INTONATION PATTERNS
IN POLISH AND ENGLISH
by
Joanna Rutkowska
Marzena Raczkowska
prepared on the basis of
Marek, B., Intonation and Emphasis in
Polish and English, PSICL 3
Demenko G., Badania intonacji na
potrzeby technologii mowy, WN-UAM 1999
Intonation
The intonation of a sentence is the
pattern of pitch changes that occurs
during the utterance of the sentence.
Presentation of the
approach
The most popular approach in the studies on
intonation is so-called BRITISH SCHOOL.
According to this approach there are three types
of pitch patterns:
-low ( L )
-high ( H )
-middle ( M )
English nuclear tones can be defined in terms of
those three kinds of pitch.
In our presentation we will try to compare Polish
and English nuclear tones in terms of these
pitch patterns.
To refresh your memory...
a tone group (fraza intonacyjna) consists of
pre-head
head
nucleus (the syllable which carries the main change in
pitch)
tail
[prehead [ head [[ nucleus] tail ]]]
220
60
0
Oh, I’m SO glad to see you
Time (s)
3.68717
Types of nuclear tones falls: HL
 high-low (HL)
Pol. Znowu ten wariat.
Eng. not present
450
50
0
This
freak
Time (s)
a
gain
1.61828
450
50
0
1.242
Znowu ten
Time (s)
wariat
Types of nuclear tones falls: ML and HM
 middle-low (ML)
Pol. Bardzo zły znak.
Eng. I don't believe it.
 high-middle (HM)
Pol. To nie jest najlepsza poradnia.
Eng. What did you do?
Types of nuclear tones falls: xL
50
0
1.61828
Time (s)
450
 extra-low (xL)
50
Pol. Mówiłem
ci, że to jest kiepski nawóz.
0
Time (s)
Eng. not present
1.242
450
50
0
I
3.04531
told you this was not a good fertiliser.
Time (s)
450
50
0
1.54304
Mówiłam ci, że to jest kiepski nawóz.
Time (s)
Types of nuclear tonesrises: LM, LH
 low-middle (LM)
Pol. Byłeś tu już?
Eng. Try not to be late.
 middle-high (MH)
Pol. not present
Eng. Why don't I write to the secretary, did you say?
 low-high (LH)
Pol. Co mówiłeś?
Eng. It isn't as bad as all that.
Types of nuclear tones
(intonacje rdzenne) - other
COMPLEX TONES
 low-high-low (LHL) or middle-high-low (MHL)
Pol. not present
Eng. It's ridiculous.
 high-low-high (HLH) or middle-low-high (MLH)
Pol. not present
Eng. No one wants to force you to play.
LEVEL TONES
 middle-middle (MM)
Pol. Dwa miasta .
Eng. Two cities.
Differences between
nuclear tones in different l-s
Some of the above listed phenomena are
universal for different languages
However, certain languages show
considerable differences in their use of
nuclear tones
STRUCTURAL DIFFERENCES
REALISATIONAL DIFFERENCES
SEMANTIC DIFFERENCES
STRUCTURAL
DIFFERENCES
Some types of nuclear tones (structures of
pitch patterns) are present only in some
languages
e.g.
English HLH nuclear tone is not
present in Polish
REALISATIONAL
DIFFERENCES
Similar intonation patterns appear in
different languages, but they are realized in
different ways. For example, LM tone is
realized differently in English and in Polish:
In Polish the increase of fundamental frequency
occurs most often at the end of a phrase
in English it can occur at the beginning of a
phrase
REALISATIONAL
DIFFERENCES - illustration
50
0
3.04531
Time (s)
450
In English
Polish the
theincrease
increaseofoffundamental
fundamentalfrequency
frequency
occurs
can
occur
most
at often
the beginning
at the end
of of
a phrase
a phrase
50
0
1.54304
Time (s)
450
50
0
Have
you
been
Time (s)
2.88399
there?
450
50
0
1.6839
Pytasz dlaczegoTime
nie(s) piszę do sekretarki?
SEMANTIC
DIFFERENCES
Intonation patterns can be structurally similar,
but they can have different meaning. For
example, LH pattern can mean different things
in Polish and in English
In English LH does not indicate a question. In the
expression
It isn't as bad as all that
LH pattern indicates opposition
In Polish the expression
Wcale nie jest znowu taka zła
would be probably realized with falling intonation
pattern of HL type.
SEMANTIC
DIFFERENCES - illustration
50
1.242
0
1.7312
Time (s)
3.04531
In English
Polish, opposition
LH does not
is expressed
indicate a question.
by
falling
It
indicates
intonation
opposition.
pattern of HL type.
450
50
1.54304
0
It isn't as bad as all that
2.05819
Time (s)
450
50
2.88399
0
1.7312
Wcale nie jest znowu taka zła
Time (s)
FOCUS
Focus is a specification assigned to an
element of a semantic structure before
the latter enters any postsemantic
processes, and which can later be
manifested in the surface structure by
means of a nucleus placed on a
corresponding element.
Focus assignement in
neutral sentences -1
In case of the ”neutral sentences” the
focus is assigned according to the
following rules:
1 If the semantic structure contains only
one root and this root is a verb root,
then this verb root receives the feature
FOC (focus)
V root ---- V root FOC
Eg. It's [[rain]ROOTing]VERB
Rules for focus
assignement (ns) - 2
2 The FOC is assigned to an action verb
root if the semantic structure contains this
verb root and an agent noun root
act V root ---- act V root FOC/ agent noun root
eg. [David]NOUN [[laugh]ROOTed]VERB.
Rules for focus
assignement (ns) - 3
3 If the semantic structure
contains a patient and
a beneficiary or an agent noun root
the feature FOC will usually be assigned to the
patient.
patient N root ---- patient N root FOC/benef.,agent
eg. [Mary]AGENT opened [the box]PATIENT.
Rules for focus
assignement (ns) - 4
4 A location noun root, if present, will
always have the feature FOC ( except for
sentences with existential "there”
loc N root ---- loc N root FOC
eg. A book is on [the table]LOCATION N ROOT.
(as opposed to: There is a book on the table.)
Focus assignement in
Polish neutral sentences
The principle of FOC assignement seems to hold
true for Polish, eg.
Pada.
V root ---- V root FOC
Ściemnia się.
V root ---- V root FOC
Janek zaśmiał się. Act V root ---- act V root FOC/ agt N root
Janek wylał mleko. pat N root ---- pat N root FOC/ben, agt
Książka leży na stole. loc N root ---- loc N root FOC
EMPHASIS
Intonation can serve as a means of
expressing emphasis.
The semantic structure of an utterance
determines the intonation which this
utterance receives in the phonetic
representation.
The nature of emphasis is basically the
same in Polish and English.
Emphasis - examples
1a. 'Roger is a teacher.
1b. Roger is a teacher.
2a. 'Robert jest Ang likiem.
2b. Robert jest Ang likiem.
3a. Ma rysia jest tan cerką.
3b. Ma rysia jest tan cerką.
Sentences of each pair differ in meaning.
1b, 2b and 3b express a contrast which is
absent or less obvious in 1a, 2a ,3a.
Contrastive and emotive
emphasis
 Now look at the examples:
1a. It’s beautiful!
1b. Jak tu ślicznie!
2a. Roger is a teacher.
2b. Roger jest nauczy cielem.
3a. Roger is a teacher.
3b. Roger jest nauczy cielem.
 All the above sentences can be interpreted as emphatic.
It can be also seen that the list contains examples for
both contrastive and emotive emphasis.
Focus shift in emphatic
sentences
The context may sometimes require a shift
of FOC from the neutral position of
”neutral sentences" and place it on some
other element of the semantic structure.
Such a shift produces emphasis.
The rule for EMPH
assignement
The feature EMPH is placed on focus
in contrastive and emotive sentences.
The nature of emphasis is basically
the same in Polish and English
X FOC ---- X EMPH/ contr
X FOC ---- X EMPH/ emot
Emphasis - illustration
450
50
0
Time (s)
It’s beautiful
1.43234
450
50
0
Jak
tu
śli
cz
Time (s)
nie
1.17424
Conclusion
The nature of emphasis and the principle
underlying intonation assignement are basically
the same in Polish and English.
X FOC ---- X EMPH/ emot
[Listen]FOC everybody! [Mary]FOC has arrived!
Patrzcie państwo! Marysia przyjechała!
X FOC ---- X EMPH/ contr
Roger is a teacher.
Roger jest nauczycielem.
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INTONATION PATTERNS IN POLISH AND ENGLISH