A perceptual study of melodic cues to 'finality'

M.G.J. Swerts, D.G. Bouwhuis, R.P.G. Collier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


One of the possible functions of intonation is its capacity to clarify textual structure. It may, for instance, indicate that a sentence is likely to be the last in a sequence of statements forming a discourse unit. In order to investigate the perception of melodic cues to 'finality', listening experiments were performed with short sentences, the intonation of which was manipulated with respect to three variables: CONTOUR TYPE (with or without end rise), REGISTER (high or low) and RANGE (narrow or wide). The actual testing was done in two ways: (1) by pairwise-comparison and (2) by absolute-rating. A linear least-squares estimation method revealed that in both tests finality judgments could be influenced significantly by the three variables introduced. Moreover, an interaction could be observed between CONTOUR TYPE and REGISTER.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
JournalIPO Annual Progress Report
Publication statusPublished - 1992


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