A note on intonational typology

This paper examines some evidence for a claim that the intonation systems of English and German differ typologically, the former being a ‘compressing’ language, the latter a ‘truncating’ language. It is shown that the evidence for this claim is unconvincing, since the two languages do not differ significantly in respect of this particular parameter. Furthermore, the basis for the claim is shown to be insecure, since the forms compared are not equivalent.

The paper concludes with some general reflections on the status of typological parameters in intonation.

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