Speech Prosody 2008

Campinas, Brazil
May 6-9, 2008

The Prosody of Negation in Brazilian Portuguese

Meghan Armstrong (1), Anouschka Bergmann (2), Terrin Tamati (1,2)

(1) Department of Spanish and Portuguese; (2) Linguistics Department, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

Sentential negation in spoken Brazilian Portuguese (BP) has three possible structures: containing a negative particle only preverbally (NEG1), pre and post verbally (NEG2) or only post-verbally (NEG3). The choice of structure depends on sociolinguistic and pragmatic factors. This study investigates whether these structures also differ in prosodic patterns. NEG3 is of particular interest: since the negative particle occurs after the verb, a NEG3 sentence is initially segmentally indistinguishable from a similar sentence not containing a negative particle (NoNEG). However, prosodic cues may tell the listener whether a given utterance has a NEG3 or NoNEG structure before the post-verbal region is encountered. A production study elicited NEG1, NEG2, NEG3 and NoNEG utterances and found prosodic differences among the utterance types which may enable listeners to anticipate the presence or absence of a post-verbal negative particle.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Armstrong, Meghan / Bergmann, Anouschka / , Terrin Tamati (2008): "The prosody of negation in brazilian portuguese", In SP-2008, 489-492.