Visual and auditory cues of assertions and questions in Brazilian Portuguese and Mexican Spanish

a comparative study




Question, Brazilian portuguese, Mexican spanish


The aim of this paper is to compare the multimodal production of questions in two different language varieties: Brazilian Portuguese and Mexican Spanish. Descriptions of the auditory and visual cues of two speech acts, assertions and questions, are presented based on Brazilian and Mexican corpora. The sentence “Como você sabe” was produced as an yes-no (echo) question and an assertion by ten speakers (five male) from Rio de Janeiro and the sentence “Apaga la tele” was produced as a yes-no question and an assertion by five speakers (three male) from Mexico City. The results show that, whereas the Brazilian Portuguese and Mexican Spanish assertions are produced with different F0 contours and different facial expressions, questions in both languages are produced with specific F0 contours but similar facial expressions. The outcome of this comparative study suggests that lowering the eyebrows, tightening the lid and wrinkling the nose can be considered question markers in both language varieties.


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Author Biographies

Luma da Silva Miranda, Eötvös Loránd University

PhD in Portuguese language from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Brazilian Portuguese Lector at Eötvös Loránd University, in the Department of Portuguese Language and Literature.

Carolina Gomes da Silva, Federal University of Paraíba

PhD in Romance Languages from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Operates in Department of Modern Foreign Languages in Federal University of Paraíba.

João Antônio de Moraes, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Professor of Portuguese at the Department of Vernacular Letters in Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Albert Rilliard, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

CNRS researcher at LIMSI (Orsay, France). Visiting professor at Rio de Janeiro Federal University (UFRJ, Brazil).


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Miranda L da S, Silva CG da, Moraes JA de, Rilliard A. Visual and auditory cues of assertions and questions in Brazilian Portuguese and Mexican Spanish: a comparative study. J. of Speech Sci. [Internet]. 2020Sep.9 [cited 2021Sep.17];9(00):73-92. Available from:



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