Speech Prosody 2002

Aix-en-Provence, France
April 11-13, 2002

Intonation and Interpretation: Phonetics and Phonology

Carlos Gussenhoven

Centre for Language Studies, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Intonational meaning is located in two components of language, the phonetic implementation and the intonational grammar. The phonetic implementation is widely used for the expression of universal meanings that derive from ‘biological codes’, meaning dimensions based on aspects of the production process of pitch variation. Three codes are identified, Ohala’s Frequency Code, the Effort Code and the Production Code. In each case, ‘informational’ meanings (which relate to the message) are identified, while for the first two codes also ‘affective’ meanings (relating to the state of the speaker) are discussed. Speech communities will vary in the extent to which they employ those meanings, and in the choices they make when they conflict. What they will never do, however, is change the natural form-function relations that they embody. By contrast, grammaticalised meanings often mimic the natural meanings, but linguistic change may create quite arbitrary form-meaning relations when forms are phonologised, and the semantics is systematised. English grammaticalised intonational meaning concerns information status.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Gussenhoven, Carlos (2002): "Intonation and interpretation: phonetics and phonology", In SP-2002, 47-57.