in touch with real speech
In touch with real speech

Tone

Speakers have a choice of five tones: two with final downward glides (fall & rise-fall) two with final rising glides (rise & fall-rise) and a non-glide, the level tone. These tones are demonstrated below on the word ‘then’ (the example is taken from Streaming Speech Chapter 10).

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Tones on a monosyllable

The fall and rise-fall are 'proclaiming' tones which add the increment of meaning 'I am telling you this' to the tone-units in which they occur.

The rise and fall-rise tones are 'referring' tones which add the increment of meaning 'I assume that this is part of our shared experience'.

The level tone opts out of the proclaiming/referring choice, and signifies that the speaker has a focus on the wording which he/she is compiling, rather than on interpersonal interactivity.

Tones over many syllables

The examples above have tones on a monosyllable. But as you can hear below, the tone may be spread as many as eight syllables.

Below is a section of a recording which shows the whole range of tones, and below that a table which explains the DI meanings of the occurrence of each tone.

All tones exemplified