Perception of Intonational Patterns and Speaker’s Intentionality in English Yes-No Questions Produced by Brazilians

Leonice Passarella dos Reis, Alison Roberto Gonçalves, Rosane Silveira


Resumo: O presente estudo investigou a percepção de diferentes padrões entoacionais e da intencionalidade do falante em perguntas interrogativas totais do inglês. Os falantes foram seis brasileiros que gravaram um diálogo. Os ouvintes foram 31 brasileiros de diferentes partes do país que realizaram um Teste de Percepção da Modalidade da Sentença e um Teste de Percepção da Intencionalidade. Três contornos diferentes foram testados: padrão do inglês americano; padrão do português brasileiro; e padrão encontrado na interlíngua dos falantes. Os resultados demonstram que os padrões do inglês americano e do português brasileiro foram geralmente percebidos como interrogativas totais e percebidos inadequadamente como interrogativas WH. O padrão encontrado na interlíngua dos falantes foi na maioria das vezes percebido como interrogativas totais. O Teste de Percepção da Intencionalidade revelou que os ouvintes consideravam que os falantes faziam uso de interrogativas totais na maioria das vezes, o que parcialmente está de acordo com os resultados do teste de percepção. Não obstante, as intenções dos falantes foram interpretadas com muita variabilidade, o que pode ter sido um efeito do teste.

Palavras-chave: percepção em L2; padrões entoacionais; interrogativas totais neutras; intencionalidade; fonologia da L2.

Abstract: The current study investigated the perception of different intonational patterns and speaker’s intentionality in English yes-no questions produced by Brazilian Portuguese speakers of English. The speakers were six Brazilians who recorded a dialogue. The listeners were 31 Brazilians from different parts of the country who took a Perception of Sentence Modality Test and a Perception of Intentionality Test. Three different contours were tested: English-L1 like, Brazilian-Portuguese like, and Interlanguage like. Results demonstrate that English-L1 like and Brazilian-Portuguese like were generally perceived as yes-no and misperceived as wh-questions, whereas Interlanguage like tended to be mostly perceived as yes-no questions. In the Perception of Intentionality Test, there was a tendency for listeners to consider that the speakers were asking neutral yes-no questions most of the times, which somewhat is in tune with the results obtained at the perception test. Speakers’ intentions were also interpreted by listeners with much variability, which could have been a test effect.

Keywords: L2 Perception; Intonational Patterns; Neutral Yes-No Questions; Intentionality; L2 Phonology.


L2 Perception; Intonational Patterns; Neutral Yes-No Questions; Intentionality; L2 Phonology.

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