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The Intonational Expression of Incredulity in Absolute Interrogatives in Buenos Aires Spanish
Su Ar Lee, Fernando Martínez-Gil, and Mary E. Beckman
47-56 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


In many dialects of Spanish, pragmatically-neutral yes-no questions have rising boundary pitch movements (BPM), whereas pragmatically-marked "presumptive" questions (which express incredulity) have falling BPM. In Buenos Aires Spanish, the contrast between rising and falling BPM on interrogatives in Buenos Aires Spanish may also have become associated with the socio-indexical marking of age or gender. This study explores how three speakers of the dialect express the difference between pragmatically-neutral and presumptive interrogatives. The speaker who produced the fewest rising BPMs expressed the contrast primarily by pitch range, producing presumptive questions with a wider pitch range overall and an especially expanded range on the nuclear accent peak relative to the information-seeking question. By contrast, the speaker who produced the most rising BPM seemed to express the difference primarily in her choice of boundary pitch movements; whereas most of her pragmatically neutral questions had rising BPM, all of her presumptive questions had falling BPM.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 4th Conference on Laboratory Approaches to Spanish Phonology
edited by Marta Ortega-Llebaria
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Printed edition: $205.00