Lexical words

Here the displacement of the accent onto an earlier lexical word arises not from the fact that some information is considered old but from the need to stress a contrast between two different things or groups of things. This is usually exemplified in sequences like the following:


(36) sound_loud_speaker My mother has a blue car (unmarked statement).

(37) sound_loud_speaker My mother has a blue car (not a red one).

(38) sound_loud_speaker My mother has a blue car (not my father).


In a situation where contrast is needed, the most likely way of expressing (38) in Spanish would be:

(39) La que tiene un coche azul es mi madre.

So again in Spanish there is a syntactic reorganization whereby the accented noun is placed at the end of the sentence.

And now, the naturally occurring examples.

(40) sound_loud_speaker And partly the idea is that these are working-class people who when they get money spend it without the taste and discretion of middle-class people (Owen Jones; Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK).

(41) sound_loud_speaker So, in one focus group there is two single mums who were on benefits, and in another there was a guy who was on long term incapacity benefits (Owen Jones; Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK).

In both cases Owen Jones is opposing two discrete elements: working-class people versus middle-class people in (40) and benefits given to single mothers an benefits given on grounds of incapacity in (41).

Here is a slightly different example, where an interesting nuance can be highlighted.

(42) sound_loud_speaker who is the kind of object of knowledge, if you like, and who’s the subject of knowledge (Imogen Tyler, Lancaster University)


Imogen Tyler deaccents the repeated item, knowledge, on both occasions. As Wells (2006) explains, this implies that the speaker has to think ahead. The contrast between the two opposing categories comes across even more clearly.

And now the Crane brothers again. Niles wants to differentiate himself from Frasier on the phone and does it in the most simple, traditional and effective way in English: he deaccents his surname and displace the focus of the IP onto his first name.

(43) This is doctor Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce; New York, US. Frasier. Season 1. Dinner at Eight).

It is difficult to imagine a Spanish equivalent to so elegant a solution. A Spanish version of it would probably involve a cumbersome explanation of family relationships.


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