Intonation in English

Topics: Linguistics, Semantics, Phonology Pages: 3 (881 words) Published: October 14, 2014
1. Intonation: approaches, definitions, functions
Intonation is a language universal. There are no languages which are spoken without any change of prosodic parameters but intonation functions in various languages in a different way. There are two main approaches to the problem of intonation in Great Britain. One is known as a contour analysis and the other may be called grammatical. The first is represented by a large group of phoneticians: H. Sweet, D. Jones, G. Palmer, L. Armstrong, I. Ward, R. Kingdon, J. O'Connor, A. Gimson and others. It is traditional and widely used. According to this approach the smallest unit to which linguistic meaning can be attached is a tone-group (sense-group). Their theory is based on the assumption that intonation consists of basic functional "blocks". They pay much attention to these "blocks" but not to the way they are connected. Intonation is treated by them as a layer that is superimposed on the lexico-grammatical structure. In fact the aim of communication determines the intonation structure, not vice versa. The grammatical approach to the study of intonation was worked out by M. Halliday. The main unit of intonation is a clause. Intonation is a complex of three systemic variables: tonality, tonicity and tone, which are connected with grammatical categories. Tonality marks the beginning and the end of a tone-group. Tonicity marks the focal point of each tone-group. Tone is the third unit in Halliday's system. Tones can be primary and secondary. They convey the attitude of the speaker. Hallyday's theory is based on the syntactical function of intonation. The founder of the American school of intonation K. Pike in his book «The Intonation of American English» considers «pitch phonemes» and «contours» to be the main units of intonation. He describes different contours and their meanings, but the word «meaning» stands apart from communicative function of intonation. There is wide agreement among Russian linguists that on...
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