Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …


International Journal of Romance Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Wetzels, W. Leo

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.435
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.830

CiteScore 2018: 0.85

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.255
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.668

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 27, Issue 1


The acquisition of melodic form and meaning in yes-no interrogatives by Catalan and Spanish speaking children

Jill Thorson / Joan Borras-Comes / Verònica Crespo-Sendra / Maria del Mar Vanrell / Pilar Prieto
Published Online: 2014-04-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/probus-2013-0019


This study investigates the link between interrogative intonation and meaning in child-directed speech (henceforth CDS) and how this is reflected in the early development of yes-no-interrogatives of Catalan- and Spanish-speaking children. Previous research found that children before the two-word period produce several types of interrogatives and that their productions generally reflect the adult inventory pattern (Lleó & Rakow 2011; Prieto et al. 2012). Yet prior studies have not included an analysis of the pragmatic meanings that are encoded intonationally. This investigation takes an integrated approach to the study of intonational development within the domain of yes-no questions, exploring further the correspondence between intonational form and meaning in early interrogative production and relating it to the pragmatics of interrogative intonation in child-directed speech. A set of 723 interrogative utterances produced by 3 Catalan- and 2 Spanish-acquiring children between the onset of interrogative production and 2;4 were pragmatically and then prosodically analyzed, as well as a set of 867 utterances from Catalan and Spanish CDS. The data were extracted from the Serra-Solé Catalan Corpus and the Ojea and López-Ornat Spanish Corpora in CHILDES. Production results show that all children perform some instance of questioning before the two-word period and that their productions generally reflect the adult inventory patterns. Moreover, the results show a preference relationship between the different types of nuclear pitch configurations and the pragmatic meanings that underlie the yes-no-interrogative forms. Finally, these results highlight the importance of the assessment of form-meaning relationships for the understanding of intonational development.

Keywords: pragmatics; intonation; intonational development; L1 acquisition

About the article

Published Online: 2014-04-01

Published in Print: 2015-05-01

Citation Information: Probus, Volume 27, Issue 1, Pages 73–99, ISSN (Online) 1613-4079, ISSN (Print) 0921-4771, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/probus-2013-0019.

Export Citation

©2015 by De Gruyter Mouton.Get Permission

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Journal of Child Language, 2016, Volume 43, Number 4, Page 890
Nicole Dehé
Journal of Germanic Linguistics, 2018, Volume 30, Number 3, Page 213

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in