ENG4230 - Prosody and Intonation

Year of Study:3 or 4
Credit Units: 3
Duration: 45hours
Prerequisites: ENG1200 Introduction to Linguistics,
ENG2205 The Sound Systems of English
or with special permission from Instructor and approval by Department Head
Module Description
Speaking a language is not simply a matter of pronouncing each phonological segment in the right way. Natural languages also have rhythm, stress and intonation and are organised into prosodic units like syllables and intonational phrases. Languages use a variety of cues to indicate the internal structures of domains or units and boundaries between these units. Prosody and intonation can also provide information about the speaker’s intent by showing contrast or focus, and even about the emotional state of the speaker. This module is designed to build on ENG 2205 The Sound Systems of English and explores the dynamic fields of research into prosody and intonation, in both first and second language users. Despite the importance and the accessibility of prosody and intonation in everyday speech, the terms and tools linguists use to analyse these aspects of language are formal and technical, but because of this, they are able to reveal levels of linguistic organisation that we would otherwise take for granted. It includes introductions to Auto-segmental Phonology and Optimality Theory, two current and highly influential phonological theories. This module emphasises problem solving, and class discussions and problem sets will involve applying tools and theories covered in class to solve problems and answer questions based on real-world data sets from English and other languages. Students will also conduct a final project on a linguistic phenomenon related to prosody or intonation and present their work and findings to the class.
Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this module, students should be able to:

  1. Describe and analyse prosody, tone, pitch and intonation in human languages using established tools and theories.

  2. Describe and analyse prosodic structures, tunes and intonational contours in terms of their functions as boundary and domain markers.

  3. Describe and analyse various prosodic and intonational structures in terms of their pragmatic and discourse functions.

  4. Describe and analyse the relationships between prosodic and intonational structures and morphological and syntactic structures; describe in adequate detail the phonology/morpho-syntax interface.

  5. use e-learning platforms, such as the Moodle-based eCampus system, to participate in on-line guided class discussions, together with internet-based electronic tools for academic research.