When intonation plays the main character: information- vs. confirmation-seeking questions in Majorcan Catalan

Maria del Mar Vanrell, Ignasi Mascar├│, Francesc Torres-Tamarit and Pilar Prieto, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

This paper explores whether information- and confirmation-seeking questions are marked intonationally in Majorcan Catalan by means of three different perception tests (a congruity test, a rating test and a test based on the classical CP paradigm). The results show that a difference in pitch scaling on the leading H tone of the H+L* nuclear pitch accent is the main cue used by Majorcan listeners to identify confirmatory questions. Thus, while a ¡H+L* pitch accent signals an information-seeking question (i.e., the speaker has no expectation about the nature of the answer), H+L* pitch accent indicates that the speaker is asking about mutually shared information. Index Terms: information-seeking questions, confirmation-seeking questions, tonal perception, tonal scaling, Catalan language.