Blackfoot Prosody

Blackfoot Language's Rhythm and Melody

My research concerns investigation of rhythm and melody in the Blackfoot language. A word is in general uttered with a sequence of consonants and vowels with musical touch - rhythm and melody. The rhythms is how a word is consisting of in terms of syllables, and how these syllables will make its unique rhythm. Melody would be characterized by the movement of pitch throughout the word. This field is much needed. However, here are some starting points regarding these aspects of the language. It is my hope that this information improves the field of linguistics and enhances language pedagogy in the communities. 

Additional project on derived verb samples: accented word samples - affixed and inflected

Word Melody

Word melody is a movement of pitch (perceived fundamental frequency) throughout a word. This is analogous to melody in music except it is an inherent part of language characterizing "native-ness." By looking at relatively shorter words, there are some patterns in pitch movement and it is likely to be determined by the location of the "pitch accent".

Blackfoot's prosody is characterized by the pitch movement throughout words. Its shape is determined by the location of the words' prominence (aka pitch accent) and the pitch declination. The initial study of the Blackfoot pitch movement is described in the articles:

  • Miyashita, M and N. Weber. 2020. Blackfoot Pitch Contour: An Instrumental Investigation. Papers of the Forty-Ninth Algonquian Conference. Eds. by M. Macaulay & M. Noodin. pp149-166.
  • Fish, N. and M. Miyashita. 2017. Guiding Pronunciation of Blackfoot Melody. In Honoring Our Teachers. Eds. By J. Reyhner, J. Martin, L. Lockard & W. Sakiestewa Gilbert. Flagstaff, AZ: NAU. pp 203-210.
  • Miyashita, M. 2019. Pitch and Intensity of Lexical Accent in Blackfoot. Papers of the Forty-Eighth Algonquian Conference. Eds. by M. Macaulay & M. Noodin. pp 173-190.

Supporting Organizations



Word Rhythm

Rhythm of Blackfoot words is understudied, partly because several sound elements are unique and still need further investigation in terms of their controbuting factors as rhythmic elements. 

  • Miyashita, M. 2018. Vowel-consonant coalescence in Blackfoot. Papers of the Forty-Seventh Algonquian Conference. Eds. by M. Macaulay & M. Noodin. pp 217-235.