Peak alignment of pre-nuclear
and nuclear accents in Argentine
Spanish
Laura Colantoni
University of Toronto
Outline

Argentine Spanish intonation
– Controlled speech
Buenos Aires Spanish: database for speech
synthesis
 Catamarca, Mendoza, Misiones, Salta and
Tucuman Spanish: database for speech
recognition

– Semi-spontaneous speech

Corrientes and San Juan Spanish: Linguistic
atlas of Argentina
Buenos Aires Spanish

Broad focus declaratives (Colantoni &
Grulekian 2004; cf. also Sosa 1999,
Toledo 2000)
– Pre-nuclear accents
Peak aligned within the stressed syllable
 Valley aligned within the post-tonic syllable

– Nuclear accents

L* (?); valley aligned within the stressed
syllable
Pre-nuclear accents
Position in
Peak aligned within the stressed syllable
the
H*+L
L+H*
Valley aligned within the stressed syllable
H*+H
L*+L
L*+H
Total
H+L*
utterance
N
%
N
%
N
%
N
%
N
%
N
%
First
419
91.68
9
1.97
14
3.06
11
2.41
0
0
4
0.88
457
Second
143
91.67
2
1.28
2
1.28
4
2.56
2
1.28
3
1.92
156
Third
26
74.29
1
2.86
5
14.29
1
2.86
2
5.71
0
0
35
Total
588
90.74
12
1.85
21
3.24
16
2.47
4
0.62
7
1.08
648
Table 1: Alignment patterns for pre-nuclear accents according to their relative
position in the utterance
Pre-nuclear accents
Figure 1: Early peak alignment in aplaZO ‘she/he postponed’, extracted from the
sentence La justicia aplazó el referendum en el ayuntamiento ‘The court postponed the
referendum in the city hall’
Nuclear accents
Number of
pitch accents
H*+L
L*+L
Other
Total
N
%
N
%
N
%
1
56
42.75
55
41.98
8
6.11
131
2
155
32.70
303
63.92
2
0.42
474
3
129
36.65
203
57.67
2
0.57
352
4
22
22.68
72
74.23
0
0.00
97
5
9
29.03
20
64.52
2
6.45
31
Total
371
34.19
653
60.18
14
1.29
1085
preceding
Table 2: Alignment patterns in nuclear accents in utterance final intonational contours
Nuclear accents
Figure 2: Final intonation contour extracted from the sentence Cuando sopla viento norte,
cambian su comportamiento “When there is a northern wind, (people) change their behavior”
Problems

Pre-nuclear accents
– Early peak alignment: Not frequent but found in
other varieties (e.g. Peruvian Spanish; cf.
O’Rourke 2004)


H* vs. L+H*
Nuclear accents
– L* described for other varieties
– Probable difference in the magnitude of
downstep


Phonetic or phonological difference?
NB: only BA Spanish; reading style
Other Argentine Spanish
varieties


On-going project (Colantoni, Enbe, and Pérez
Ibáñez)
Data source
– Database for recognition
– 1000 speakers
– Task: sentence-reading

Varieties selected
–
–
–
–
–
Catamarca
Mendoza
Misiones
Salta
Tucuman
Pre-nuclear accents
7
H*
H*+H1
5
H*+L0
L0+H*
4
H*+L1
3
H*+L2
H*+L3
2
H0+L*
L*
1
lta
2
Sa
lta
1
cu
Tu
do
M
en
Sa
m
an
2
za
1
do
M
en
io
n
M
is
za
2
es
1
es
io
n
M
is
at
a
m
ar
ca
0
C
Frequenc
6
Variety
Figure 3: Pre-nuclear accents (alignment patterns) in the five
varieties under study
Pre-nuclear accents

General tendency:
– Peak aligned within stressed syllable
– Higher degree of variation (when
compared to BA Spanish) in varieties
under study

Cross-dialectal variation:
– Increasing frequency of low tones aligned
within the stressed syllable, especially in
Catamarca, Mendoza and Tucuman
Nuclear accents
8
7
H*
H*+L0
5
H*+L1
4
L*
H0+L*
3
L0+L*
2
L*+L0
1
lta
2
Sa
lta
1
cu
Tu
Sa
m
an
2
M
is
io
n
es
io
n
M
is
do
M
en
es
1
2
za
1
za
do
M
en
at
a
m
ar
ca
0
C
Frequenc
6
Variety
Figure 4: Nuclear accents (alignment patterns) in the five
varieties under study
Nuclear accents

Mendoza, Misiones, (Tucuman)
– Tendency: peak aligned within the
stressed syllable

Salta and Catamarca
– Tendency: low tone aligned within the
stressed syllable
Problems


Differences in the alignment of pre-nuclear
accents
Differences in the alignment of nuclear
accents
– Cross-dialectal variation
– Phonetic vs. phonological differences

NB:
– Reading task
– Instructions (?)
Semi-spontaneous speech

Data:
– Linguistic atlas of Argentina
– Female speakers:
Corrientes (4)
 San Juan (2)

– Narratives (only statements were
analyzed)
Theoretical questions



Differences between formal and
spontaneous speech
Cross-dialectal differences and the AM
model
Status of the differences observed (i.e.
phonological vs. phonetic)

Alignment and phonological categories
Pre-nuclear accents
Corrientes

Late peak alignment
– Consistent with previous descriptions of
other Spanish varieties
– Similarities with Misiones Spanish
(Colantoni et al.)


Late peak alignment: second most frequent
pattern
Early peak alignment
– Emphasis and/or contrastive focus
Pre-nuclear accents: late
peak alignment
Figure 5: Late peak alignment in miRANdo, ‘looking’, Beron de
Astrada (Corrientes)
Pre-nuclear accents: early
peak alignment
Figure 6: Early peak alignment in reIa, ‘to laugh (3ps), San Cosme
(Corrientes)
San Juan

Late peak alignment
– Again, pattern observed in other Spanish
varieties
– Similarities with Mendoza Spanish
(Colantoni et al.)

Late peak alignment: most frequent pattern
for one of the speakers in the study
Pre-nuclear accents: late
peak alignment
Figure 7: Late peak alignment in roBAba, ‘to steal’ (3ps, IMP), Villa Krause (San Juan)
Nuclear accents
Corrientes and San Juan
Spanish

Corrientes, San Juan vs. Buenos Aires
Spanish
– Higher frequency of peaks aligned within the
stressed syllable

San Juan vs. Corrientes
– Peaks aligned within the stressed syllable more
frequently in San Juan than in Corrientes;
– Consistent with our previous analysis of
Mendoza and Misiones Spanish
Nuclear accents in San
Juan Spanish
Figure 8: Early peak alignment in pioLIN, ‘thread’, Valle Fertil (San Juan)
Nuclear accents in
Corrientes Spanish
Figure 9: Early peak alignment in BAIlan, ‘to dance’ (3pp, present), B. de Astrada
(Corrientes)
Concluding remarks

Controlled vs. spontaneous speech
– Preliminary data seem to indicate that
tendencies observed in controlled speech are
also valid for semi-spontaneous speech
– Problems in the analysis of spontaneous speech



Sample size
Control of contextual factors
Transcription
Concluding remarks

Cross-dialectal studies of intonation
– Capturing the differences with the AM
model
General tendencies
 Is it enough?

– Refining the labeling method
– Adding duration and intensity analyses
References




Colantoni, Laura & Gurlekian, Jorge. 2004. Convergence and
intonation: historical evidence from Buenos Aires Spanish.
Bilingualism: language and cognition, 7, 107-119.
O'Rourke, Erin. 2004. Peak alignment in Peru: Spanish in
contact with Quechua. In: Contemporary approaches to
Romance lingusitics. Ed. by J. Auger, J. Clancy Clements and
B. Vance, Bloomington, Indiana.
Sosa, Juan Manuel. 1999. La entonación del español: su
estructura fónica, variabilidad y dialectología. Madrid: Cátedra.
Toledo, Guillermo. 2000. H en el español de Buenos Aires.
Langues et Linguistique, 26, 107-27.
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Pre-nuclear accents