Unintentional impolite intonation in L2 Spanish requests produced by Chinese workers living in Madrid

Cristina Herrero, Empar DevÍs


Intonation is already known to directly affect politeness judgements in L1 Spanish. However, the pragmatic effect of L1 prosodic transfer into L2 Spanish has not been studied in detail yet. This study investigates how L1 Spanish speakers perceive L2 Spanish requests produced by L1 Mandarin speakers and what melodic patterns characterize requests produced with a clearly polite intention by L1 Mandarin speakers but perceived as clearly impolite by L1 Spanish speakers living in Madrid. We conducted a perceptual study with 100 Spanish requests produced by 20 L1 Mandarin speakers living in Spain. After 30 L1 speakers rated the degree of politeness of the stimuli, we conducted the Melodic Analysis of Speech of those requests that had been perceived as clearly impolite. Results showed that the melodic characteristics of the requests perceived as impolite by L1 Spanish speakers lack the melodic features previously described as melodic strategies characterizing mitigating politeness in Spanish.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-173

Cite as: Herrero, C., DevÍs, E. (2020) Unintentional impolite intonation in L2 Spanish requests produced by Chinese workers living in Madrid. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 848-852, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-173.


@inproceedings{Herrero2020,
  author={Cristina Herrero and Empar DevÍs},
  title={{Unintentional impolite intonation in L2 Spanish requests produced by Chinese workers living in Madrid}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={848--852},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-173},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-173}
}