Loquens, Vol 1, No 2 (2014)

Intonation and its interfaces in Sardinian polar questions


María del Mar Vanrell
Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Francesc Ballone
Institut d’Estudis Catalans, Spain

Carlo Schirru
Università degli Studi di Sassari, Italy

Pilar Prieto
ICREA-Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain


In this paper we investigate the interplay between lexicon, syntax, intonation and pragmatics in Sardinian polar questions. To this end, a production study was designed to elicit polar questions with different bias and polarity conditions by means of the Discourse Completion Task Methodology. The resulting data were then prosodically and syntactically annotated using Praat. The results can be summarized as follows. Regarding lexico-syntactic markers, the particle a functions as a mitigator or politeness marker, whereas constituent fronting and negation correspond to positive and negative polarity respectively. In addition, two main intonational patterns can be distinguished: the ¡H+L* L% pattern, which expresses “lack of bias”, and the ¡H*+L L- pattern, which conveys the speaker bias towards the proposition.


Sardinian; polar questions; intonation

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