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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton May 16, 2013

Prosodic accommodation in language contact: Spanish intonation in Majorca

Magdalena Romera and Gorka Elordieta


In this article we study a language contact situation in Majorca, Spain, in which adult monolingual speakers of Spanish who arrived recently in Majorca acquire aspects of Majorcan Catalan prosody. Although the possibility that the adoption of features can take place directly from Catalan is not rejected, we provide evidence that it can be an indirect process, through a process of accommodation (Trudgill 1986; Giles and Coupland 1991) to the L2 variety of Spanish spoken by L1 Majorcan Catalan speakers. An experiment was set up in which we recorded four native Spanish speakers who arrived recently in Majorca holding a semi-directed conversation in Spanish with a native speaker of Majorcan Catalan. The results showed consistent adoption of prosodic features of L2 Majorcan Spanish in interrogative sentences (not in declaratives). The results support the idea that the adoption of prosodic features of Majorcan Catalan by monolingual Spanish speakers can take place in early stages of contact. Our article also shows that subjective factors such as determination towards integration play a fundamental role in determining the degree of accommodation. Finally, salience of prosodic features is claimed to play a role in the selection of transferred features.

Published Online: 2013-05-16
Published in Print: 2013-05-22

©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston