Tune or text? Tune-text accommodation strategies in Portuguese

Author(s): Sónia Frota, Marisa Cruz, Joelma Castelo, Nádia Barros, Verònica Crespo-Sendra and Marina Vigário


In Portuguese, different strategies for dealing with tune-text accommodation have been reported. However, no systematic research has been conducted exploring crucial cases of complex nuclear melodies realized in nuclear words with final stress, as in yes-no questions. Based on reading and semi-spontaneous data from ten regions in Brazil and eleven regions in Portugal, this study reveals that Brazilian and European Portuguese globally differ with respect to the strategies implemented: in Brazilian Portuguese, the text is preserved and the melody is changed (mostly by means of tonal truncation); in European Portuguese, the melody is preserved and the text is changed through various strategies, including schwa epenthesis. Faithfulness to the text or to the tune is thus a relevant dimension of variation both across and within languages, and text changes (through vowel lengthening, vowel split, vowel epenthesis, or blocking of vowel deletion) are crucial means to support tune realization that have recently been found in unrelated languages.