Interative Atlas of Spanish Intonation


The Interactive atlas of Spanish intonation website contains a whole series of oral materials in audio and video format intended to provide the basis for further in-depth studies of Spanish prosody.

In every locale we interviewed speakers of different age groups. In the intonation survey and in the Map Task dialogue corpus we interviewed women between the ages of 20 and 35 year with university or higher level education. As for the videotaped interview the speakers included men and women older than 60 years of age. Participants had been born and raised in the locale.

In terms of content, for each population center selected, data was obtained by means of three main methods:

Intonation survey

Examples of different types of utterance (roughly 70 contours per locale) were taken from among the responses to an intonation survey. This survey was based on that used by Prieto (2001) and is designed to evoke everyday situations. It is an inductive method in which the researcher presents the subject with a series of situations (such as “You go into a shop you have never been in before and ask the shop assistant if they sell sugar”) and then asks him or her to respond accordingly. This method is especially useful because it allows the researcher to obtain a wide range of intonation contours that are difficult to obtain with other methods.

The survey consisted of approximately 70 situations, each intended to elicit a particular type of utterance. Utterances were organized as follows:

  • Statements
  • Yes-no questions
  • Wh- questions
  • Echo questions
  • Imperatives
  • Vocatives

The standard questionnaire has two versions: a 70-situation (complete) version and a 31-situation (abridged) version.

The Atlas research groups adapted the intonation survey to the following dialects:

At least two subjects have been surveyed in the abovementioned locales. Subjects surveyed were mostly women aged between 25 and 45 years.
The intonation pattern for each utterance is described in a file which contains the fundamental frequency contour as measured using the Praat program, the audio file, a description of the melodic curve, the ToBI prosodic labeling (see Sp_ToBI) and an interpretation (in Spanish) of the utterance.

Instructions for questionnaire elicitation

The objective of the guided questionnaire is to obtain spontaneous utterances though the oral presentation of contexts which induce different types of utterances and intentions. It is very important that the informants do NOT read the contexts or the possible answers (the answers that appear in the questionnaires are for the researcher's approximate reference and do not have to coincide with the spontaneous responses.) One decisive factor that should be noted before administering the questionnaire to informants is that it should be adapted to the specific dialect under investigation. By making this adaptation, lexical items and sayings that do not exist in that dialect will not appear in the questionnaire, ensuring that possible misunderstandings of the situation are avoided.
Before beginning the questionnaire the researcher should explain to the informant that he/she should attend to the situation and respond in the most natural, spontaneous way possible, as if the situation were actually happening at that moment. The ideal method is for the researcher to explain the discourse context to the informant in a very clear way,  assuring that the context is understood. The reading/explanation of the discourse context (without modifying the situation) guarantees that the same context is always maintained, and in this way it can be used for purposes of comparison with other interviews and across dialects. Another important factor is that when the informant produces each utterance, the researcher is checking to make sure that each utterance type/intention produced is in line with the desired type (interrogative, statement of the obvious, etc.). If the informant produces an utterance which is not of the type desired, the researcher must ask the informant to reformulate their response.

Each person participating in a survey must give his/her written consent to the processing of personal data, including his/her voice. To this end, he/she must complete and sign a personal information form and a consent form.

Map Task Dialogue Corpus

The Map Task is a validated technique in which two subjects cooperate to complete a specified task. It is designed to cause the subjects to produce particular interrogative patterns. Each of the two subjects has a map of an imaginary town marked with buildings and other specific elements such as fountains and monuments. A route is marked on the map of one of the two participants (see map-giver1 and map-giver2), and that person has the role of the instruction-giver. The version of the same map held by the other participant (see map-follower1 and map-follower2) differs from that of the instruction-giver in that it does not show the route to be followed. The second participant therefore has to ask the instruction-giver questions in order to be able to reproduce the same route on his or her own map.
An audio recording of the performance of the Map Task and its corresponding orthographic transcription can be accessed for each locale.

Each person participating in a map task dialogue must give his/her written consent to the processing of personal data, including his/her voice. To this end, he/she must complete and sign a personal information form and a consent form.

Videotaped conversations

For each locale the Atlas group conducted interviews of 10 to 15 minutes. A representative segment of conversation has been chosen for each locale and posted on this website. The segment is available in both video format and the corresponding orthographical transcription is also provided.

Each person participating in a videotaped conversation must give his/her written consent to the processing of personal data, including his/her voice and image. To this end, he/she must complete and sign a personal information form and a consent form.

All data, in different formats, are available for free through our website for academic and research purposes.

Guidelines for researchers

Guidelines for researchers interested in taking part in this project can be downloaded here.


Interactive Atlas of Spanish Intonation
Department of Translation and Linguistic Sciences
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
08018 Barcelona

Group of Prosodic Studies

© 2009-2010 Interactive Atlas of Spanish Intonation

With funding of

In collaboration with

Laboratori d'Informació Geogràfica i Teletecció (LIGIT), UAB


 Citation: Prieto, Pilar & Roseano, Paolo (coords). 2009-2013. Atlas interactivo de la entonación del español.