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Variation in Newcastle intonation: the use of the rising tone

Abstract : It is acknowledged in the literature that Newcastle English is characterised by the use of rising tones as the default tone, Tyneside English being part as such of those varieties displaying a typical Urban Northern British Intonation (UNBI) . A previous study of the intonation of Newcastle English was performed on the NECTE corpus and showed that there are two main types of rises: rises or rise plateaus (depending on the number of post-nuclear syllables) and up-stepped level tones. The distinction between the two might be linked to social class or age groups, in which case it would be a phonetic distinction, but it might also have a distinctive (phonological) function. The aim of this paper is to test the second hypothesis. In order to test this hypothesis, we created a pilot survey with Google Forms. We extracted 10 utterances with simple rises (or rise-plateaus) and 10 utterances with up-stepped level tones (from the NECTE and the IViE corpora). In order to compare the rises with falls, 10 utterances with falling contours (including a few rise-plateau-falls) were also extracted. The speakers are both males and females, and both young and older speakers. Using Google Form, we created a pilot survey so as to test the perception of both Geordies and non Geordies native speakers. 17 informants answered the survey, 6 of whom were familiar with the Geordie accent. The survey did not yield any clear results as for the difference between the two types of rises, but it nevertheless allowed us to draw certain conclusions, and to confirm that Newcastle English belongs to the UNBI group. The next step will be to test possible pragmatic functions for these two types of rises and to investigate further phonetic differences.
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Contributor : Gilles Pouchoulin <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, February 8, 2017 - 5:38:10 PM
Last modification on : Monday, March 29, 2021 - 2:26:06 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-01462234, version 1



Sophie Herment, Laetitia Leonarduzzi, Caroline Bouzon. Variation in Newcastle intonation: the use of the rising tone. Colloque de Villetaneuse sur l'anglais oral, Apr 2016, Villetaneuse, Unknown Region. non paginé. ⟨hal-01462234⟩



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