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Spanish in contact with Basque: prosody and social factors

This projects continues with the research topic of language variation in language contact areas, that some members of our group (led by Drs. Elordieta and Romera) have been working on recently. In particular, they have investigated aspects of Spanish intonation that can be ascribed to influence from Catalan and Basque (cf. Romera and Elordieta 2013; Elordieta & Romera in press -- see references below), with special attention to the social factors modulating the degree of presence of features from the contact language. Results of the previous project "The prosody of Spanish in contact with Basque" (ProCasEus) (FFI2012-38064-C02-01) show that in the Basque Country and Navarre the intonation of Spanish converges with certain intonational features of Basque. The main goal of the present project is to analyse the prosodic features of Spanish in contact with Basque and to observe to what extent social factors such as language attitudes can determine the degree of linguistic convergence. The data comes from semi-directed conversations in Spanish with 12 speakers from urban and rural areas of the Basque Country and with different linguistic profiles (monolingual Spanish, L1 Spanish-L2 Basque and L1 Basque-L2 Spanish). The most noteworthy preliminary result obtained so far is that absolute interrogatives in Basque Spanish usually end in a falling contour rather than the typical rising contour of standard Spanish. It has been also found that attitudes towards Basque and the Basque-speaking ethnolinguistic group are directly related to the degree of prosodic convergence: the more positive the attitudes, the higher the degree of prosodic convergence. Interestingly, the degree of knowledge of Basque is not correlated with the degree of prosodic convergence. For the moment, these results are going to appear in Elordieta & Romera (in press). As the project develops, more findings are expected.


Elordieta, G.; Romera, M. (in press). "The influence of social factors on the prosody of Spanish in contact with Basque". International Journal of Bilingualism 32.

Romera, M.; Elordieta, G. (2013). “Prosodic accommodation in language contact: Spanish intonation in Majorca”. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 221, 127-151.

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