Intonation of yes-no questions by heritage speakers of Russian

Yulia Zuban, Tamara Rathcke, Sabine Zerbian


Heritage speakers’ grammars are known to differ in systematic ways from the grammars of monolingual speakers. The present study focuses on the properties of the to-date poorly understood variability in intonational phonology of heritage speakers. This paper investigates the intonation patterns of yes-no questions produced by twelve Russian heritage speakers residing in the USA and Germany, and compares them to productions by six monolingual Russian speakers from Saint Petersburg. The results of the study reveal significant differences between the three speaker groups. In contrast to the monolinguals, heritage speakers generally produced more pitch accents on syntactic constituents and showed a strong preference for an upstepped nuclear pitch accent which was infrequent in the monolingual data. Moreover, we observed differences between the two groups of heritage speakers. Similar to the monolinguals, heritage speakers from Germany did not show a clear preference for a high or a low final boundary tone in utterances with Subject-Verb structure while heritage speakers from the US group showed a tendency to produce a low boundary tone. The results are discussed with the reference to the previous findings.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-20

Cite as: Zuban, Y., Rathcke, T., Zerbian, S. (2020) Intonation of yes-no questions by heritage speakers of Russian. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 96-100, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-20.


@inproceedings{Zuban2020,
  author={Yulia Zuban and Tamara Rathcke and Sabine Zerbian},
  title={{Intonation of yes-no questions by heritage speakers of Russian}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={96--100},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-20},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-20}
}