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ERIC Number: ED076983
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1972
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Aspects of Intonation in Black English.
Tarone, Elaine
This study investigated some characteristics of intonation patterns in the English spoken by black adolescents in Seattle, Washington. It was hypothesized that if intonation is central to communicating attitude, and if Black English intonation differs systematically from that of Standard English, communication between blacks and whites may be difficult. The study used tape recordings of black adolescents in an excited, informal discussion, white adolescents (WE) in an informal discussion, and a formal interview with an adult black male (FBE). The following intonation features were found characteristic of Black English: (1) a wider pitch range, extending into higher pitch levels than in WE or FBE, and often shifting into a falsetto register; (2) more level and rising final pitch contours; (3) apparent greater use of falling final contours with general (yes/no) questions in formal and perhaps threatening situations; and (4) the use of nonfinal intonation contours alone (without the use of the word "if") to mark the dependent clause of a conditional sentence. The study concluded that the importance of intonation in communicating attitude has been greatly underestimated. (Author/DI)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Unpublished study