Intonation and pragmatics of a set of interrogative utterances in a corpus of Spanish child-directed speech

Pilar Prieto, J. Borràs-Comes, V. Crespo-Sendra, J. Thorson, M. M. Vanrell

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3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examines the intonational and pragmatic functions of a set of interrogative utterances in a corpus of Spanish child-directed speech. A total of 347 yes-no questions were prosodically analyzed (243 from the López-Ornat & Mariscal corpus (2005) and 104 from the Ojea & Llinàs-Grau corpus (2004), both available in CHILDES (MacWhinney & Snow, 1985). The results show the presence of five distinct tonal patterns that are related to specific pragmatic functions. Results also confirm the findings of previous studies of other languages that suggest child-directed intonation is characterized by an increase in pitch height and range, and by longer duration (see Fernald etal, 1989). One of the specific features that seems to characterize this speech style is the presence of a mid-level sustained edge tone (v. Armstrong, 2010). Finally, an analysis of the early prosody of the children of these two corpora has shown that the two children produce these five intonation contours for interrogative sentences before the age of two (Prieto et al, 2010).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-255
JournalOralia
Volume14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011

Keywords

  • Acquisition
  • Child-directed speech
  • Intonation
  • Pragmatics
  • Prosody

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