ERIC Number: ED158601
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Reference Count: 0
The Functions of Intonation.
Language Center News, n1 p99-109 1978
Intonation refers to the rise and fall of the pitch contour within a given tone group as distinguished from paralinguistic vocal features which refer to aspects like placement of contour in the pitch range of an individual, pitch span, loudness/softness, and features of voice quality. Intonation and paralinguistic vocal features perform at least six functions in spoken language. A controversial function frequently attributed to intonation is that of the question function, which is discussed in relation to the rising tone. The effect of intonation on commands is discussed in an attempt to define the question function and it is proven that in spite of the intonation, paralinguistic and sentential changes, the utterance will still have the force of a command. The deduction is that it is the constitutive conditions which determine the function of the utterance in a command. Applying this to questions, it is true that intonation, together with other paralinguistic features, can modify the force of an utterance to some extent, but it is the paralinguistic features which perform the most effective modification. Rising intonation is taken out of its traditional association with questions and put into association with the category of turn-taking mechanisms to emphasize that intonation has no power to change speech function. (NCR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Jyvaskyla Univ. (Finland). Language Center.
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