In linguistics, intonation is variation of pitch while speaking which is not used to distinguish words. Intonation and stress are two main elements of linguistic prosody.
All languages use pitch semantically, that is, as intonation, for instance for emphasis, to convey surprise or irony, or to pose a question. Tonal languages such as Chinese and Hausa use pitch to distinguish words in addition to intonation.
Generally speaking, the following different intonations can be identified:
- Rising Intonation means the pitch of the voice increases over time IPA[↗];
- Falling Intonation means that the pitch decreases with time IPA[↘];
- Dipping Intonation falls and then rises IPA[↘↗];
- Peaking Intonation rises and then falls IPA[↗↘].
See Speech therapy for more information