An Intonational Analysis of Mexican American English in Comparison to Anglo American English

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Title: An Intonational Analysis of Mexican American English in Comparison to Anglo American English
Author: Ericson, Holly Anne
Advisors: Erik R. Thomas, Committee Chair
Walt Wolfram, Committee Member
Carmine Prioli, Committee Member
Abstract: Until recently, intonational aspects of Mexican American English have received little to no attention. The research that has been conducted (Fought 2003; Penfield and Ornstein-Galicia 1985; Metcalf 1972) is a good start, but needs more precision and rigor. There is a need to describe this prosodic feature in more accurate terms than line drawings accompanied by a narrow number scale (Metcalf 1972). In 1992 Beckman and Hirschberg proposed their solution to this gap with the ToBI Annotation Conventions, which is the current model used for measuring intonation. This thesis uses ToBI conventions in conjunction with Praat spectrograms to compare the intonation of Mexican American English to Anglo American English. Results indicate that speakers of these two groups do typically differ in intonational patterns, most noticeably in final contours and pitch accents. These intonational differences contribute to the distinctness of each variety, which can cause misunderstandings in communication (e.g.: MAE declarative mistaken for interrogative). The results of this study contribute to the understanding of Mexican American English and to the comparative examination of intonation based on natural conversation.
Date: 2007-07-26
Degree: MA
Discipline: English
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/2226


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