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Fall-rise tone followed by a tail

Identifying a fall or a rise tone is not very difficult but a fall-rise tone is much more difficult to recognize especially when it is extended over a tail. When that is the case, its characteristic pitch movement is usually distorted or broken up by the structure of the syllable they occur on.

Example:
The pitch movement of the syllable “\/some” is shown in the figure below.

Pitch movement tone 1

If we add one syllable then everything changes. The “fall” part of the fall-rise tone is carried by the first syllable and the “rise” part by the second syllable. If there are no voiceless medial consonants to break the voicing then the result may be very similar to the one-syllable case, and that is a continuous pitch movement as shown in the example below for the syllables “\/some men”.

Example:
The pitch movement for the syllables “\/some men” is shown in the figure below.

Pitch movement tone 2

If the voicing is broken the pitch pattern may look something like is shown below for the syllables “\/some chairs”.

Example:
The pitch movement for the syllables “\/some chairs” is shown in the figure below.

Pitch movement tone 3

Some English speakers will say that there is a tonal rhyme in “\/some chairs” and the pitch movement is the same as in “\/some” and “\/some men”. However, to me, it is obvious that the “c” consonant breaks the voicing so, a graphical representation as above seems to be more appropriate.

If the tail is composed of two or more syllables then the movement of the pitch is to fall on the tonic syllable and to remain fall until the last stressed syllable of the tail. At that point, the pitch starts rising until it reaches the end of the tone-unit.

Examples:
I \/might buy it. (The pitch rises on the stressed syllable “buy”)

Pitch movement tone 4

\/Most of it was for them. (The pitch rises on the last syllable of the tail since there is no stressed syllable within the tail)

Pitch movement tone 5

As you can see, if there is no stressed syllable in the tail then the pitch rises on the last syllable of the tail.

The rise-fall tone is very similar with the fall-rise tone but it will be analyzed separately.


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