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date: 25 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Intonation refers to pitch patterns in speech that convey information beyond lexical meanings. In a tone language, pitch is already used to represent lexical tones. An obvious question is how it is possible for it to also carry intonation. A widespread idea is that tones are like small ripples riding on large intonation waves. This chapter summarizes the scientific findings that, though consistent with this view, show specific mechanisms that allow tone and intonation to coexist. Importantly, an adequate understanding of intonation is achievable only if we take into account articulatory mechanisms and communicative functions. The chapter first outlines the basic mechanisms of pitch production, which serves as the basis of explaining how intonational melody can be realized in parallel with tones. The intonational components are then introduced in terms of their functions with specific communicative meanings. The relation between these functions are then discussed.

Keywords: intonation, tone, pitch patterns, articulatory mechanisms, communicative functions

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