Trouble Spots in the Learning of English Intonation by Spanish Speakers. Tonality and Tonicity

  • Francisco Gutiérrez Díez
Part of the Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 15)


In the present paper, attention is focused on some intonation contrasts between Spanish and English and on intonation errors committed by Spanish learners of English, especially primary and secondary education students. The study is restricted to contrasts regarding the intonational subsystems of tonality and tonicity. Developmental and interference errors are highlighted against a contrastive background. Besides errors pertaining to tonality (tonal delimitation and cohesion) and tonicity (assignment of tone-unit nucleus), errors referring to onset misplacement have also been included. Some hints are provided as to the diagnosis and the need for explicit pedagogical treatment of intonation errors in order to avoid their fossilisation. The pragmatic meaning of tonicity is stressed, as well as the need for students to practise both recognition and production of the link between pragmatic meaning and the presence/absence of the pitch accent, referred to as nucleus in the traditional prosodic approach to intonation.


Relative Clause Personal Pronoun Word Category Subordinate Clause Pitch Accent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.English Philology Department, Faculty of ArtsUniversity of MurciaMurciaSpain

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