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      Towards an International Prosodic Alphabet (IPrA)

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          In this article we present a set of arguments in favor of having access to two levels of prosodic representation, broad phonetic and phonological, and the motivations for developing a set of cross-linguistically transparent and consistent labels (e.g., an International Prosodic Alphabet, IPrA) based on the Autosegmental-Metrical (AM) framework and the ToBI notation. Regarding segmental phonology, as well as lexical suprasegmentals (lexical tone and stress), both the use of two levels of representation and the existence of an international phonetic alphabet have proved to be very useful. The same benefits of adopting these conventions are likely to accrue in the study of intonation.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Surface and Structure: Transcribing Intonation within and across Languages

           Sonia Frota (2016)
          Intonation is the phonologically structured variation in phonetic features, primarily pitch, to express phrase-level meanings. As in other speech sound domains, analyzing intonation involves mapping continuously variable physical parameters to categories. The categories of intonation are organized in a set of relations and rule-governed distributions that define the intonation system of a language. From physical realizations, as shown by pitch tracks, surface or phonetic tonal patterns can be identified in terms of tonal targets. Whether surface patterns correspond or not to categories within a given intonation system requires looking at their distributions and contrastiveness. In this paper, I assume the view that a transcription is an analysis of the intonation system, which ultimately aims to identify the contrastive intonation categories of a given language and establish how they signal meaning. Under this view, it is crucial to discuss the ways surface pitch patterns and structural pitch patterns (or phonological categories) are related. Given that intonational analysis is driven by system-internal considerations and that cues to a given category can vary across languages, it is also important to address the issue of how a language-specific transcription can be reconciled with the need and ability to do cross-language comparison of intonation. Bearing on these two issues, I discuss surface and structure in intonational analysis, drawing on mismatches between (dis)similarities in the phonetics and phonology of pitch contours, across languages and language varieties.
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            Analytical Decisions in Intonation Research and the Role of Representations: Lessons from Romani

            This paper presents an analysis of the intonational system of Greek Thrace Romani. The analysis serves to highlight the difficulties that spontaneous fieldwork data pose for traditional methods of intonational research largely developed for use with controlled speech elicited in the laboratory or under laboratory-like conditions from educated speakers of standardized languages. It leads to proposing a set of principles and procedures which can help deal with the variability inherent in spontaneous data; these principles and procedures apply particularly to data from less homogeneous speech communities but are relevant for the intonation analysis of any linguistic system. This approach relies on the understanding that autosegmental-metrical representations of intonation are phonological representations, not means of faithfully depicting pitch contours per se. It follows that representations should capture what is contrastive in the intonational system under analysis. In turn, this entails that new categories are posited, taking the meaning of tonal events into account and after due consideration of all legitimate sources of phonetic variation. It is argued that following this procedure allows for more robust analyses and is particularly advantageous when data are highly variable. This view is discussed in light of the analysis of Greek Thrace Romani, and in combination with recent proposals for greater uniformity and phonetic transparency in intonational representations, traits which are said to lead to greater insights in typological and cross-varietal research. It is shown that these goals are not better served by a level of broad phonetic transcription which encodes an arbitrary selection of phonetic variants.
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              The surface-compositional semantics of English intonation

               Mark Steedman (2014)

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                Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology
                Ubiquity Press
                30 June 2016
                : 7
                : 1
                University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US
                ICREA-Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
                Copyright: © 2016 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See

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