LINGUIST List 7.475

Thu Mar 28 1996

Sum: Intonation in English of Cantonese and Mandarin speakers

Editor for this issue: Ljuba Veselinova <>


  1. Richard Badger {CELT}, Intonation in English of Cantonese and

Message 1: Intonation in English of Cantonese and

Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 20:44:42 GMT
From: Richard Badger {CELT} <>
Subject: Intonation in English of Cantonese and

Some time ago I posted a question on the use of intonation in English
with particular reference to speakers of Cantonese and Mandarin. I
received some very useful comments from the following people

"Karen S. Chung" ,>
David Deterding
Ken N o s t a l g i a>
Malcolm Ross Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific and
 Asian Studies, Australian National University
Julia McGory
Lucy Elliott. Morsegrove.ufl.EDU
Su-Hsun Tsai

The first part of my query related to intonation and so I will
summarize the model of intonation I am using.

The model with which I am working was devised by the late David Brazil
of Birmingham University. In this description intonation is used to
mark a piece of information as either given by the use of a referring
tone, or new, by the use of a proclaiming tone. A referring tone is
normally a fall-rise but, if marked, can be a simple rise. A
proclaiming tone is usually a simple fall but can, if marked, be
signalled by a rise-fall.

This model is not that widely known. The impression that I get from
the messages I received is that there are several broadly similar
descriptions of the intonation in use in different parts of the
world. As a result of this the list of references with which I was
provided was very wide and there were many names that I did not
know. This was extremely useful. I am still at the stage of gathering
references but at first sight it seems that there is quite a lot of
overlap between the different models. I have listed
 the references relating to the description of intonation below.

The following references are to do with general descriptions of
intonation in English. They come mainly from my correspondents and not
all have been checked.

Bolinger, D. (1985) _Intonation and its parts_ London: Edward Arnold
Brazil, D. (1989) _The Communicative Value of Intonation in English_
Birmingham: English Language Research (University of Birmingham)
Brazil, D., M.Coulthard & C.Johns (1990) _Discourse, intonation and Language
Teaching_ London:Longman
Dalton, C, & Seidlhoffer B (1994) _Pronunciation_ Oxford: Oxford
 University Press
Gilbert, J. (1984) _Clear Speech_ Cambridge: CUP.

The second part of my inquiry related to the use of intonation by
speakers of Cantonese and Mandarin. Several correspondents provided
interesting information from their own experience and there were also
some useful references.

Backman, N. (1979) *Intonation errors in the second language pronunication
 of eight Spanish speaking adults learning English. _Interlanguage
 Studies Bulletin_ 4:239-66
Beckman, M. & J. Pierrehumbert (1986) *Intonational structure in Japanese
and English*. _Phonology Yearbook_ 3: 15-70
Chiang T. (1979) *Some interference of EnglishIntonation with Chinese
 Tones *_IRAL_ 17(3) 245-250.
Deterding, D. (1994) *The Intonation of Singapore English* Journal of the
 International Phonetic Association - forthcoming
Clancy, P. (1995) "Psycholinguistics, language acquisition and Japanese
 discourse." _Japanese Discourse_, 1. Rutgers University Japanese
 Language Publications. 35-45.
Hewings, M. 1995 *The Englsh Intonation of Native speakers and Indonesion
 Learners: A Comparative Study _RELC Journal_ 26(1) 27-43
Pierrehumbert, J. & J.Hirshberg (1990) *The meaning of intonational contours
in discourse* in P.Cohen, J.Morgan & M.Pollack (eds) _Intentions in
Communication_ Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Wennerstrong, A (1994) Intonational Meaning in English Discourse _Applied
 Linguistics_ 399-420.
Willems, N. (1982) _English Intonation from a Dutch Point of View_
 Dordrecht: Foris Publications.

I was also referred to the following authors but have no more details:

Best C.,
Werker & Tees,

Many thanks to all who replied to my initial inquiry.

I am now in the process of collecting data and will post a summary of
my findings in due course.
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