Universiteit Leiden

nl en


Contact effects in intonation: Spanish and Quichua in Argentina

Thursday 7 March 2024
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden


In this presentation, I report the results of two studies on yes/no-questions and wh-questions in three understudied language varieties: bilingual Quichua, bilingual Spanish, and monolingual Spanish from Santiago del Estero, Argentina. Quichua and Spanish use different strategies to mark questions. In Quichua, questions are marked in morphology and not in intonation. That is, both statements and questions have a falling intonation contour (Cerrón-Palomino, 2003). In many varieties of Spanish, however, questions often have a rising intonation, unlike statements (e.g., Hualde & Prieto, 2015). The goals of this study were (a) to examine the intonation of questions in bilingual Quichua, bilingual Spanish, and monolingual Spanish in Santiago del Estero, and (b) to determine contact effects in Quichua and Spanish. The data came from two interactive tasks with adult Quichua-Spanish bilinguals and Spanish monolinguals. In these tasks, participants asked each other yes/no-questions and wh-questions in Spanish and/or Quichua. Their intonation contours were analyzed in Praat (Boersma & Weenink, 2022), and for Quichua, morphological marking was also examined. The results showed how Spanish intonation contours have influenced Quechua contours, and vice versa. Bilinguals frequently omitted Quechua morphological markers and used Spanish-like intonation contours instead. Interestingly, some bilinguals used the same contour in their two languages, whereas others used different contours. In all, the studies provide new empirical data on Quichua and Spanish varieties and sheds light on contact effects in intonation.

*This lecture is a component of the BA course "Thema's in de taalkunde van Latijns Amerika¨ led by M. Carmen Parafita Couto.  Since it´s probably of interest to many LUCL members, we've opted to open it up to anyone who is interested.

This website uses cookies.  More information.