“Toned-up” Spanish

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In Equatorial Guinea Spanish is in contact with lexical tone languages of the Bantu family. The present study, based on field data, compares naturalistic Guinean Spanish with the Spanish of from Madrid, the dialect zone that served as primary input for the formation of Guinean Spanish. A preliminary analysis reveals partial convergence of a pitch accent system and lexically specified phonological tones. Guinean Spanish maintains one stress per word culminativity but expands obligatoriness by realizing a pitch accent on every syllable lexically marked for stress. The rate at which pitch accents occur is compared with the distribution of High tones in the two most prominent Guinean languages (Bubi and Fang), and it is suggested that Guineans’ incomplete suppression of natively acquired F0 patterns may be facilitated by the metrical structure of Spanish, which provides for regularly occurring pitch accents whose maximum potential density is similar to that of H tones in Bubi and Fang.


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