Cross-Linguistic Influence in Interrogative Intonation Patterns A Case of Russophones in Brazil

Tatiana Kachkovskaia, Pavel Skrelin, Daria Guseva, Aleksandra S. Skorobogatova, Anna Smirnova Henriques, Sandra Madureira


Cross-linguistic influence may be traced in two directions: from L1 to L2, and vice versa. This paper is focused on the second type: the aim of the research is to describe how the native intonation system may change after emigration. The research uses recordings of Russophones residing in São Paulo, Brazil: 39 first-generation immigrants, and 15 heritage Russian speakers. During the production experiment, the speakers read a set of target utterances embedded in broad contexts provoking particular intonation patterns. This paper analyzes three types of interrogative sentences: contrastive (elliptical) questions, yes/no questions, and echo wh-questions. The results are based on expert analysis of the recordings. Our data have proved that Russian speech (L1) of first-generation Russophone immigrants is influenced by the Brazilian Protuguese (L2) intonation system: on average, around 25 % of interrogatives differed in intonation from the control group. Heritage Russian speakers showed stronger influence of L2, with the number of intonational changes over 70 %, reaching 87 % for yes/no questions and echo wh- questions.

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