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Style, Mediation, and Change

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Style, Mediation, and Change "Offers a coherent view of style as a unifying concept for the sociolinguistics of talking media."

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Intonation and Prosodic Structure

By Caroline Féry

Intonation and Prosodic Structure "provides a state-of-the-art survey of intonation and prosodic structure."

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Academic Paper

Title: Musicking in Speaking or Speaking in Musicking (kOthay Sure Othoba Sure kOthay)
Paper URL:
Author: Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: La Filológica por la Causa
Linguistic Field: Phonetics
Subject Language: Bengali
Abstract: Existing literature on gauging intonational contours in Linguistics mainly depends on the three parameters (High, Mid, Low) to be determined by the trained ears of the Phoneticians. Though there are software and machines for analyzing sound waves that does not provide us with a generalized picture of intonational contours with specific reference points along with calculated intervals. These parameters as reference points for intonational contours do not tell us anything as none exactly knows the proportionate distances or intervals among such naïve parameters. This paper deals with the differAnce (a la Derrida) between so-called normal speech and music. The author, for the time being, is deferring the difference between speech and music. Though the melody of music is 'heavy' and the melody of speaking is 'light', still both of them follows the same algorithm - the algorithm of do1, re, mi, fa, so(l), la, ti and do2, i.e., the ad hoc hypothesis is that, any normal speech falls within the octave that has a definite range. If the lower DO 1 is x, upper Sa DO 2 is 2x and this x to 2x octave range is considered as y, the intermediate noticeable frequency-points, as per musical system, are 22. Therefore, the point of concentration is Y/22. In a scale y that has a range of x to 2x (i.e., any points on y, say yp, satisfies the relation x >yp <2x). And the interval between two notes follows logarithmic pattern as the gap between two notes (say yp and yq ) is 2 multiplied by root over 22 (please note the human love for binary-figures in the formulated representation). Thus, this hypothesis leads to an activity - i.e., making notation of “normal” speech to understand the intonation pattern of speaking vis a vis musicking. However, it does not pay any heed to something called '(word-) stress'. In this paper, the status of word in a sentence or discourse is contested. . What is 'word' 'really', especially in this type of pre-lexical studies? To the author, 'word' is a culture-specific concept or rather citation form, which has only visual representation - there is no such representation in the game of speaking. A literate speaking subject, in his/her printing culture, has only a visual memory of word. If word is to be defined as a something in between two spaces (grounds), the boundaries of word depend on the particular literate community's way of manipulating blank spaces in their printing/writing. At the moment of speaking, from the subject’s position, it is not word-stress, but it is rather a harmony of a discourse, which s/he is expressing as a continuum without ontologically being conscious about the grammarians’ order of things (different levels of language, viz. phoneme, morpheme, word, phrase, sentence..). As word does not exist, the word-stress is also an absentee at the moment of speaking. It is meaningless to account stress by isolating a 'word' from the speech continuum. When, in Linguistics, intonation pattern is attested by surveying a sample population, a crucial variable of that particular community is totally ignored. That is their cultural audio-exposure to the unintended sounds or non-discursive sonority (that is, the noises, music, and rhythm of the habitat or the non-discursive sounds in which the particular population inhabits). It is not possible to gauge the intonation pattern of particular speech community without noticing this context-specificity of non-discursive sonority. This work considers this non-discursive sonority as one of the variables (other variables are age and gender and speed of speech, speech Act) for attesting intonation.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Venue: Kolkata, W.Bengal, India
Publication Info: Kalodhvani, XXIII:2, pp.52-57
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