La contribución de la prosodia en las ambigüedades de adjunción


  • Celia Teira Celia Teira UNED
  • José Manuel Igoa Universidad Autónoma de Madrid



ambiguity; prosody; attachment; relative clauses; comprehension; locality principles.


Ambiguous relative clauses with two possible antecedent nouns have been widely studied in Spanish since they cast doubt on the universality of syntactic parsing principles. Current research suggests that there is an early contribution of prosodic information in the disambiguation of this kind or sentences in oral comprehension and production tasks. In this paper we present two comprehension experiments of locally ambiguous relative clauses with two possible attachment sites in Spanish, in which different prosodic parameters were manipulated to yield either congruous or incongruous pairings of prosody and syntax, with the aim of testing their influence on listeners’ attachment preferences of the ambiguous clause and on their response times. Additionally, fundamental frequency (F0) and temporal (pause distribution) prosodic parameters were manipulated in different subexperiments so as to assess their separate contribution to participants’ performance. Our results confirm an effective and relatively early use of prosodic information by listeners during language processing. In particular, congruous prosody with syntax generally facilitates participants’ responses, though this effect was found to vary across the two attachment options. Finally, F0 and temporal prosodic features were found to make a similar contribution to participants’ responses, with few occasional differences between them.


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How to Cite

Celia Teira, C. T., & José Manuel Igoa. (2022). La contribución de la prosodia en las ambigüedades de adjunción. Borealis – An International Journal of Hispanic Linguistics, 11(3), 379–410.