Prof. Philippe Martin (University of Toronto)


Intention, inattention and intonation


Intonation as a part of prosody is an important component in the speech interaction process. Both linguistic (encoding of the prosodic structure) and non-linguistic (emotional, attitudinal) aspects play crucial roles in the teaching environment, particularly if other channels of communication (gesture, facial, etc.) are absent as it is for example the case in CD-ROM language courses.


We will review different aspects of the linguistic use of intonation, where the encoding of intonation should correspond to the most effective hierarchical organization of the discourse elements, and non-linguistic where intonation should encode positive and encouraging emotional and attitudinal aspects of the virtual teacher.


Although these aspects of intonation have been empirically considered for a long time (i.e. by selecting "pleasant" and "convincing" voices) by the radio and TV advertising industry, more systematic understanding of the processes involved are now in order.