15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003


Effects of Constituent Length and Syntactic Branching on Intonational Phrasing in Ibero-Romance

Gorka Elordieta (1), Sonia Frota (2), Pilar Prieto (3), Marina Vigario (4)

(1) Universidad del País Vasco, Spain
(2) Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
(3) Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
(4) Universidade do Minho, Portugal

This study investigates the influence of syntactic branching and constituent length on prosodic boundary placement in three Iberian languages: Catalan, European Portuguese, and Spanish. The most common phrasing in Catalan is (S)(VO). However, in cases of long branching objects or double-branching objects with non-branching subjects, (SV)(O) phrasings are frequent, due to a tendency to balance the weight and length of the prosodic constituents. Spanish utterances are mainly grouped as (S)(VO), regardless of constituent length or syntactic complexity. In Portuguese, (SVO) is the usual phrasing. Only a long branching subject strongly favors the phrasing (S)(VO), not a short branching subject or a short or long branching object. In the three languages, length rather than syntactic complexity plays a role in boundary placement.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Elordieta, Gorka / Frota, Sonia / Prieto, Pilar / Vigario, Marina (2003): "Effects of constituent length and syntactic branching on intonational phrasing in Ibero-Romance", In ICPhS-15, 487-490.