The effect of early exposure in the production of Salerno Italian question intonation




question intonation, Salerno Italian, dialect contact, intonational variation


The study explores the effect of early language exposure in the production of question intonation in Salerno Italian. In particular, we tested the hypothesis that exposure to other varieties represents a possible source of variability in nuclear tune choice. Ten speakers from Salerno were selected and divided into two groups according to whether or not they had at least a non-native parent. Information-seeking yes-no questions and information-seeking wh-questions were elicited using a Reading Task. Results show that part of the variability found in the use of intonation can be attributed to the presence vs absence of early exposure. Specifically, such results concern differences in the distribution of tunes mirroring that of the variety to which speakers were exposed. Finally, the study highlights the need of taking into account different sources of variation when investigating a language’s intonational grammar.




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