Formal analysis of intonation: the case of the Kuwaiti dialect of Arabic
Alharbi, Lafi M.
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A formal analysis of intonation is carried out in this study, which involves an investigation of the intonation system of Kuwaiti Dialect of Arabic (KDA). Following the prosodic framework established in Britain in general and Crystal's theory in particular, intonation is viewed here as a unitary system: tonality, tonicity, and tone. Each system is individually considered (chapters four, five, and six). This study consists of six chapters. The introductory chapter (one) is made up of four distinct parts. After a brief discussion of the importance of intonation in speech, part one gradually presents the progress of knowledge in the field of intonation starting from the very early and hence impressionistic treatments until the most recent and hence adopted phonological/phonetic approach. The language under investigation is phonologically and morphologically explored in part two. Part three explicitly states research objectives, the scope of the investigation and the data, and the methodology upon which the study is based. The final part of chapter one is devoted to an independent account of Arabic intonation. Chapter two discusses different prosodic features, such as; loudness, duration, tempo, and pause, and assesses their contribution to intonational contrasts. It also explores the physical nature of pitch as the prime component of intonation. The major functions of intonation are discussed in chapter three, where it is concluded that intonation is multifunctional. Chapter four is exclusively devoted to a consideration of the grammaticality of tonality. It is concluded here, as supported by statistical investigation, that a KDA speaker paragraphs his flow of speech by means of intonation in such a way as to correspond with the structure of elements of clause rather than it being the case that "one clause is one tone group" as suggested by Halliday (1970). Chapter five discusses the communicative importance of tonicity in speech. The position of tonicity is thoroughly examined and related to the informational and grammatical constructions of the utterance in which it occurs. It is concluded that tonicity in KDA is unpredictable, and that the nucleus is position-free. Tonicity is mainly determined by the speaker's assessment of which segment (segments) to focus as guided by the nature of his message. Chapter six answers questions which are fundamentally related to the physical movement of pitch which constitutes the tone system of KDA. Functionally, pitch contour types are related to their concomitant sentence types. A bidirectional method is applied in analysing the KDA tone system; on the one hand, the 'kinetic' and 'static' movements of pitch are phonetically investigated, and on the other hand, pitch contours are phonologically grouped and functionally related through their syntactic relevance to sentence types. It is then concluded that: (a) KDA has five basic tones; rise, fall, level, rise-fall, and fall-rise, and (b) the distribution of pitch contours as related to sentence types is hardly systematic; while the unmarked/marked distinction is clear with an overwhelming frequency in declaratives (fall) and interrogatives (rise), it is certainly less obvious in the case of exclamations and totally absent in the case of commands.