Intonation: Theory, Models, and Applications

Athens, Greece
September 18-20, 1997


Intonation: Past, Present, Future

Mario Rossi

Laboratoire CNRS Parole et Langage, Université de Provence, Aix en Provence, France

This is not a catalogue nor a history of past and present intonation studies. I tried to reconstruct the theoretical background likely to explain some of the features of present intonation theories and models. The exponential growth of prosodic studies, from the middle of sixties till now, was prepared by pioneering ideas in the field of form, content and methodology. These views (requirement for a theory and/or model, frameworks for intonation studies) together with the strength of the I intend neither to draw up an inventory nor to relate the history of the past and present publications on intonation. Partial or exhaustive references can be consulted in Leon et Martin (1970), Di Cristo (1975), Gibbon (1976), Hirst and Di Cristo (forthcoming), Rossi et al. (1981), Selkirk (1984), Cruttenden (1986), Ladd (1996). It would require a huge amount of useless effort to go back and look for past prosodic or intonative studies, which have been increasing, exponentially in number over the years. If we take international conferences and congresses as fairly good indicators of the scientists' interest in a given topic, it is interesting to note that between the third international congress of Apart from the pivotal report by Pike on The grammar of intonation, only four papers on prosody were presented, twenty six years later, at the 5th ICPhS of Münster in 1964; seven papers can be found in the Proceedings of the 6th ICPhs in Prague, so that in his keynote on « The present-day tasks of the phonetic sciences », Dennis Fry was compelled to complain about such a situation, claiming that the study of prosodic features in speech had to be «one of our present-day tasks». His exact words were: Prague School and of the more concrete approach of American structuralism shed some light on the present trends of the field of intonation. The main tasks for the future of intonation studies are briefly outlined. Details will be given at the Conference about the relationships and the amount of overlapping between theories, and about the main results obtained at the present time and the tasks for the future.

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Bibliographic reference.  Rossi, Mario (1997): "Intonation: past, present, future", In INT-1997, 1-10.