Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton August 31, 2016

Stressed postverbal pronominals in Catalan

  • Marianna Nadeu EMAIL logo , Miquel Simonet and Miquel Llompart
From the journal Probus


Majorcan Catalan postverbal pronominal elements are typically described as being prominent due to stress shift from their host. This study sheds light on the prosodic phonology of these pronouns through the analysis of duration, vowel quality, and f0 in verb+pronominal sequences, which are compared to a baseline condition without pronominals and to the same sequences in a Catalan variety without stress shift. Our results show acoustic differences in the realization of pronominals in these varieties. The duration and vowel quality patterns are consistent with the stress shift account of postverbal pronominals in Majorcan Catalan. Analysis of f0 contours also reveals phonological differences across varieties. Whereas stressed postverbal pronominals are not rare in Romance, Majorcan Catalan is one of a much reduced number of varieties within the Romance domain, where the attachment of a pronominal element to a host triggers “true” stress shift rather than an additional prominence on the pronominal element, like Sardinian or Neapolitan.


We would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and the editor for constructive criticism that has helped improve the quality of the manuscript. In addition, we are grateful to Joaquín Romero for facilitating our data collection at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Speech Analysis Unit).


Aguilar, Lourdes, Carme de-la-Mota & Pilar Prieto (coords.) 2009–2011. Guia multimèdia de la prosòdia del català [Multimedia guide to Catalan prosody]. in Google Scholar

Alcover, Antoni M. 1916–1917. Estudis de sintaxis dialectal catalana [Studies of Catalan dialectal syntax]. Bolletí del diccionari de la llengua catalana [Bulletin of the Catalan language dictionary] IX. 11–37 & 49–63.Search in Google Scholar

Arvaniti, Amalia, D. Robert Ladd & Ineke Mennen. 2000. What is a starred tone? Evidence from Greek. In Michael B. Broe & Janet B. Pierrehumbert (eds.), Papers in laboratory phonology V: Acquisition and the lexicon, 119–131. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Astruc, Lluïsa. 2003. Sentence external elements in Catalan. Catalan Journal of Linguistics 2(1). 15–31.10.5565/rev/catjl.41Search in Google Scholar

Astruc-Aguilera, Lluïsa & Francis Nolan. 2007. Variation in the intonation of extrasentential elements. In Pilar Prieto, Joan Mascaró & Maria Josep Solé (eds.), Segmental and prosodic issues in romance phonology, 85–107. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.10.1075/cilt.282.08astSearch in Google Scholar

Astruc, Lluïsa & Pilar Prieto. 2006. Acoustic cues of stress and accent in Catalan. In Rüdiger Hoffmann & Hansjörg Mixdorff (eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2006, 341–344. Dresden: TUDpress Verlag der Wissenschaften GmbH.Search in Google Scholar

Barnes, Jonathan. 2006. Strength and weakness at the interface: Positional neutralization in phonetics and phonology. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.Search in Google Scholar

Baumann, Stefan, Johannes Becker, Martine Grice & Doris Mücke. 2007. Tonal and articulatory marking of focus in German. In Jürgen Trouvain & William J. Barry (eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 1029–1032. Saarbrücken: Pirrot GmbH.Search in Google Scholar

Birdsong, David, Libby M. Gertken & Mark Amengual. 2012. Bilingual Language Profile: An Easy-to-Use Instrument to Assess Bilingualism. COERLL, University of Texas at Austin. in Google Scholar

Boersma, Paul & David Weenink. 2015. Praat: doing phonetics by computer [Computer program]. Version 5.4.08, retrieved 24 March 2015 from in Google Scholar

Bolinger, Dwight. 1958. A theory of pitch accent in English. Word 14. 109–149.10.1080/00437956.1958.11659660Search in Google Scholar

Bonet, Eulàlia & Francesc Torres-Tamarit. 2011. Les formes d’imperatiu seguides de clític: un cas de conservadorisme lèxic [Imperative forms followed by clitics: a case of lexical conservatism]. In Maria-Rosa Lloret & Clàudia Pons-Moll (eds.), Noves aproximacions a la fonologia i la morfologia del català [New approaches to Catalan phonology and morphology], 37–61. Alacant: Institut Interuniversitari de Filologia Valenciana (Col · lecció Symposia Philologica).Search in Google Scholar

Bonet, Eulàlia & Francesc Torres-Tamarit. 2010. Allomorphy in pre-clitic imperatives in Formenteran Catalan: An output-based analysis. In Sonia Colina, Antxon Olarrea & Ana Maria Carvalho (eds.), Romance Linguistics 2009, 337–352. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.10.1075/cilt.315.20bonSearch in Google Scholar

Byrd, Dani, Jelena Krivokapić & Sungbok Lee. 2006. How far, how long: On the temporal scope of prosodic boundary effects. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 120. 1589–1599.10.1121/1.2217135Search in Google Scholar

Calamai, Silvia. 2001. Il vocalismo atono della varietà pisana. Prime evidenze sperimentali. Quaderni del Laboratorio di Linguistica 2. 64–82.Search in Google Scholar

Cardinaletti, Anna & Michal Starke. 1999. The typology of structural deficiency: A case study of the three classes of pronouns. In Henk van Riemsdijk (ed.), Clitics in the languages of Europe, 145–233. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.10.1515/9783110804010.145Search in Google Scholar

Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina & Ana M. Fernández-Planas. 2005. Vocals mitjanes tòniques del català. Estudi contrastiu interdialectal [Stressed mid vowels in Catalan. Interdialectal contrastive study]. Barcelona: Horsori.Search in Google Scholar

Cho, Taehong & Patricia Keating. 2009. Effects of initial position versus prominence in English. Journal of Phonetics 37(4). 466–485.10.1016/j.wocn.2009.08.001Search in Google Scholar

Cole, Jennifer. 2015. Prosody in context: A review. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience 30(1–2). 1–31.10.1080/23273798.2014.963130Search in Google Scholar

Colomina i Castanyer, Jordi. 2002. Paradigmes flectius de les altres classes nominals [Inflectional paradigms of other noun classes]. In Joan Solà, Maria-Rosa Lloret, Joan Mascaró & Manuel Pérez Saldanya (eds.), Gramàtica del català contemporani [Contemporary Catalan grammar], 535–582. Barcelona: Empúries.Search in Google Scholar

Crosswhite, Katherine M. 2001. Vowel reduction in optimality theory. London & New York: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

de Jong, Kenneth. 2004. Stress, lexical focus, and segmental focus in English: Patterns of variation in vowel duration. Journal of Phonetics 32. 493–516.10.1016/j.wocn.2004.05.002Search in Google Scholar

de Jong, Kenneth J. 1995. The supraglottal articulation of prominence in English: Linguistic stress as localized hyperarticulation. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 97(1). 491–504.10.1121/1.412275Search in Google Scholar

Fougeron, Cécile. 1999. Prosodically conditioned articulatory variations: A review. UCLA Working Papers in Phonetics 97. 1–74.Search in Google Scholar

Gulsoy, Joseph. 1993. Estudis de gramàtica històrica [Historical grammar studies]. Barcelona: Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat.Search in Google Scholar

Halpern, Aaron L. 1998. Clitics. In Andrew Spencer & Arnold M. Zwicky (eds.), The handbook of morphology, 101–122. Oxford: Blackwell.10.1002/9781405166348.ch5Search in Google Scholar

Herrick, Dylan. 2005. Catalan vowel reduction and dispersion theory. Phonological Studies 8. 131–138.Search in Google Scholar

Herrick, Dylan. 2003. An acoustic analysis of phonological vowel reduction in six varieties of Catalan. Santa Cruz: University of California dissertation.Search in Google Scholar

Hualde, José I. 1992. Catalan. London & New York: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Hualde, José I. & Marianna Nadeu. 2014. Rhetorical stress in Spanish. In Harry van der Hulst (ed.), Word stress. Theoretical and typological issues, 228–252. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9781139600408.010Search in Google Scholar

Hualde, José I., Marianna Nadeu & Miquel Simonet. 2010. Lenition and phonemic contrast in Majorcan Catalan. In Sonia Colina, Antxon Olarrea & Ana Maria Carvalho (eds.), Romance Linguistics 2009, 63–79. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.10.1075/cilt.315.04huaSearch in Google Scholar

Institut d’Estadística de Catalunya. 2015. Enquesta d’usos lingüístics de la població. 2013 [Survey of the population’s language uses. 2013.]. Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya. in Google Scholar

Institut d’Estadística de les Illes Balears. 2010. Enquesta modular d’hàbits socials 2010. «Usos lingüístics» [Modular survey of social habits 2010. «Language uses»]. in Google Scholar

Keating, Patricia A. 2006. Phonetic encoding of prosodic structure. In Jonathan Harrington & Marija Tabain (eds.), Speech production. Models, phonetic processes, and techniques, 167–186. New York: Psychology Press.Search in Google Scholar

Kenstowicz, Michael. 1991. Enclitic accent: Latin, Macedonian, Italian, Polish. In Pier Marco Bertinetto, Michael Kenstowicz & Michele Loporcaro (eds.), Certamen Phonologicum II. Papers from the 1990 Cortona Phonology Meeting, 173–185. Torino: Rosenberg & Sellier.Search in Google Scholar

Kim, Miran & Lori Repetti. 2013. Bitonal pitch accent and phonological alignment in Sardinian. Probus 25. 267–300.10.1515/probus-2013-0013Search in Google Scholar

Krivokapić, Jelena. 2014. Gestural coordination at prosodic boundaries and its role for prosodic structure and speech planning processes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 369. 20130397.10.1098/rstb.2013.0397Search in Google Scholar

Ladd, D. Robert. 2008. Intonational phonology, 2nd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511808814Search in Google Scholar

Lawrence, Michael A. 2013. ez: Easy analysis and visualization of factorial experiments. R package version 4.2-2. in Google Scholar

Lindblom, Björn, Augustine Agwuele, Harvey M. Sussman & Elisabet Eir Cortes. 2007. The effect of emphatic stress on consonant vowel coarticulation. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 121(6). 3802–3813.10.1121/1.2730622Search in Google Scholar

Loporcaro, Michele. 2000. Stress stability under cliticization and the prosodic status of Romance clitics. In Lori Repetti (ed.), Phonological theory and the dialects of Italy, 137–168. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.10.1075/cilt.212.09lopSearch in Google Scholar

Mascaró, Joan. 2002. El sistema vocàlic. Reducció vocàlica [The vowel system. Vowel reduction]. In Joan Solà, Maria-Rosa Lloret, Joan Mascaró & Manuel Pérez Saldanya (eds.), Gramàtica del català contemporani [Contemporary Catalan grammar], 89–123. Barcelona: Empúries.Search in Google Scholar

Monachesi, Paola. 1996. On the representation of Italian clitics. In Ursula Kleinhenz (ed.), Interfaces in phonology, 83–10. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.Search in Google Scholar

Nadeu, Marianna. 2016. Phonetic and phonological vowel reduction in Central Catalan. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 46(1). 33–60.10.1017/S002510031500016XSearch in Google Scholar

Nadeu, Marianna. 2014. Stress- and speech rate-induced vowel quality variation in Catalan and Spanish. Journal of Phonetics 46. 1–22.10.1016/j.wocn.2014.05.003Search in Google Scholar

Nadeu, Marianna & José I. Hualde. 2012. Acoustic correlates of emphatic stress in Central Catalan. Language and Speech 55. 517–542.10.1177/0023830911434125Search in Google Scholar

Oliva, Salvador. 1992. La mètrica i el ritme de la prosa [Metrics and the rhythm of prose]. Barcelona: Quaderns Crema.Search in Google Scholar

Oller, D. Kimbrough. 1973. The effect of position in utterance on speech segment duration in English. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 54. 1235–1247.10.1121/1.1914393Search in Google Scholar

Ordóñez, Francisco & Lori Repetti. 2006. Stressed enclitics? In Jean-Pierre Y. Montreuil (ed.), New perspectives on Romance linguistics. Volume II: Phonetics, phonology and dialectology, 167–181. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.10.1075/cilt.276.13ordSearch in Google Scholar

Ortega-Llebaria, Marta & Pilar Prieto. 2010. Acoustic correlates of stress in Central Catalan and Castilian Spanish. Language and Speech 54(1). 73–97.10.1177/0023830910388014Search in Google Scholar

Ortega-Llebaria, Marta, Maria del Mar Vanrell & Pilar Prieto. 2010. Catalan speakers’ perception of word stress in unaccented contexts. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 127(1). 462–471.10.1121/1.3268506Search in Google Scholar

Peperkamp, Sharon. 1997. Prosodic words. The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics.Search in Google Scholar

Peperkamp, Sharon. 1995. Enclitic stress in Romance. In Audra Dainora, Rachel Hemphill, Barbara Luka, Barbara Need & Sheri Pargman (eds.), Papers from the 31st Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. Volume 2: The parasession on clitics, 234–249. Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society.Search in Google Scholar

Perea, Maria Pilar. 2012. Les combinacions de clítics pronominals en els dialectes catalans [Pronominal clitic combinations in the Catalan dialects]. Estudis Romànics [Romance studies] 34. 99–143.Search in Google Scholar

Pierrehumbert, Janet B. 1980. The phonology and phonetics of English intonation. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology dissertation.Search in Google Scholar

Prieto, Pilar. 2014. The intonational phonology of Catalan. In Sun-Ah Jun (ed.), Prosodic typology 2. The phonology of intonation and phrasing, 43–80. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199567300.003.0003Search in Google Scholar

Prieto, Pilar. 2002. Entonació. Models, teoria, mètodes [Intonation. Models, theory, methods]. Barcelona: Ariel.Search in Google Scholar

Prieto, Pilar, Joan Borràs-Comes, Teresa Cabré, Verònica Crespo-Sendra, Ignasi Mascaró, Paolo Roseano, Rafèu Sichel-Bazin & Maria del Mar Vanrell. 2015. Intonational phonology of Catalan and its dialectal varieties. In Sónia Frota & Pilar Prieto (eds.), Intonational variation in Romance, 9–62. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199685332.003.0002Search in Google Scholar

Prieto, Pilar, Salvador Oliva, Blanca Palmada, Pep Serra, Beatriz Blecua, Sílvia Llach & Victòria Oliva. 2001. Anàlisi acústica de la resolució de xocs accentuals en català [Acoustic analysis of stress clash resolution in Catalan]. Estudios de Fonética Experimental XI. 11–40.Search in Google Scholar

Puigròs i Caldentey, Maria Antònia. 2001. Anàlisi del sistema vocàlic balear [Analysis of the Balearic vowel system]. Llengua & Literatura [Language & Literature] 12. 105–125.Search in Google Scholar

R Core Team. 2013. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. in Google Scholar

Recasens, Daniel. 1993. Fonètica i fonologia [Phonetics and phonology]. Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana.Search in Google Scholar

Recasens, Daniel & Aina Espinosa. 2006. Dispersion and variability of Catalan vowels. Speech Communication 48. 645–666.10.1016/j.specom.2005.09.011Search in Google Scholar

Romanello, Emily. 2012. L’imperativo vero e suppletivo nei dialetti italiani. Stony Brook: Stony Brook University MA thesis.Search in Google Scholar

Sauzet, Patrick. 1986. Les clitiques occitans: analyse métrique de leur variation dialectale. In Actes du XVIIème CILPhR, vol. 4: Morphosyntaxe des langues romanes, 153–180. Marseille: Université de Provence – Jean Laffitte.Search in Google Scholar

Simonet, Miquel. 2009. Nuclear pitch accents in Majorcan Catalan declaratives: Phonetics, phonology, diachrony. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 2. 77–115.10.1515/shll-2009-1036Search in Google Scholar

Sluijter, Agaath M. C. & Vincent J. van Heuven. 1996a. Acoustic correlates of linguistic stress and accent in Dutch and American English. In H. Timothy Bunnell & William Idsardi (eds.), Proceedings of the fourth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing, 630–633. New Castle: Citation Delaware.Search in Google Scholar

Sluijter, Agaath M. C. & Vincent J. van Heuven. 1996b. Spectral balance as an acoustic correlate of linguistic stress. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 100(4). 2471–2485.10.1121/1.417955Search in Google Scholar

Stevens, S., J. Volkman, & E. Newman. 1937. A scale for the measurement of the psychological magnitude pitch. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 8. 185–190.10.1121/1.1915893Search in Google Scholar

Turk, Alice E. & Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel. 2007. Multiple targets of phrase-final lengthening in American English words. Journal of Phonetics 35. 445–472.10.1016/j.wocn.2006.12.001Search in Google Scholar

Turk, Alice, Satsuki Nakai & Mariko Sugahara. 2006. Acoustic segment durations in prosodic research: A practical guide. In Stefan Sudhoff, Denisa Lenertova, Roland Meyer, Sandra Pappert, Petra Augurzky, Ina Mleinek, Nicole Richter & Johannes Schließer (eds.), Methods in empirical prosody research, 1–27. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Search in Google Scholar

Vanrell, Maria del Mar, Francesc Ballone, Carlo Schirru & Pilar Prieto. 2015. Sardinian intonational phonology: Logudorese and Campidanese varieties. In Sónia Frota & Pilar Prieto (eds.), Intonational variation in Romance, 317–349. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199685332.003.0009Search in Google Scholar

Veny, Joan. 1984. Els parlars catalans: Síntesi de dialectologia [The Catalan varieties: Synthesis of dialectology], 5th edn. Palma de Mallorca: Editorial Moll.Search in Google Scholar

Vogel, Irene. 2009. Universals of prosodic structure. In Sergio Scalise, Elisabetta Magni & Antonietta Bisetto (eds.), Universals of language today, 59–82. New York: Springer.10.1007/978-1-4020-8825-4_4Search in Google Scholar

Wheeler, Max W. 1988. Catalan. In Martin Harris & Nigel Vincent (eds.), The Romance languages, 170–208. New York: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Wightman, Colin W., Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, Mari Ostendorf & Patti J. Price. 1992. Segmental durations in the vicinity of prosodic phrase boundaries. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 91. 1707–1717.10.1121/1.402450Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2016-8-31
Published in Print: 2017-5-1

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Downloaded on 26.2.2024 from
Scroll to top button