Intonation in Northern Vietnamese

Marc Brunelle, 1 , Kiều Phương Hạ, 2 ,  and Martine Grice, 2
  • 1 University of Ottawa
  • 2 Universität zu Köln


Languages employ a range of different means for realizing communicative functions, including word choice, morpho-syntax and prosody. The relative weight of each of these means varies cross-linguistically. In this paper, we look at the role of intonation in the realization of communicative functions in Northern Vietnamese, a language with a complex lexical tone system. Our results, which are based on systematically controlled data, show that there are a number of acoustic strategies for realizing communicative functions, predominantly based on global f0 and intensity and local sentence-final f0. These strategies are subject to a great degree of speaker variation, although this variation appears to be consistent with intonational universals as reflected in biological codes.

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The Linguistic Review publishes high-quality papers in syntax, semantics, phonology and morphology within a framework of Generative Grammar and related disciplines, as well as critical discussions of theoretical linguistics as a branch of cognitive psychology. The journal welcomes reviews of important new monographs in these areas, dissertation abstracts and letters to the editor.