On the prosodic realization of Spanish ¿no?-tags from a pragmatic perspective


  • Anna Gazdik Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz


The aim of this paper is to report on an empirical study investigating the prosodic realization of the Spanish tag ¿no? added to host clauses with different clause types, realizing various speech act types. Although ¿no? is commonly assumed to display a rising contour, we show that there are level and falling contours over the tag as well, even though rising contours are indeed dominant. The observed tendencies confirm the hypotheses that the contour over the tag is influenced both by the clause type of the host clause (¿no? in exclamatives and interrogatives display wider tonal excursions, and is more often realized with a rising contour than imperatives and declaratives). On the other hand, the type of the modified speech act also plays a role: commissives show more rising contours than expressives, directives and assertives. On the pragmatic side, we assume (with Kiss (2018)) that the function of the tag is the attribution of the whole discourse move to the addressee. In addition, we suppose that the rising contour over the tag signals a call on the addressee to interpret the whole discourse move as a meta-question on the attribution of the realized speech act to the addressee.


tag questions, ¿no?, speech acts, clause types, intonation, attribution, call on addressee


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