Loquens, Vol 5, No 1 (2018)

Phrasing and nuclear configurations in authentic English-accented Spanish


Eva Estebas-Vilaplana
Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Spain
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7866-0381

Beatriz Blecua
Universitat de Girona, Spain
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1619-0841


This paper examines the differences in the division of intonation phrases and in the tonal structure of the nuclear configuration (i.e., the last pitch accent and the following boundary tone) in imitated and in authentic English-accented Spanish. The same Spanish text was read by four native speakers of American English, who produced the text with a real English foreign accent in Spanish, and six native speakers of Spanish, who read the text twice: in L1 Spanish and in fake English-accented Spanish. An auditory analysis of the data was carried out along with an inspection of the f0 traces aligned with the spectrographic representation and the segmental string. The results showed that the Spanish speakers produce more intonation breaks when they imitate an English accent in Spanish than when they speak L1 Spanish. Furthermore, they adopt the typical tonal structure of Spanish final accents in their fake English-accented productions. The number of prosodic breaks in real and in imitated English-accented Spanish is similar. The nuclear configurations, on the other hand, present more variability and differ in the frequency of occurrence of some patterns. The high occurrence of the fall-rise pattern (L+H* LH%) and the presence of the high-fall contour (L+H* L%) in the English productions may help discriminate an authentic English-accented Spanish from a fake one.


imitated and authentic English-accented Spanish; phrasing; nuclear configuration; boundary tones

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