All languages use pitch pragmatically, that is, as intonation, for instance for emphasis, to convey surprise or irony, or to pose a question. Tonal languages such as Chinese and Hausa use pitch to distinguish words in addition to intonation.
Generally speaking, we can identify the following intonations:
- Rising Intonation means the pitch of the voice increases over time [â†—];
- Falling Intonation means that the pitch decreases with time [â†˜];
- Dipping Intonation falls and then rises [â†˜â†—];
- Peaking Intonation rises and then falls [â†—â†˜].
The classic example of intonation is the question-statement distinction. For example, northeastern American English, like very many languages, has a rising intonation for echo or declarative questions (He found it on the street?), and a falling intonation for wh- questions (Where did he find it?) and statements (He found it on the street.). Yes or no questions (Did he find it on the street?) often have a rising end, but not always. Some languages like Chickasaw and Kalaallisut have the opposite pattern: rising for statements and falling with questions.
In the International Phonetic Alphabet, global rising and falling intonation are marked with a diagonal arrow rising left-to-right [â†—] and falling left-to-right [â†˜], respectively. These may be written as part of a syllable, or separated with a space when they have a broader scope:
- He found it on the street?
- [ hiË ËˆfaÊŠnd Éªt | É’n Ã°É™ â†—ËˆËˆstÉ¹iËt â€– ]
Here the rising pitch on street indicates that the question hinges on that word, on where he found it, not whether he found it.
- Yes, he found it on the street.
- [â†˜ËˆjÉ›s â€– hi ËˆfaÊŠnd Éªt | É’n Ã°É™ â†˜ËˆstÉ¹iËt â€– ]
- How did you ever escape?
- [â†—ËˆËˆhaÊŠ dÉªdjuË | ËˆÉ›vÉš | É¨â†˜ËˆËˆskeÉªp â€– ]
Here, as is common with wh- questions, there is a rising intonation on the question word, and a falling intonation at the end of the question.
Lexicalized intonation Edit
English intonation may become semi-lexicalized in common expressions such as "dunno" ([I] don't know), and therefore starts to approach the domain of tone. Pitch also plays a role in distinguishing acronyms that might otherwise be mistaken for common words. For example, in the phrase "Nike asks that you Template:Sm 'Participate in the Lives of America's Youth'", the acronym Template:Sm may be pronounced with a high tone to distinguish it from the verb 'play', which would also make sense in this context. Alternatively, each letter could be said individually, so Template:Sm might become "P-L-A-Y" or "P.L.A.Y.". However, the high tone is only employed for disambiguation and is therefore contrastive intonation rather than true lexical tone.
See also Edit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 *Hirst, D.J. & Di Cristo, A. (eds) 1998. Intonation Systems. A survey of Twenty Languages. (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press). [ISBN 0521395135 (Hardback); ISBN 052139550X (Paperback)].
- ↑ Grabe, E. (2004). Intonational variation in urban dialects of English spoken in the British Isles In Gilles, P. and Peters, J. (eds.) Regional Variation in Intonation. Linguistische Arbeiten, Tuebingen, Niemeyer, pp. 9-31.
- ↑ Liu F, Patel AD, Fourcin A, Stewart L. (2010). Intonation processing in congenital amusia: discrimination, identification and imitation. Brain. 133(Pt 6):1682-93. Template:Doi PMID 20418275
- ↑ Advertisement read on NPR
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