The phonetics and phonology of intonational phrasing in Romance

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This paper examines the phonetics and phonology of intonational boundaries in five Romance languages/varieties. A typology of the boundary cues used is given, as well as their relative frequency. The phonology of the tonal boundary gesture is described by means of the inventory of nuclear accents used plus their possible combinations with the two dominant end contours: continuation rise (H) and sustained pitch (!H). A detailed analysis of the phonetics of the H boundary tone, which is the main boundary cue observed across these languages, is provided. This involved assessing the impact on H scaling of nuclear accent choice, phrase length and first peak height. Overall, it is shown that the variation found consistently groups these languages in two sets: the Catalan-Spanish group and the Italian-European Portuguese group.


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