Visual and auditory cues of assertions and questions in Brazilian Portuguese and Mexican Spanish: a comparative study

Luma da Silva Miranda, Carolina Gomes da Silva, João Antônio de Moraes, Albert Rilliard


The aim of this paper is to compare the multimodal production of questions in two different language varieties: Brazilian Portuguese and Mexican Spanish. Descriptions of the auditory and visual cues of two speech acts, assertions and questions, are presented based on Brazilian and Mexican corpora. The sentence “Como você sabe” was produced as an yes-no (echo) question and an assertion by ten speakers (five male) from Rio de Janeiro and the sentence “Apaga la tele” was produced as a yes-no question and an assertion by five speakers (three male) from Mexico City. The results show that, whereas the Brazilian Portuguese and Mexican Spanish assertions are produced with different F0 contours and different facial expressions, questions in both languages are produced with specific F0 contours but similar facial expressions. The outcome of this comparative study suggests that lowering the eyebrows, tightening the lid and wrinkling the nose can be considered question markers in both language varieties.

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