The relevance of tones: Prosodic meanings in utterance interpretation and in relevance theory

Billy Clark*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper contributes to the development of a relevance-theoretic account of prosody by considering how the meanings of British English nuclear tones can be embedded in a more general relevance-theoretic account and how the proposed meanings might combine with the meanings of other linguistic and non-linguistic stimuli in the interpretation of particular utterances. It presents a suggestion for the meanings of tones in Southern British English, explaining how they fit into the larger framework and into fuller accounts of the interpretation of individual utterances. It considers what this approach says about the nature of the prosodic meanings assumed and about how the semantics-pragmatics distinction might be understood with regard to prosody. Finally, it considers how this approach might be compared with approaches in other frameworks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-661
Number of pages19
JournalLinguistic Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes

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