Procedural Encoding and Tone Choice in Buenos Aires Spanish


Labastía, Leopoldo Omar


Escandell-Vidal, Victoria (ed.)
Leonetti, Manuel (ed.)
Ahern, Aoife (ed.)


This chapter explores some tone choices in the spontaneous speech of Buenos Aires (Argentina) Spanish and attempts to account for them in procedural terms along the lines suggested by Relevance Theory (Wilson and Wharton, 2006). In particular, it analyses stretches of discourse beyond individual tone units, and tries to show how nuclear tone and boundary tone choices and pitch range management affect the interpretation of those tone units in terms of their function in spoken discourse, and how participants in a conversation organize information to indicate dependence, continuity and discontinuity (House, 2006). More generally, it aims to show that these tone choices encode specific instructions to guide the hearer to the most relevant interpretation of discourse by reducing the processing effort necessary to achieve the desired cognitive effects, and therefore argues for a procedural account of intonation. The prosodic analysis is carried out in the Autosegmental-Metrical framework (Pierrehumbert, 1980; Ladd, 1996) using its application to the study of Spanish intonation known as the Tone and Break Indices (Sp-ToBI) transcription system (Beckman et al., 2002; Hualde, 2003; Sosa, 2003; Estebas-Villaplana and Prieto, 2008), also used specifically in the study of Buenos Aires Spanish (Gabriel et al., 2010a). The results of the analysis suggest that relevance is pursued both at a local and at a global level, and they lend support to a compositional approach to intonational meaning, in which different prosodic choices and their combinations guide pragmatic interpretation at different levels. Overall, the chapter aims to show that Relevance Theory in general, and procedural encoding in particular, offer an insightful way to deal with prosodic phenomena and their meaning.


Emerald Group Publishing




pp. 383-413

Bibliographic Citation

Labastía, L. O. (2011). Procedural Encoding and Tone Choice in Buenos Aires Spanish. En Escandell-Vidal, Victoria, Leonetti, Manuel, & Ahern, Aoife (Eds.), Current Research in the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface (Vol. 25, pp. 383-413). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing.


parte de libro

ISBN 978-0-85724-093-4





Is Part Of

Escandell-Vidal, Victoria, Leonetti, Manuel, & Ahern, Aoife (Eds.), Current Research in the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface (Vol. 25, pp. 383-413). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing, 2011

Date Created


Descargar Archivos


Labastía, Leopoldo Omar, “Procedural Encoding and Tone Choice in Buenos Aires Spanish
,” Biblioteca Digital de la Facultad de Lenguas. Universidad Nacional del Comahue, accessed June 13, 2021,