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  • The phonology of tone and intonation
  • Mary E. Beckman
The phonology of tone and intonation. By Carlos Gussenhoven. (Research surveys in linguistics.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Pp. 355. ISBN 0521012007. $43.

This book is the second in a new Cambridge University Press series that is intended 'to provide an efficient overview and entry into the primary literature' on 'topics of significant theoretical interest in which there has been a proliferation of research in the last two decades' (ii). The phonology of tone and intonation is without question such a topic. The patent inadequacy of the early rule-focused GENERATIVE PHONOLOGY framework for modeling the tunes of words and larger utterances in any language was fundamental in both the development of the AUTOSEGMENTAL PHONOLOGY framework in the late 1970s and the later unification of tone tier representations with comparably direct representations of metrical structure in what Ladd (1996) termed the AUTOSEGMENTAL METRICAL (AM) model. Moreover, the proliferation of research that began in the late 1970s continues apace. For example, there has been a satellite workshop on intonation at each International Congress of Phonetic Sciences since the 1995 congress in Stockholm, and there are now at least two regular biennial meetings with almost completely nonoverlapping audiences, the Cross-Linguistic Studies of Tonal Phenomena symposia at Tokyo Gaikokugo Daigaku and the Speech Prosody conferences. The volume of research on this topic is far too large for a single book-length overview, and an appropriate way to evaluate this book is to review the choices that Gussenhoven makes in order to reduce it to a manageable size.

One choice that G makes is to divide his research survey into two parts, with the first eight chapters introducing basic concepts and tools and the last seven applying them in case studies of specific language varieties. Three of the eight introductory chapters provide short tutorials on reading fundamental frequency (F0) contours (Ch. 1) and on the ways in which the measurement and synthetic manipulation of F0 figure in analyses of tone scaling and pitch-range specification (Ch. 5) and of downtrends (Ch. 6). Ch. 3 is an overview of the different ways in which tone patterns figure in lexical contrasts; it introduces concepts such as the minimal tone-bearing unit (TBU) and autosegmental association of tones to TBU. Ch. 4 then reviews arguments for using the same concepts in the description of utterance-level tone patterns. Some of these arguments are prefigured in Ch. 2, which describes how AM models treat stress in relationship to tone association in languages such as Standard Dutch. Ch. 7 ties these topics together in a recap of how the AM model grew out of Bruce's (1977) description of Swedish sentence tunes and Pierrehumbert's descriptions of the English and Japanese intonation systems (Pierrehumbert 1980, Pierrehumbert & Beckman 1988). Ch. 8 introduces concepts from the optimality theory (OT) framework that G adopts in reanalyzing results of earlier studies of the specific languages covered in the second part of the book. As this list of introductory chapter topics suggests, the guiding principle is to concentrate more on the phonology of intonation than on the phonology of tone. Indicative of this choice is that none of Chs. 9–15 covers a prototypical tone language from either of the clusters covered in the two chapters on tone in Goldsmith 1995. In fact, four of these seven chapters deal with dialects of Germanic.

A second choice is to look primarily at constraints from the morphology and syntax of scripted sentences and turn pairs, without considering interactions with constraints from information structure that can be studied only in more natural discourse contexts. Indicative of this choice is the omission of any citations to corpus studies such as Schafer et al. 2000 or Fletcher & Harrington 2001 and Mushin et al. 2003. A consequence of this choice is G's very informal [End Page 641] treatment of effects of information structure on prosodic phrasing, pitch-range specification, and downtrends in the case studies in the second part of the book. For example, G specifies the prosodic expression of narrow focus in Japanese in terms of an OT constraint that aligns the beginning of the focus...


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