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Book: Prosody in Practice

Chapter: What is Prosody and What Did Early Phonetics Make of it?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.40464


This chapter provides a working definition and exemplification of the prosodic elements of speech, focusing on the pitch and intonation characteristics which dominate investigations in the field, and including loudness, tempo, rhythm and pause. It shows that, within the overall trajectory of modern phonetics, prosodic characteristics have indeed been neglected compared to segmental aspects, and it will indicate how and why this neglect came about. It outlines the relatively limited set of prosodic functions which were typically identified in earlier work, and the extent to which those functions were seen as important or otherwise in communication.

Chapter Contributors

  • Joan Rahilly ( - ehehjrah) 'Queen's University Belfast'