The authors study the contribution of intonation to utterance meaning. Their proposal concerns the meaning of final contours and is based on the analysis of actual utterances in French (phone calls, interviews, radio programs). They show that intonation meaning is neither related to illocutionary force or impact nor to Speaker's or Addressee's commitment. According to their proposal, intonation crucially accounts for the "fundamental Speaker / Addressee contextual asymmetry" (Ginzburg), i.e., the very fact that conversation participants do not share the same context at all time. They show that French final contour meaning is sensitive to attitude attribution and more precisely to belief revision: the main divide between falling and non-falling final contours is correlated to the anticipation publicly signalled by the speaker that her utterance may trigger a revision in the current exchange of turns.
Proceedings of the 2004 Texas Linguistics Society Conference: Issues at the Semantics-Pragmatics Interface
edited by Pascal Denis, Eric McCready, Alexis Palmer, and Brian Reese
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