A interface prosódia-sintaxe e o fraseamento prosódico no Português do Brasil

Carolina Ribeiro Serra


This paper focuses on the Brazilian Portuguese (PB) prosodic phrasing and has two main goals: (1) to find a correlation between the prosodic constituents boundaries, as described by the Prosodic Hierarchy Theory (NESPOR & VOGEL, 1986/2007, a.o.) and the perception and production of spontaneous and reading speech breaks, and (2) to describe the phonological characteristics and the syntactic ranking of perceived and non perceived edges.
The corpus under analysis includes 5 extracts both of spontaneous and reading speech lasting about 2 minutes each. The reading speech (LE) emerged from the spontaneous speech (FE) orthographic transcription which was collected from an interview in an informal environment. In the perception test, 11 referees heard the 10 speaking extracts, without punctuation, and marked the perceived breaks in the orthographic transcription of each of them. Both the 5 speakers and the 11 referees were students at UFRJ, born in Rio de Janeiro, and were between 22 and 38 years old.
The results point out that the prosodic breaks are mainly perceived at the intonational phrase (I) boundary, regardless of the speech style (FE: 91%; LE 99%). However, in LE, 64% of the foreseen I boundaries, described by the Prosodic Hierarchy Theory, were perceived as breaks, but in FE, were perceived just 37%. The most usual nuclear contour in both styles is H+L* L% (this being the Portuguese neutral declarative contour), but its occurrence frequency at perceived breaks draws a distinction between LE and FE (67% and 30%, respectively). In FE, contours like L+H* H% and L*+H H% are also produced (34%). In general, descendant nuclei in LE are predominant, as well as the edge tone L; in FE, both the descendant and ascendant nuclei distribution and low or high boundaries are similar. After running a statistic test, the appearance of an L edge, as a predictive for perception, was globally significant. Concerning the syntactic boundary, it was statistically checked and the result points out that breaks are mainly perceived at the matrix phrase limit (LE: 59%; FE:61%,), showing the endurance of the matrix phrase edge/I boundary mapping. In general, FE has proved to have a bigger variation on the relation of predicted, perceived and produced, as it was expected, which was also confirmed by statistics. Therefore, the results show that the foreseen I phrasing is fairly robust in both styles, once only 13% of the predicted I boundaries have not been produced as so, regarding intonation. Besides, just 1,4% of the predicted phonological phrase () boundaries (and produced as Is) were perceived as breaks by the referees. With this study one may conclude that LE and FE share the same prosodic grammar, performed by the same type of phonological/syntactic cues; nevertheless, these are more consistent in LE and have a more disperse way in FE, adding to a greater difficulty at the systematic perception of prosodic boundaries in FE than in LE.

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