Intonation: Theory, Models, and Applications

Athens, Greece
September 18-20, 1997


Register Shift in Spanish Downstepping Contours

Pilar Prieto i Vives

Universitat de Vic, Facultat de Traduccio i Interpretacio, Vic, Spain

The present study examines the behavior of the lower part of the tonal space (or L points found in between peaks) in Spanish downstepping F0 contours as a function of the following four linguistic factors: 1) F0 height of surrounding peaks; 2) temporal distance from L points to preceding peaks; 3) phrasal length; and 4) phrasal position. In contrast with H values, which are accurately predicted by a constant ratio of downstep from the previous peak ([9]), L values are shown to be affected by a variety of linguistic factors. The best fit to the data is obtained using a multiple regression that takes all contextual factors into consideration (between 55 and 80% of the variance of the data is explained). Thus, while we can view H peaks as highly stable and precise targets, L values are more varied and are probably displaying different degrees of undershoot.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Prieto i Vives, Pilar (1997): "Register shift in Spanish downstepping contours", In INT-1997, 275-278.