ERIC Number: ED159912
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Intonation as an Early Marker of Meaning.
Weeks, Thelma E.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the babbling of some babies is that it is produced with intonation contours that sound very much like adult sentence melodies. This study reviews the literature and examines longitudinal data collected from seven children. Some of the non-adult-like syntactic uses made of intonation by children for communicative functions include: (1) lowering pitch (in one case) or rising pitch (in another case) to express negation; (2) the use of pitch for "wh" questions in which the "wh" word is not produced; (3) the use of rising pitch in one-word utterances to indicate a request, while level tone indicates a wish-free interest; and (4) contrasting pitch in contiguous phrases to indicate contrasting meaning. Non-communicative uses of intonation include: (1) the use of melodic contours for "reading" during the babbling stage, (2) the use of sentence-melodies with babbling as language "practice," and (3) the use of sentence melodies as language play. The study indicates that the children develop their own rule-ordered intonation system that differs from the adult system, just as their morphological or syntactic system differs from that of the adult. (Author/NCR)
Descriptors: Child Language, Infant Behavior, Infants, Intonation, Language Acquisition, Language Patterns, Phonology, Preschool Children, Pronunciation, Psycholinguistics, Semantics, Speech, Stress (Phonology), Suprasegmentals, Verbal Ability, Verbal Communication, Verbal Development, Vocabulary Development
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the International Congress for the Study of Child Language (1st, Tokyo, Japan, August 10, 1978)