Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

The role of intonational cues in the perception of declaratives and absolute interrogatives in Castilian Spanish

Timothy L. Face


This study investigates the impact on speech perception of the four primary differences that have been observed in the intonation patterns of declaratives and absolute interrogatives in Castilian Spanish. By means of a gating experiment, stimuli of partial or complete utterances in which the F0 pattern was manipulated to contain all possible combinations of cues to sentence type were presented to listeners. For the partial utterances, listeners responded following each gate as to whether they perceived a declarative or an interrogative utterance. For complete utterances, listeners likewise responded following each gate as to the type of sentence perceived, but also rated the naturalness of the utterance. Results show that listeners achieve a high degree of accuracy in perceiving sentence type from the first intonational difference presented, that all cues to sentence type affect perception to at least some degree, that the medial F0 pattern is the strongest nonfinal intonational cue to sentence type, and that in spite of the strength of perception based on earlier cues, the final F0 movement has the strongest effect on perception, overriding all previous cues.

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