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LINGUIST List 17.2577

Tue Sep 12 2006

Diss: Phonology/Socioling: Alvord: 'Spanish Intonation in Contact: ...'

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        1.    Scott Alvord, Spanish Intonation in Contact: The case of Miami Cuban bilinguals

Message 1: Spanish Intonation in Contact: The case of Miami Cuban bilinguals
Date: 12-Sep-2006
From: Scott Alvord <salvordbyu.edu>
Subject: Spanish Intonation in Contact: The case of Miami Cuban bilinguals

Institution: University of Minnesota
Program: Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Scott Mark Alvord

Dissertation Title: Spanish Intonation in Contact: The case of Miami Cuban bilinguals

Linguistic Field(s): Phonology

Subject Language(s): Spanish (spa)

Dissertation Director:
Timothy L. Face
Carol A. Klee

Dissertation Abstract:

The current dissertation provides a preliminary description of the
intonation of two utterance types in Miami Cuban Spanish: broad focus
declaratives and absolute interrogatives. An experimental phonology
approach was taken to collect linguistic data in Miami, Florida. The data
was collected and analyzed with the purpose of answering the following
three research questions:

1. What are the characteristics of broad focus declarative intonation in
Miami Spanish?

2. How do Miami Cubans differentiate between absolute (yes/no)
interrogatives and lexically and syntactically identical declarative

3. Is the intonation system changing through subsequent generations of
Miami Cubans? What are the social and linguistic factors motivating the use
of the observed intonation patterns?

Miami Cuban intonation for a declarative utterance with two content words
was analyzed as L*+H L+H* L-L%. It was revealed that there is a high rate
of deaccenting in Miami Cuban declarative utterances. Absolute
interrogatives were produced with two distinct intonation patterns, the
first with a rising final F0 contour, L*+H L* H-H%, and the second with a
falling final contour, L*+H L+H* L-L%.

Miami Cuban interrogatives are differentiated from lexically and
syntactically identical declaratives through the use of a rising final
contour in the case of rising interrogative pattern and through the use of
a higher F0 for both the rising and falling interrogative patterns.

A sociolinguistic study was performed using a variable rule analysis in
order to answer research question #3. The dependent variable examined was
the final F0 contour for the absolute interrogatives: rising or falling. It
was discovered that immigrant generation is a significant factor in the
variation and that there is an intonational change occurring in subsequent
generations. This variation, however, does not necessarily constitute a
change in progress. The first generation favors the use of the Cuban-style
falling intonation pattern while the second generation strongly favors the
rising pattern for absolute interrogatives. The third generation, however,
strongly favors the Cuban style interrogative. It was also determined that
the social networks of individual speakers are a significant factor
influencing the absolute interrogative intonation pattern used.

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