Prosodic marking of information status in spoken digit sequences produced by speakers of Brazilian Portuguese and Dutch

Ayane Santos, Miguel Oliveira Jr, René Santos


Crosslinguistic analyses have shown that focus can be highlighted through syntactic, morphological and prosodic configurations, yet it also appears that languages may differ in the relative use of these features. Germanic languages have been argued to be more flexible in the use of prosodic cues to signal focus than Romance languages, for instance. However, research to support this claim has often been troubled by the fact that samples of languages that were used to compare their prosodic structures were not always comparable in terms of their lexico-syntactic structures (e.g. because of word order differences). The current study analyzed prosodic features of utterances in Brazilian Portuguese and Dutch, with basically identical surface structures, namely digit sequences of the type that also occur in credit card or telephone numbers. Twenty speakers of both Dutch and Brazilian Portuguese read out such sequences, in which target numbers were inserted that could either represent new (firstly mentioned) or given (repeated) information. Acoustic analyses showed that speakers of Dutch more consistently marked focused information than Brazilian speakers, albeit that this depended on the structural position of a number in a sequence.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-158

Cite as: Santos, A., Oliveira Jr, M., Santos, R. (2018) Prosodic marking of information status in spoken digit sequences produced by speakers of Brazilian Portuguese and Dutch. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 779-783, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-158.


@inproceedings{Santos2018,
  author={Ayane Santos and Miguel {Oliveira Jr} and René Santos},
  title={Prosodic marking of information status in spoken digit sequences produced by speakers of Brazilian Portuguese and Dutch},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},
  pages={779--783},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-158},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-158}
}