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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton December 14, 2015

On the intonational features of yes/no interrogatives in English and Montenegrin

Sandra Vukasojević

Abstract

This paper outlines the results of an analysis of syntactically marked yes/no interrogatives in American English and Montenegrin from the persepctive of intonation. The analysis, based on the theoretical framework of Autosegmental-Metrical Phonology and the use of the computer software package Praat, treats issues regarding the different types of pitch contours and boundary tones at the end of yes/no interrogatives, gathered from various American and Montenegrin TV talk shows. Particularly, it focuses on specific intonational constituents, which indicate and clarify the alternative meanings of these questions. Having in mind the very nature of TV talk shows, which are seen as a part of a semi-institutionalized discourse, we start from the assumption that one type of intonation contour will be the prevailing one in yes/no interrogatives in both languages. Furthermore, all melodic deviations within these structures will influence and modify their basic meaning. The findings partially confirm our hypothesis, indicating a difference in the terminal contour between the two languages.

Received: 2015-1-23
Revised: 2015-5-6
Accepted: 2015-11-19
Published Online: 2015-12-14

©2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston