Research Paper

Utterance Signaling and Tonal Levels in Dominican Spanish Declaratives and Interrogatives

Abstract

This paper examines the tonal patterns of sentences in Dominican Spanish produced in response to three pragmatic intents: declaratives, absolute interrogatives, and pronominal interrogatives. The results indicate that there are systematic variations between the three utterance types; however, the final tonal rise was not a determining factor. Distinct patterns of tonal levels distinguished each of the three utterance types. The pronominal interrogatives demonstrated a higher initial tonal value and prenuclear High tone, while the absolute interrogatives presented a significantly higher tonal value for the nuclear pitch accent. These findings identify specific intonational behaviors that vary across dialects of Spanish. Finally, the data indicate that pragmatic utterance level intonational marking of Spanish interrogatives is not limited to boundary tones as was previously suggested in the literature.

How to Cite

Willis, E., (2007) “Utterance Signaling and Tonal Levels in Dominican Spanish Declaratives and Interrogatives”, Journal of Portuguese Linguistics 6(1), p.179-202. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/jpl.149

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Erik Willis (Indiana University, Bloomington, 866 Ballantine Hall, 1020 E. Kirkwood, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405)

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