Intonation (definition)

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Intonation refers to the pitch patterns of a spoken language and is often characterized as a language's melodic quality. Aside from reflecting the speaker's emotions or intent, intonation is known to offer insight about an utterance's particular syntax. For example, intonation can change as a function of politeness and certainty, and serves syntactic functions like indicating a question (i.e. intonation rises at the end of a phrase to mark a question in English).

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  • Ladefoged, D. (2010) A Course in Phonetics. 6th Edition. Wadsworth Publishing.