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The Perceptual Relevance of Code Switching and Intonation in Creating Narrow Focus
Daniel Olson and Marta Ortega-Llebaria
57-68 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Narrow focus, defined as utterances that correct, clarify, or emphasize a particular constituent, has been shown to correlate with an increased pitch range and f0 peak alignment within the tonic syllable in Spanish. Code switching, the alternation between different language varieties in a single discourse, has also been claimed to have a narrow focus effect. Given that these claims have been primarily based on observational sociolinguistic data, this study looks to provide empirical evidence that code switching serves to create a narrow focus interpretation. In addition, this study examines the interaction of these two forms of creating narrow focus. In a laboratory-based perception task, early and late Spanish-English bilinguals responded to stimuli, both code-switched and non-code-switched, manipulated along pitch range and peak alignment continua. The results indicate that code switching clearly creates a narrow focus interpretation, but does so most robustly in the absence of other prosodic cues to narrow focus. In addition, while this study supports previous production research on narrow focus intonation in Spanish by showing the perceptual importance of both pitch range and peak alignment, it concludes that the salience of the peak alignment cue is dependent upon a sufficient pitch range.

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