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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2019

7. Two constructions, one syntactic form: Perceptual prosodic differences between elliptical and independent <si + V indicative> clauses in Spanish

From the book Insubordination
Wendy Elvira-García


This work examines Spanish speakers’ preferences to interpret a grammatical construction as elliptical or insubordinate depending on its prosody. Spanish <si + indicative> clause can be either an elliptical clause or an insubordinate clause expressing refutation and earlier work has claimed that they differ in intonation (Montolío 1999a; Gras 2011; Schwenter 1998; Schwenter 2015). Specifically, refutative insubordinate constructions show falling final intonation contours (L+H*L%) whereas elliptical clauses show rising (non-final) contours (H* H%) (Elvira-García, Roseano and Fernández-Planas 2017). This study uses two perceptual forced-choice discrimination tests in order to show that listeners chose continuation rise contours for elliptical contexts (86.9%) and rising falling contours for insubordinate contexts L+H*L% (93.2%). The distribution is significant χ2 (1, n=1600, 35,519,p<.01) when exposed to natural stimuli. A second experiment conducted with manipulated stimuli confirms that intonation (not speech rate or intensity) intonation is the main cue to categorize constructions that are segmentally identical as elliptical or insubordinate χ2 (1, N= 1600, 70.866, p<.01).

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