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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Intonational meaning

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Traditionally, prosodic studies have focused on the study of intonational form and the study of intonational meaning has been relatively neglected. Similarly, the fields of semantics and pragmatics have paid little attention to the pragmatic uses of intonation. As a result, there is no firm agreement within the linguistic community on how to integrate the analysis of intonational meaning across languages into a unified prosodic, semantic, and pragmatic approach. This article provides an overview of the literature on intonational meaning, describing the recent advances made in the fields of prosody, semantics/pragmatics, and syntax. Several theoretical approaches to explaining the semantics and pragmatics of intonation are presented. A common feature to most frameworks is that intonation (1) should be regarded as an integral part of linguistic grammar; and (2) typically encodes meanings related to the modal aspect of propositions. However, features such as compositionality, duality of structure, and context‐dependency are still hotly debated issues. These features will be discussed from different theoretical perspectives, and we will identify potential advances related to the full integration of intonational meaning into dynamic and multidimensional models of meaning. WIREs Cogn Sci 2015, 6:371–381. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1352 This article is categorized under: Linguistics > Linguistic Theory

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