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Wells J C English Intonation Pdf 172

In linguistics, intonation is variation in pitch used to indicate the speaker's attitudes and emotions, to highlight or focus an expression, to signal the illocutionary act performed by a sentence, or to regulate the flow of discourse. For example, the English question "Does Maria speak Spanish or French?" is interpreted as a yes-or-no question when it is uttered with a single rising intonation contour, but is interpreted as an alternative question when uttered with a rising contour on "Spanish" and a falling contour on "French". Although intonation is primarily a matter of pitch variation, its effects almost always work hand-in-hand with other prosodic features. Intonation is distinct from tone, the phenomenon where pitch is used to distinguish words (as in Mandarin) or to mark grammatical features (as in Kinyarwanda).

Wells J C English Intonation Pdf 172

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British descriptions of English intonation can be traced back to the 16th century.[5] Early in the 20th century the dominant approach in the description of English and French intonation was based on a small number of basic "tunes" associated with intonation units: in a typical description, Tune 1 is falling, with final fall, while Tune 2 has a final rise.[6] Phoneticians such as H. E. Palmer[7] broke up the intonation of such units into smaller components, the most important of which was the nucleus, which corresponds to the main accented syllable of the intonation unit, usually in the last lexical word of the intonation unit. Each nucleus carries one of a small number of nuclear tones, usually including fall, rise, fall-rise, rise-fall, and possibly others. The nucleus may be preceded by a head containing stressed syllables preceding the nucleus, and a tail consisting of syllables following the nucleus within the tone unit. Unstressed syllables preceding the head (if present) or nucleus (if there is no head) constitute a pre-head. This approach was further developed by Halliday[8] and by O'Connor and Arnold,[9] though with considerable variation in terminology. This "Standard British" treatment of intonation in its present-day form is explained in detail by Wells[10] and in a simplified version by Roach.[11] Halliday saw the functions of intonation as depending on choices in three main variables: Tonality (division of speech into intonation units), Tonicity (the placement of the tonic syllable or nucleus) and Tone (choice of nuclear tone);[12] these terms (sometimes referred to as "the three T's") have been used more recently.[10]

Research by Crystal[13][14] emphasized the importance of making generalizations about intonation based on authentic, unscripted speech, and the roles played by prosodic features such as tempo, pitch range, loudness and rhythmicality in communicative functions usually attributed to intonation.

An influential development in British studies of intonation has been Discourse Intonation, an offshoot of Discourse Analysis first put forward by David Brazil.[15][16] This approach lays great emphasis on the communicative and informational use of intonation, pointing out its use for distinguishing between presenting new information and referring to old, shared information, as well as signalling the relative status of participants in a conversation (e.g. teacher-pupil, or doctor-patient) and helping to regulate conversational turn-taking. The description of intonation in this approach owes much to Halliday. Intonation is analysed purely in terms of pitch movements and "key" and makes little reference to the other prosodic features usually thought to play a part in conversational interaction.

The dominant framework used for American English from the 1940s to the 1990s was based on the idea of pitch phonemes, or tonemes. In the work of Trager and Smith[17] there are four contrastive levels of pitch: low (1), middle (2), high (3), and very high (4). (Unfortunately, the important work of Kenneth Pike on the same subject[18] had the four pitch levels labelled in the opposite way, with (1) being high and (4) being low). In its final form, the Trager and Smith system was highly complex, each pitch phoneme having four pitch allophones (or allotones); there was also a Terminal Contour to end an intonation clause, as well as four stress phonemes.[19] Some generalizations using this formalism are given below. The American linguist Dwight Bolinger carried on a long campaign to argue that pitch contours were more important in the study of intonation than individual pitch levels.[20]

A more recent approach to the analysis of intonation grew out of the research of Janet Pierrehumbert[23] and developed into the system most widely known by the name of ToBI (short for "Tones and Break Indices"). The approach is sometimes referred to as autosegmental. The most important points of this system are the following:

A simplified example of a ToBI transcription is given below. In this example, two phrases "we looked at the sky" and "and saw the clouds" are combined into one larger intonational phrase; there is a rise on "sky" and a fall on "clouds":

Sometimes yes/no questions begin with a topic phrase, specifying the focus of the utterance. Then, the initial topic phrase follows the intonation pattern of a declarative sentence, and the rest of the question follows the usual yes/no question pattern:[28]

Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language so pitch contours within a word distinguish the word from other words with the same vowels and consonants. Nevertheless, Mandarin also has intonation patterns that indicate the nature of the sentence as a whole.

Furthermore, the details of Mandarin intonation are affected by various factors like the tone of the final syllable, the presence or absence of focus (centering of attention) on the final word, and the dialect of the speaker.[31]

Intonation in Punjabi has always been an area of discussion and experimentation. There are different studies [Gill and Gleason (1969), Malik (1995), Kalra (1982), Bhatia (1993), Joshi (1972 & 1989)][33][34][35] that explain intonation in Punjabi, according to their respective theories and models.

Chander Shekhar Singh carried forward a description of the experimental phonetics and phonology of Punjabi intonation based on sentences read in isolation. His research design is based on the classification of two different levels of intonation (horizontal level and vertical level). The first experiment (at the horizontal level) is conducted to investigate three utterance types: declarative, imperative, and interrogative. In his second experiment, the investigation of sentences is conducted to view intonation but in vertical sense. 'Vertical' here means a comparative analysis of intonations of the three types of sentences by keeping the nuclear intonation constant.[36]

Cruttenden points out the extreme difficulty of making meaningful comparisons among the intonation systems of different languages, the difficulty being compounded by the lack of an agreed descriptive framework.[38]

Falling intonation is said to be used at the end of questions in some languages, including Hawaiian, Fijian, and Samoan and in Greenlandic. It is also used in Hawaiian Creole English, presumably derived from Hawaiian. Rises are common on statements in urban Belfast; falls on most questions have been said to be typical of urban Leeds speech.[citation needed]

An ESRC-funded project (E. Grabe, B. Post and F. Nolan) to study the intonation of nine urban accents of British English in five different speaking styles has resulted in the IViE Corpus and a purpose-built transcription system. The corpus and notation system can be downloaded from the project's website.[39] Following on this work is a paper explaining that the dialects of British and Irish English vary substantially.[40]

A project to bring together descriptions of the intonation of twenty different languages, ideally using a unified descriptive framework (INTSINT), resulted in a book published in 1998 by D. Hirst and A. Di Cristo.[41] The languages described are American English, British English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Spanish, European Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, Russian, Bulgarian, Greek, Finnish, Hungarian, Western Arabic (Moroccan), Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Beijing Chinese. A number of contributing authors did not use the INTSINT system but preferred to use their own system.

Importantly, individuals vary in how they process intonational cues and how they use them to infer pragmatic meaning (Bishop, Chong, & Jun, 2015; Diehl, Bennetto, Watson, Gunlogson, & McDonough, 2008; Jun & Bishop, 2014; Katz & Selkirk, 2011; Portes, Beyssade, Michelas, Marandin, Champagne-Lavau, 2014; Ward & Hirschberg, 1988). Portes et al. (2014) found that listeners can have different interpretations for the very same tonal configuration in French, while Bishop (2016) and Bishop and Kuo (2016) found that listeners rely on distinct cues (pitch accent, edge tones, or duration cues) to interpret the syntactic structure of a relative clause.

Only recently, researchers have started investigating the reasons behind individual variability in intonation processing. One factor could be key: individual pragmatic skills. Jun and Bishop (2014) assessed the autistic traits of normal adults and found they correlated with their use of intonational cues to syntactic processing. Specifically, Bishop (2016) observed that pragmatically skilled individuals use prosodic prominence and pitch accent type to interpret whether a relative clause has high or low attachment, while less pragmatically skilled individuals tend to rely mainly on subsequent boundary tone and durational information.

Based on previous evidence, we formulated two main hypotheses. First, individuals with higher empathy (better pragmatic skills) will be more sensitive to intonational cues that can be used to infer the meaning of an ambiguous referent, as opposed to less empathically skilled individuals. Second, compared with less empathically skilled individuals, listeners with higher empathy will be more likely to activate and maintain all the potential alternative interpretations of temporary ambiguous referents. 350c69d7ab


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