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Gebara, Ester M. S. (1984) The development of intonation and dialogue processes in Brazilian Portuguese : A study of two children. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The study focuses on the development and characteristics of intonational systems from the proto-language through to the one- word stage and up to the production of the first multi-word utterances. It also deals with the relationships holding between the development of intonation and adult-child linguistic interaction. Data from two Brazilian children, one boy (from age 1;0 to 2;0) and one girl (from age 1;2 to 1;8) were recorded in audio- and video-tape sessions, mostly in natural settings, where the children were interacting with their mothers and other persons in the family circle: a trained interviewer frequently being present. A description of the development of the intonational systems is given through the examination of the contexts of use of the tones which the subjects produce in situations of dialogue with their senior interlocutors. In addition to pitch-range and pitch-direction, other prosodic features are taken into account, where relevant>namely loudness and rhythm. Some instrumental evidence is given as support for the analysis provided. The characteristics of the first multi-word utterances are studied, such as prosodic strategies for the production of longer utterances and the emergence of cohesive intonation across successive utterances (the first 'paratones'). Finally an account is provided of the importance of intonation in expounding role- and turn-taking subsumed in this work in terms of the dialogue processes of specularity, complementarity and reversal. Intonation, together with other prosodic features, is found to have a gestaltic character and to be one of the richest resources for the processing, building-up and construction of the linguistic system by the child. Its emergence is assumed to be closely linked with interaction formats between the child and his/her senior interlocutors.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:07

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