ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2010
ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2010

Intonational encoding of pragmatic meaning in Puerto Rican Spanish interrogatives

Meghan E. Armstrong

Puerto Rican Spanish, a variety that prefers a final rise-fall rather than a fall-rise for yes-no questions has been claimed to have a default contour for information-seeking questions and a special configuration used only for biased negative questions. This study investigates the pragmatic division of labor for the nuclear configurations used for information-seeking questions, confirmation-seeking questions, biased negative questions and incredulity questions. Four contours are presented here: H* L%, (H+)L* HL%, H+L* L% and L+¡H* L%. None of these were favored significantly for the biased negation condition, disfavoring the idea that there is a special contour used for biased negative questions. H+L* L% was the most common contour (52%) for the information-seeking question condition, and was found to be the least preferred for biased contexts. However, H* L% was also commonly found for informationseeking questions (41%). A native speaker judged H* L% and L+¡H* L% as indicating interest and/or surprise while this did not seem to be the case for H+L* L%, indicating a possible relationship between tune choice and level of speaker affectedness in Puerto Rican Spanish. The rather consistent use of (H+)L* HL% for a specific type of surprise, incredulity, also supports this idea.

Cite as: Armstrong, M.E. (2010) Intonational encoding of pragmatic meaning in Puerto Rican Spanish interrogatives. Proc. Speech Prosody 2010, paper 412

  author={Meghan E. Armstrong},
  title={{Intonational encoding of pragmatic meaning in Puerto Rican Spanish interrogatives}},
  booktitle={Proc. Speech Prosody 2010},
  pages={paper 412}