The why of Belfast rises

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Why do Belfast English speakers produce statements with final intonational rises? This paper introduces analyses from a new corpus of Belfast data from 3 female speakers. The primary research question is whether these Belfast rises have arisen through gradual phonetic change from a more typical statement falling contour or whether they have arisen through pragmatic transfer either from question intonation or list intonation. Results show that pragmatic transfer is the more likely source. Further, Belfast statements are more phonetically similar to lists than to questions, suggesting that the source of the transfer may be the former rather than the latter. Keywords: Belfast English; phonetics; intonation; statement rises; questions; lists


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