15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003


Pitch Contours in Negative Sentences

Nancy Hedberg, Juan M. Sosa

Simon Fraser University, Canada

This paper presents the results of a study of the intonation of negative sentences in a corpus of spontaneous interactive English speech. First, we found more instances of a high pitch accent marking the negative morpheme or auxiliary suffixed with contracted not than has been found in other interactive corpora. Only forms of the auxiliary do with contracted negation showed any likelihood to be unaccented or marked with a low pitch accent. Secondly, we found more rising or level tunes in negative as compared to positive declarative sentences. There were a relatively large number of rising L*LH% tunes in the negative sentences and none in the positive sentences. We identified this tune as the 'contradiction contour' and found that while it occurs on some contradictions in our data, not all contradictions are marked by this tune since some end with falling tunes.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Hedberg, Nancy / Sosa, Juan M. (2003): "Pitch contours in negative sentences", In ICPhS-15, 627-630.