Prosodic phrasing of short left-dislocated adverbial adjuncts in Brazilian Portuguese

TitleProsodic phrasing of short left-dislocated adverbial adjuncts in Brazilian Portuguese
Publication TypePresentation
Year of Publication2020
Conference NameMiddag van de Fonetiek
AuthorsCarvalho, Tainan, Luciani Tenani, and Marc Swerts
PublisherNederlandse Vereniging voor Fonetische Wetenschappen
Conference Locationonline

We explore the prosodic configuration of short left-dislocated adverbial adjuncts in Brazilian
Portuguese (BP), as “Amanhã” in “Amanhã, nosso juiz decidirá o caso” – for the English
“Tomorrow our judge will adjudicate the case”. Specifically, we discuss how the prosodic
configuration of these constituents changes depending on whether they represent neutral or
topicalized adverbial adjuncts. Our hypothesis is that the short left-dislocated adverbial adjuncts
induces an intonational phrase (IP) boundary when it is topicalized, but not when it occurs after a
neutral adjunct. We analyzed speech recordings from thirteen BP speakers (all female, native
speakers of São Paulo State variety of BP), and measured a set of phonetic cues that have previously
been associated with IP boundaries: pause, duration and F0 variation. Our speakers were asked to
read (three times) a set of utterances with left-dislocated adverbial adjuncts. Adverbial adjuncts
utterances were included in broader contexts that were semantically manipulated to favor both
neutral and topicalized readings. The contexts were randomized and mixed with distractors. The
results confirm that the prosodic phrasings of the short adverbial adjuncts depended on the context.
Topicalized dislocated adverbs appear to differ from neutral ones in that: (i) they are more
frequently marked by the occurrence of final boundary tones (H% and L%); (ii) the pauses post
adjunct are more frequent in topicalized contexts, and also appear to be longer on average than in
neutral contexts (topicalized: 95 ms; neutral ones: 39ms) and (iii) preboundary lengthening occurs
more consistently in topicalized adverbial adjuncts.
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