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Bookmark and Share Paper 2488

Early Intonational Development in Spanish: A Case Study
Pilar Prieto, Jill Thorson, Ana Estrella, and Maria del Mar Vanrell
203-213 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This study investigates the intonational development of a Spanish child from Gijón, Spain, from the one-word period (around 11 months) to 28 months. The main goal of this longitudinal study is to describe the development of different intonation patterns and pragmatic meanings at different stages and to assess whether the first intonation contours produced by the child reflect the language-specific prosodic properties of the input language. The analyses of the data reveal that this Spanish child has an important knowledge of intonational grammar right after the 25-word period and coinciding with the time she starts producing two-word combinations. Specifically, she controls the phonetic production and intonational meaning of four phonologically distinct nuclear configurations by 1;5 (MLU 1.5) and six phonologically distinct configurations by 1;6 (MLU 1.5). Moreover, the study shows that she displays a very early mastery of tune-text alignment of pitch accents and boundary tones, revealing that an important part of the phonetic substance of word stress and intonation is produced appropriately early in development.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 13th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Luis A. Ortiz-López
Table of contents
Printed edition: $280.00