Stressed Clitic Pronouns in Two Spanish Varieties: A perception study

Laura Colantoni, Jose-Ignacio Hualde, Ane Icardo Isasi


Clitic elements are prosodically attached to another phonological word. As such, they do not carry their own stress. In general, Spanish non-prepositional object pronouns (e.g. me/te/le/lo/se) meet the definition of clitic, whether preposed (proclitic) or postposed (enclitic) to the verb. Nevertheless, in several Romance varieties, including some Spanish varieties, the stress may surface on the clitic in verb+clitic(s) groups. We refer to this phenomenon as Enclitic Stress Shift (ESS). In this paper, we report on the perception of ESS by Spanish speakers from Argentina and Spain and explore the acoustic dimensions that may affect this perception. The discussion includes comparisons with other Romance languages and implications for sound change, such as the changes in stress patterns in the development of future and conditional tenses.


stress perception; clitics; secondary stress; Spanish phonology; prominence; Argentine Spanish; Peninsular Spanish

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