A contrastive study of Catalan and Spanish declarative intonation: Focus on Majorcan dialects

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The goal of the present paper is to identify some of the differences in the intonation of Catalan and Spanish as spoken in Majorca. The tonal features we investigated were: (1) utterance-final pitch accents in broad focus declaratives, and (2) local contrastive focus pitch accents. Previous research, mostly on related varieties, such as Central Catalan and Castilian Spanish, had indirectly suggested that potential differences could arise with regards to these specific configurations (Estebas, Phonetic and phonological properties of the final pitch accent in Catalan declaratives: 35-40, Université de Nantes, 2003a, Estebas, Atlantis Journal 25: 39-53, 2003c; Face, Intonational marking of contrastive focus in Madrid Spanish, Lincom Europa, 2002a, Face, Southwest Journal of Linguistics 23: 65-79, 2004). The Majorcan dialects of Catalan and Spanish were found to fundamentally differ in the shape and alignment patterns of their utterance-final pitch accents (of broad focus declaratives) in that Catalan displayed low or falling pitch accents while Spanish presented small rising-falling pitch accents. On the other hand, statistical differences were found with respect to the alignment of pitch valleys culminating rising-falling pitch contours in contrastive focus accents. Overall, the findings reported here add to our knowledge of the intonational differences and similarities between Romance languages by comparing two contact languages using similar materials and under identical experimental conditions. These findings are relevant for comparative-historical purposes and future language contact studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-148
Number of pages32
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'A contrastive study of Catalan and Spanish declarative intonation: Focus on Majorcan dialects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this