, most notably Iwaidja.