Linguistics in Göttingen - A platform for empirical and theoretical linguistics

María del Mar Vanrell (FU Berlin): The prosody-syntax interface and dialectal variation in Spanish and Catalan interrogatives

In this study we investigate how prosody interacts with word order in the expression of interrogativity in different varieties of two Ibero-Romance languages, Catalan and Spanish. We analyze a corpus obtained by means of the Discourse Completion Task Methodology. The collected data were prosodically and syntactically annotated and show that the absence of syntactic marking (wh-word, subject-verb inversion or subject dislocation) for questions tends to correspond to a more salient intonational marking. Thus, wh-questions favor general falling intonational patterns. By contrast, yes-no questions can be classified depending on the nuclear tone (with preference for low tones in Catalan and high tones in Spanish) and final tone (low for language varieties with subject inversion or dislocation, but optionally high for those that do not present syntactic marking in a mandatory way).