Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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Tone and Intonation
(2,901 words)

Chinese is a tone language and, like all other languages, it also uses intonation. While the tones are lexically distinctive, intonation conveys syntactic information. As tone and intonation, which have different functions, are materialized simultaneously by the use of pitch variation, interaction between the two is expected to occur. To explain the effect of intonation on tone in Standard Chinese, Chao (1933, 1968) uses the analogy of small ripples (tone) gliding on large waves (intonation) and…

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Wai-Sum LEE and Eric ZEE, “Tone and Intonation”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 24 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000423>
First published online: 2015

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