Maria del Mar Vanrell
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

ID 1273
[full paper]

This study examines the effect of utterance length on utterance-initial F0 values and H and L scaling of nuclear accent in Majorcan Catalan. Research on the correlation between utterance length and initial F0 values has thus far yielded contradictory answers to the question of whether utterance length is a determining factor for initial pitch height. Regarding the impact of utterance length on scaling of nuclear accents (known as downstep), it has been shown that downstep may be under the conscious control of the speaker and be governed by a clearly communicative function. Firstly, the results reveal that there exists a correlation between sentence length and initial pitch height, but this correlation is not constant across speakers and sentence-types, suggesting that this is an instance of soft preplanning. Secondly, our results show that downstep or, more precisely, the failure of downstep may be grammaticalized in a particular phonological context.