Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Linguistics Program

Committee Chair

Mizuki Miyashita


accent, Basho, F0, foot, haiku, Japanese, lexical pitch, linguistics, meter, mora, performance, phonology, pitch, pitch contour, praat, syllable, verse


University of Montana


In this thesis I conduct experiments to investigate how pitch pattern is realized in Japanese Traditional Verses. My observation consists of four parts: (i) investigation of lexical pitch and accentual combinations of Contemporary haiku in prose and in verse (ii) investigation of lexical pitch and accentual combinations of Basho’s traditional haiku (iii) observation of Nonsense haiku and (iv) pitch range measurements of Contemporary haiku in prose and in verse. As a result, the following characteristics are found: Japanese speakers (i) tend to recite Contemporary haiku that include familiar lexemes with expected pitch patterns, compared with Basho’s Traditional haiku that include more lexemes unfamiliar to the subjects (ii) have two major pitch template choices, which I term “Plateau” and “Default”, when reciting Nonsense verses, and the occurrences of these pitch patterns are supported by Japanese phonological notions such as default-accent, downstep or declining, and (iii) tend to read haiku in verse with a wider pitch range than that in prose. This thesis shows that a generalization of poetic recitation performance among human languages is as valuable as a study of poetic forms from texts. The findings from the observations suggest that diversity among speakers’ recitations of Japanese verses is also phonologically explainable, and sheds light on the studies of prosody and metrical theory in general linguistics.



© Copyright 2011 Shiho Yamamoto