1. Functions of intonation

All vocal languages use pitch pragmatically in intonation — for instance for emphasis, to convey surprise or irony, or to pose a question. Tonal languages such as Chinese and Hausa use intonation in addition to using pitch for distinguishing words.

Many writers have attempted to produce a list of distinct functions of intonation. Perhaps the longest was that of W.R.Lee who proposed ten. J.C. Wells and E.Couper-Kuhlen both put forward six functions. Wells's list is given below; the examples are not his:

1. Attitudinal function - for expressing emotions and attitudes.
example: a fall from a high pitch on the 'mor' syllable of "good morning" suggests more excitement than a fall from a low pitch

2. Grammatical function - to identify grammatical structure.
example: it is claimed that in English a falling pitch movement is associated with statements, but a rising pitch turns a statement into a yes–no question, as in He's going homeThis use of intonation is more typical of American English than of British. 
It is claimed that some languages, like Chickasaw and Kalaallisut, have the opposite pattern from English: rising for statements and falling with questions.

3. Focusing - to show what information in the utterance is new and what is already known.
example: in English I saw a man in the garden answers "Whom did you see?" or "What happened?", while I saw a man in the garden answers "Did you hear a man in the garden?"

4. Discourse function - to show how clauses and sentences go together in spoken discourse.
example: subordinate clauses often have lower pitch, faster tempo and narrower pitch range than their main clause, as in the case of the material in parentheses in "The Red Planet (as it's known) is fourth from the sun"

5. Psychological function - to organize speech into units that are easy to perceive, memorize and perform.
example: the utterance "You can have it in red blue green yellow or black" is more difficult to understand and remember than the same utterance divided into tone units as in "You can have it in red | blue | green | yellow | or black"

6. Indexical function - to act as a marker of personal or social identity.
example: group membership can be indicated by the use of intonation patterns adopted specifically by that group, such as street vendors or preachers. The so-called high rising terminal, where a statement ends with a high rising pitch movement, is said to be typical of younger speakers of English, and possibly to be more widely found among young female speakers.
It is not known whether such a list would apply to other languages without alteration.

2. Discourse phonology

A. Definition of Discourse - any coherent succession of sentences, spoken or (in most usage) written. Thus this entry in the dictionary is an example of discourse; likewise a novel; likewise a speech by a politician or a lecture to students; likewise an interview or any other series of speech events in which successive sentences or utterances hang together. Often equivalent to text.

Already the term ‘discourse’ is seen to be being used extremely diversely, both within linguistics (and its subdisciplines) and within other areas of the social sciences and humanities, particularly sociology (historical reasons for this are dealt with by Hodge, 1984). So while it will always be possible to find the term being used in other ways, a basic definition can be given as follows. ‘Discourse,’ as a mass noun only, and in its rather strict linguistic sense, refers to connected speech or writing occurring at suprasentential levels (at levels greater than the single sentence).  

B. Usage in linguistic - the methods of formal linguistics could be used to understand how sentences are connected, and not simply the formal structure which exists within the sentence itself.  However, most discourse analysts these days prefer to work with naturally occurring data (actual talk, actual texts) and to pursue the local-contextual features and social functions of them rather than their purely ‘linguistic’ properties.  In this sense, a focus on discourse entails a shift in linguistics away from competence and the langue and towards performance and paroles.

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