Intonation During Casual Speech Productions

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Intonation during casual speech productions can be observed at the discourse level using auditory analysis (Chun, 2002). In practice, speakers can utilise falling or rising intonations to represent various speech realisations such as statements, commands and/or explanations (Cruttendon, 1981). Speakers’ intonation choice may be situation-specific and used as an entity of expression to generate meaning within particular groups of words (Chun, 2002). Interpretations of speakers’ speech style using statistical analyses have been the main focus in previous literatures, providing fruitful evidence on both pitch and linguistic variation and the relations to a more positive or negative connotation within languages. Henton (1989) demonstrated that the pitch level in linguistic variation could carry underlying connotations (positive or negative) such that in male speech, if expressed with low pitch, rumbling, under-expressive and monotonous, can be expressive of a more negative connotation within the speech context. Subsequent studies addressed speakers’ abilities to accommodate sociophonetic speech to produce variants that are more similarly associated with the social characteristics of the audience (Bell, 1984), or a referee (Hay, Jannedy & Mendoza-Denton, 1999). Hay et al., (1999) attempted to demonstrate the prevalence of an interplay between speech style and the ethnic background of a referee by examining Oprah Winfrey’s speech tendencies to monophthongise the diphthong /æ/.

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