Course: Prosody

Times: 1:30 - 5pm

Dates: Monday and Tuesday, 2-3 December 2019

Instructors: Professor Janet Fletcher, Dr Debbie Loakes and Dr Rosey Billington from The University of Melbourne. 

Registration: Please register here for Summer School 2019



Prosody is a fundamental feature of spoken language, yet aspects of speech prosody are often under-investigated in linguistic description and can present specific kinds of analytical challenges. Our models of prosodic typology, for example, are still based on well-resourced languages for the most part, although this situation is rapidly changing.

In this short course we will cover basic elements of speech prosody and explore current theoretical models of prosodic representation, including autosegmental-metrical approaches to intonation, and offer practical suggestions forgetting started with prosodic analyses.

Topics will include:

  • definitions of prosody
  • components of prosody (stress, tone, rhythm, phrasing) and their phonological representation
  • phonetic expression of components of prosody and how they relate to and interact with one another
  • linguistic and paralinguistic functions of prosodic elements
  • ways of incorporating prosodic data collection in language documentation projects, and approaches to using existing corpora for analyses of prosodic patterns
  • modelling prosody and intonation in under-described languages, and procedures for establishing and refining intonation analyses of less well-resourced languages. 

Janet Fletcher and Rosey Billington at ICHPS2019

Janet Fletcher and Rosey Billington were co-orgnanisers of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences in Melbourne, August 2019.

Assumed knowledge

It is assumed that participants will have a basic knowledge of undergraduate linguistics, including introductory phonetics and phonology, but no prior experience in advanced / experimental phonetics or intonational phonology. We will also not assume that participants have prior advanced experience with Praat or other acoustic phonetic techniques, although participants are advised to bring their laptops and to install Praat ( prior to the course.

Background knowledge and preparation

A number of recommended papers will be made available prior to the course.

Course content

The course sequence will provide theoretical background and an overview of the following four broad topics. Where possible, practical analytical tasks will be incorporated in each session:

  • Basic introduction to the study of prosody
  • Lexical Prosody I – stress
  • Lexical Prosody II – tone 
  • Intonation, including approaches to analysing the intonation of a 'new' language or variety
  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University