14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Intonation in English, Finnish and French: Ethology versus Typology?

Riitta Välimaa-Blum

Université de Lille 3 and CNRS-ESA 7018, France

Vaissière proposes that the fundamental intonational shapes across languages are motivated by biology, psychology and ethology so that there is one basic, archetypal prosodic configuration - a rise followed by a fall - and all other patterns are derived from this one shape. At the same time, Donegan and Stampe argue that the general intonational type of a language - rising or falling - is the result of the intimate interaction of the global typological characteristics of that language. In this paper, we compare the typologies of English, Finnish and French and conclude that the two views of the origins of the intonational universals are based on the fact that intonation may express two different kinds of information simultaneously, one superposed on the other.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Välimaa-Blum, Riitta (1999): "Intonation in English, Finnish and French: ethology versus typology?", In ICPhS-14, 301-304.