(Chapter 17)
When a tonic syllable is followed by a
tail, the tail continues and completes the
tone begun on the tonic syllable
 The easier case is that of rising and
falling tones
 The more complicated one is that with
the fall-rise and rise-fall
Fall-rise and rise-fall + a tail
Can be quite difficult to recognise when
they are extended over tails since their
characteristic pitch movements are often
broken up or distorted by the structure of
the syllables on which they occur
The pitch movement
on “some”
If a syllable is added,
the fall part of the fallrise is usually carried
by the 1st syll. and
the rise part by the
2nd: e.g. “some men”
If the continuity of voicing is broken,
i.e. if there are voiceless medial cons. to cause a
break in the voicing ...
E.g. “some chairs”
The tonal rhyme is applied ...
Just as “baloon” rhymes with “moon”,
“ some chairs” has “tonal rhyme” with
“ some”
Tail of 2 or more syllables
Normally the pitch is expected to fall on
the tonic syllable and to remain low until
the last stressed syllable in the tail. The
pitch then rises from that point up to the
end of the tone unit.
 If there is no stressed syllable in the tail,
the rise happens on the final syllable
(Roach, p.172)
Rise-fall case
If the tonic syllable is followed by a
single syllable in the tail, the rise part of
the tone takes place on the first (tonic)
syllable and the fall part on the second
(Roach, p. 173)
High and low heads
Head = all the part of a tone unit
extending from the 1st stressed syllable
up to, but not including the tonic
 Pitch contrasts have been discussed so
far only as possible choices of tone for
the tonic syllable
 However, there are different pitch
possibilities in the head as well.
High head
High head – the stressed syllable which
begins the head is high in pitch; it is
usually higher than the beginning pitch
of the tone on the tonic syllable (Roach,
p. 174)
Low head
Low head – the stressed syllable which
begins the head is low in pitch; it is
usually lower than the beginning pitch of
the tone on the tonic syllable
Unstressed syllables
It is usual for these to continue the pitch of the stressed
syllable that precedes them (Roach, p 174)
When there is more than one stressed syllable in the
head, there is usually a slight change in pitch from the
level of one stressed syllable to that of the next, the
change being in the direction of the beginning pitch of
the tone of the tonic syllable
When a high head is followed by a rise, the stressed
syllables tend to move downwards towards the
beginning pitch of the tone in the tonic syllable
The intonation pattern starting at a fairly
high pitch, with a gradual dropping down
of pitch during the utterance, is the most
basic, normal, “unmarked” intonation
pattern; this movement is often called
Used for two different purposes: to indicate
stress, either primary or secondary
 In intonation: the mark indicates the
stressed syllable in the high head and the
mark indicates the stressed syllable in the
low head
 A much more important difference is between
the tonic stress and non-tonic stressed
Intonation is carried by the stressed
syllables of a tone-unit and the pitch of
unstressed syllables is either predictable
from that of stressed syllables or is of so
little importance that it is not marked at
Problems in analysing the form of
identifying the tonic syllable:
it is the only syllable in the tone-unit
that carries a movement in pitch
a) When the tonic syllable is followed by
a tail, the tone is carried by the tonic
+ tail together so that often no pitch
movement can be detected on the
tonic syllable itself
One of the tones is the level tone so
that in such cases the tonic syllable is
identified only as the most prominent
It sometimes seems as if some toneunits contain not one but two tonic
syllables, the first having the a fall on it
and the other having a rise (R., p.177)
Identifying tone-unit boundaries
Grammar: utterances can contain one or
more sentences; the boundary between
them can be identified on grammatical
 Suprasegmental phonology:
Utterances may be divided into tone-units
that can be identified on
phonetic/phonological grounds
It is possible to detect a sudden change in
pitch level at the end of one tone-unit and the
beginning of the following (speakers tend to
“return home” to a particular pitch level to
begin the new tone-unit)
 Rhythmical grounds: within the tone-unit
speech has a regular rhythm which is broken
or interrupted at the tone-unit boundary