This paper focuses on the duration of stressed syllables in broad versus contrastive focus in Yucatecan Spanish and examines its connection with Spanish–Maya bilingualism. We examine the claim that phonemic vowel length in one language prevents the use of syllable duration as a post-lexical acoustic cue in another. We study the duration of stressed syllables of nouns in subject and object position in subject-verb-object (SVO) sentences (broad and contrastive focus) of a semi-spontaneous production task. One thousand one hundred and twenty-six target syllables of 34 mono- and bilingual speakers were measured and submitted to linear mixed-effects models. Although the target syllables were slightly longer in contrastive focus, duration was not significant, nor was the effect of bilingualism. The results point to duration not constituting a cue to focus marking in Yucatecan Spanish. Finally, it is discussed how this result relates to the strong influence of Yucatec Maya on Yucatecan Spanish prosody observed by both scholars and native speakers of Yucatecan Spanish and other Mexican varieties of Spanish.
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