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Formal intonative analysis


Phonological representation

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Celeste LC, Reis C. Formal intonative analysis: intsint applied to Portuguese. J. of Speech Sci. [Internet]. 2021 Feb. 4 [cited 2024 Jun. 25];2(2):3-21. Available from:


There is a general consensus among scholars that one same sentence can be said in different ways. This consensus, however, falls apart when the issues are discussed related to the efficiency of prosody in allowing us to say the very same sequence of segments with different meanings. According to Hirst (1987) e t’Hartet. al. (1990) the difficulties of transcribing prosody overcome the difficulties of transcribing the segmental. They argue that in order to investigate how the melody contributes to the overall understanding of an enunciation a metalanguage was required through which the phenomenon can be discussed. The vocabulary of this metalanguage must consist of appropriate descriptive units through which it is possible to speak of entities and structures at various levels of observation. The semi-automatic analysis, by means of the programs MOMEL and INTSINT, was used in the description of some intonational languages such as: French (di Cristo, 2011), British English (Auran, Bouzon and Hirst, 2004; Brierley, 2011) and analysis of the Brazilian Portuguese rhythm by means of manual INTSINT (Gonçalves, 2000). The present study aims to determine if the program of semi-automatic intonational analysis - INTSINT - is capable of reproduce melodic variation trends of the Brazilian Portuguese. In our proposal, the effectiveness of the program to differentiate between declarative and interrogative forms during reading was evaluated. The following hypotheses were raised: (I) the analysis of intonation with the program INTSINT allows the choice of different phonological theories regarding the use of entonative units;(II) it is possible to distinguish between declarative and interrogative forms by means of coded target points to Brazilian Portuguese. An explanatory analysis of the codification performed by MOMELINTSINT was performed. The corpus of this study consists of 10 short texts, with approximately five sentences that were read by 10 people of the female sex, aged 20-30 years. The acoustic analysis of the data was performed using the program Praatversion 4.4.27, available at (Weenink and Boersma, 1997 ,i contains the necessary extensions for the implementation of the programs MOMEL / INTSINT. These last ones are freely available on the site The high beginning was common for the declarative and interrogative modalities. This fact was represented by the first target point, coded as T, or the second target point, coded as M; but followed by H, T or U. Nevertheless, they differ at the end of the unit: in interrogative sentences, a sharp increase represented by the symbols T and H can be observed just before the final fall. In declarative sentences it is possible to perceive a rise is followed by a downfall, but not as much and not as systematically as in the interrogative sentences. Far from closing the discussion on intonation units and in the chosen modalities for this study,our initial goal of evaluating the behavior of the program INTSINT against pitch variations was reached. We conclude that the program INTSINT is able to transmit trends and also the general melodic pattern of F0 curve.


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Copyright (c) 2012 Leticia Corrêa Celeste, Cassius Reis


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