Vol. 3 No. 2 (2016): Approaching Diversity in Speech Studies: New Methodologies under Empirical Perspectives
Spoken Syntax

Effects of speech rhythm on spoken syntax. A corpus-based study on Brazilian Portuguese and Italian

Giulia Bossaglia
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Published September 21, 2016


spoken corpora, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, spoken syntax, Dynamic Model of speech rhythm


This paper presents a preliminary study on the syntax/prosody interface in spoken Brazilian Portuguese and Italian, within the Language into Act Theory theoretical framework (L-AcT, Cresti 2000). According to this theory, spoken syntax has to be studied taking into consideration the way the speaker combines information along one or more information units, since each of them is understood as a syntactic/semantic island (Cresti 2014). Then, linearized syntax defines proper dependency relationships, performed within the same information unit, while patterned constructions, syntactic structures performed across more than one information unit, are to be analyzed considering the pragmatic functions of the information units involved (Cresti 2014). According to a non-discrete conception of speech rhythm (Barbosa 2000, 2006), BP can be defined as a more stress-timed language with respect to IT, and its tonal unit can host more phonological syllables than IT’s, for BP’s rhythm leads to strong re-syllabification phenomena. Based on data from the C-ORAL-BRASIL (Raso & Mello 2012) and Italian C-ORAL-ROM (Cresti & Moneglia 2005) spontaneous speech corpora, this paper aims at verifying if such prosodic features partake in the way the two languages display preference for linearized syntax or patterned constructions.