Book: Phonology in Systemic Functional Linguistics
Chapter: Level is Also Significant: Pitch Level Choices
Within SFL and as already mentioned in Chapter 3, pitch level has been described in its textual role of organizing the structure of texts, signalling beginnings and endings of topics or ideas. But from a more macro perspective, the overall pitch span speakers adopt in their texts has sociolinguistic implications as regards projected identities such as gender and ethnicity, among others. Overall pitch span can also depend on different speaking situations or environments. In a micro analysis, moment-by-moment choices in pitch level can build different kinds of meanings, as ‘upjumps’ (or ‘downjumps’) in pitch can highlight expressions, and can project particular meanings at different points in the tone unit.