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intonation


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The distinctive modulation of vocal pitch in speech, functioning like punctuation to signal grammatical structure, as for example in the utterance It's big, isn't it, in which a rising pitch would be used to indicate a question and a falling pitch an assertion, and used also to express attitudes or emotions such as sarcasm, puzzlement, or anger. intonology n. The study of intonation. [From Latin intonare to intone, from in in+tonus a tone+-ation indicating a process or condition]


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