Prosodic realization of contrastive focus in Yucatecan Spanish
2016, Issues, Issue 1, Volume 67,
This article deals with the prosodic realization of contrastive focus in Yucatecan Spanish. Data from three recent elicitation experiments with a total of 5 balanced bilingual speakers of Yucatecan Spanish (YS) and Yucatec Maya (YM), 5 Spanish dominant bilingual speakers of YS and YM, and 5monolingual speakers of YS suggest that in YS contrastive focus is mostly signaled by means of a high pitch early in the Intonation Phrase, followed by a fall to the final stressed syllable of a contrasted word. In this respect, the established YS variety importantly differs from standard Mexican Spanish (MS), where the stressed syllable of a contrastive constituent is generally associated with an L+H* pitch accent (cf. De la Mota 2010). However, the systematic behavior described above only shows up in the data produced by the Spanish dominant and monolingual speakers, whereas the data produced by the balanced bilingual speakers is characterized by a much higher amount of idiosyncratic variation. This fact suggests that the development of intonational systems in language contact settings is, among other things, a matter of gradual consolidation or strengthening of features.