TRANSCRIBING INTONATION

Thor May

[The material provided on this page is for convenience only. It is best to consult the source links below, whose owners of course retain copyright]


Other Sources of Reference for Intonation


The Streaming Speech Website

There are many ways to transcribe speech and mark it for intonation features, depending upon your final purpose and the level of detail required. The following material demonstrates one fairly simple method :

Sample Material from the Streaming Speech Website at http://www.fab24.net/examples/streamingspeech.htm  -> Introduction -> Jobs at Universities -> Chapters

1. Vowel use illustrated in a phonological transcription :

source: http://www.speechinaction.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/pdf%20files/Discourse%20Intonation%20newsletter4.pdf

[This].. is a table taken from pronunciation section of the first chapter of Streaming Speech. All of the speech units are taken from an unscripted conversation between Richard and Corony Edwards of the Centre for English Language Studies at The University of Birmingham. The symbols in the left hand column are those for the short vowels of English; the central column contains the sample speech units from the original recording, with the target sound shown in the syllable in bold upper–case letters; the right hand column shows the speed of the speech unit in words per minute. Syllables in upper–case are prominent syllables.”

"If you are interested in learning more about Streaming Speech, you can go to Richard’s webpages http://www.speechinaction.com or better still, try out an online version at http://www.fab24.net/examples/streamingspeech.htm "


2. Sample of intonation analysis from the Streaming Speech website :

 

Speech unit transcript

Corony:

001 // WHILE i was at uniVERsity //
002 // i was VEry inVOLVED //
003 // with THE //
004 // STUdents //
005 // ARTS society //
006 // which was CALLED the ARTS umBRELla //
007 // ERM //
008 // which i RAN //
009 // WITH //
010 // my THEN //
011 // BOYfriend //
012 // FOR //
013 // a COUple of YEARS //
014 // and WE set UP //
015 // a WHOLE lot of EVEning classes //
016 // IN //
017 // POTtery and //
018 // WOODwork and //
019 // DRAma and that kind of THING //
020 // ERM //
021 // and I got very inVOLVED in those //
022 // when i FINished at uniVERsity //
023 // because i was still LIving with //
024 // with this BOYfriend //
025 // ERM //
026 // erm i STAYED up THERE //
027 // and i GOT //
028 // PART time WORK //
029 // TEAching //
030 // ARTS and CRAFTS //
031 // at VArious PLAces //
032 // i was alREAdy by THAT stage //
033 // RUnning //
034 // a SNACK bar //
035 // THREE nights a WEEK //
036 // WHICH //
037 // MADE quite a bit of MOney //
038 // ERM //
039 // and i ALso STARted up //
040 // my OWN business as a TEXtile artist //
041 // so i was SELF emPLOYED //
042 // doing a NUMber of THINGS //
043 // ERM //

Richard:

044 // ... so were ... //
045 // ... ERM ... //
046 // WERE you suCESSful //
047 // as a TEXtile ARtist //
048 // ... or er ... //

Corony:

049 // ... i WAS ... //
050 // quite sucCESSful //
051 // i i didn't MAKE an awful lot of MOney //
052 // in the FIRST couple of YEARS //
053 // ERM //
054 // but i SOLD a lot of things //
055 // it was OBviously very POpular //
056 // i was DOing //
057 // baTIK //
058 // ERM //
059 // but QUITE BIG pieces //
060 // which i MADE inTO //
061 // ROller blinds //
062 //... and ... //
063 // CUshions and TAbleclothes //
064 // SOFT FURnishings //
065 // cos i RECkoned that //
066 // a LOT of people DON'T have ROOM on their walls //
067 // for LARGE WALLhangings //
068 // ERM //
069 // and perhaps AREN'T prepared to PAY for them //
070 // but if you TURN them into a ROller blind //
071 // there's a SPACE aVAIlable over their WINdow //
072 //... that ... //
073 //...they wouldn't other be ... //
074 // WISE be Using for //
075 // a piece of ARTwork //
076 // ERM //
077 // i HAD an exhiBItion //
078 // DOWN //
079 // in CORNwall //
080 // at a FRIEND'S GALlery //
081 // and SOLD Everything //
082 // and took LOTS of ORders //
083 // ERM //
084 // it GOT to the POINT //
085 // WHERE //
086 // if i was GOing to make a BUsiness out of it //
087 // i HAD to emPLOY someone ELSE //
088 // FULL TIME //
089 // TO //
090 // DO all the BOring bits //
091 // like Ironing WAX out of //
092 // bits of CLOTH //
093 //... and ... //
094 // and ACtually PUTting the things //
095 // ONto the ROller blinds //
096 // and SO on //
097 // and THAT was quite a comMITment //
098 // ERM //
099 // and by THAT TIME //
100 //... I ... //
101 // t t t STARted doing more PARTtime TEAching //
102 // and i'd ALso enROLLED //
103 // ON //
104 // on a TEAching english as a foreign LANguage course //
105 // because I //
106 // WANted //
107 // to GO //
108 // to SOUTH-east Asia //
109 // TO //
110 // STUdy baTIK //
111 // because THAT'S where //
112 // the MAIN batik area IS //
113 // that's where it COMES from //
114 // ERM //
115 // AND //
116 // i THINK i CHICkened OUT //
117 // REAlly of //
118 // of TAking on an emploYEE //
119 // AND //
120 // deCIded i MIGHT continue //
121 // to DO it PARTtime //
122 // ERM //
123 // and CONcentrate MORE on the Other teaching //
124 // which was a BIT more seCURE //
125 // ERM //
126 // which is HOW i got into //
127 // ENglish LANguage teaching //

Note. Transcription conventions will be introduced and explained in some detail at appropriate moments in Streaming Speech. Click here for a brief summary.

A brief summary of transcription conventions:

Orthographic transcription of the above material :

[to hear this spoken go to http://www.fab241.net/SS_Demo/guest1.htm  and select the -> Chapters -> orthographic link on the left]

Corony: While I was at university I was very involved ... with the ... students' ... Art Society which was called the arts umbrella erm which I ran with my then boyfriend for a couple of years and we set up a whole lot of evening classes in pottery and woodwork and drama and that kind of thing. Erm and I got very involved in those. When I finished at university because I was still living with with this boyfriend erm I stayed up there and I got part time work teaching arts and crafts at various places. I was already by that stage running a snackbar three nights a week which made quite a bit of money. Erm and I also started up my own business as a textile artist. So I was self employed doing a number of things erm ...

Richard: So were ... erm ... were you successful as a textile artist?

Corony: I was quite successful. I I didn't make an awful lot of money in the first couple of years erm but I sold a lot of things. It was obviously very popular. I was doing batik. Erm but quite big pieces which I made into roller blinds and cushions and tablecloths soft furnishings because I reckoned that ... a lot of people don't have room on their walls for large wall hangings erm and perhaps aren't prepared to pay for them. But if you turn them into a roller blind there's a space available over their windows that they wouldn't other be ... wise be using for a piece of artwork. Erm I had an exhibition down in Cornwall at a friend's gallery and sold everything and took lots of orders. Erm it got to the point where if I was going to make a business out of it I had to employ someone else full time to ... do all the boring bits like ironing wax out of bits of cloth ... and ... and actually putting the things onto the roller blinds and so on. And that was quite a commitment. Erm and by that time ... I ... t t t started doing more part-time teaching and I'd also enrolled on a teaching English as a foreign language course because I wanted to go to South-East Asia to study batik because that's where the main batik area is. That's where it comes from. Erm and ... I think I chickened out really of taking on an employee. And I decided I might continue to do it part time erm and concentrate more on the other teaching which was a bit more secure. Erm ...which is how I got into English language teaching.

 


Here is another set of conventions for transcribing intonation from the introduction to a book from the University of Washington, (author unknown), published by OUP; net link :  www.oup.com/pdf/0195143213_intro.pdf

TRANSCRIPTION

SYMBOLS AND

ABBREVIATIONS

Intonation Symbols

H* high pitch accent

L* low pitch accent

L+H* steeply rising high pitch accent

L*+H steeply rising low pitch accent

X high-rising pitch boundary

R low-rising pitch boundary

V plateau pitch boundary

T partially falling pitch boundary

Y low pitch boundary

- cut-off speech with no intonation boundary

[ high paratone

\ low paratone

' high key

( low key

V mid key

L- low phrase accent (Pierrehumbert, 1980)

H- high phrase accent (Pierrehumbert, 1980)

L% low boundary tone (Pierrehumbert, 1980)

H% high boundary tone (Pierrehumbert, 1980)

xvii

Textual Symbols for Stress and Intonation

á primary word stress

à secondary word stress

CÁPITALS high pitch accent (H*)

SÚBSCRIPTED CÁPITALS low pitch accent (L*)

ÚNDERLINED CÁPITALS steeply rising high pitch accent (L+H*)

SÚBSCRIPTED ÚNDERLINED CÁPITALS steeply rising low pitch accent (L*+H)

Paralinguistic Symbols

((coughs)) information about the interaction

(xxx) can’t be transcribed

+yikes+, ++yikes++, etc. extremely high pitch

º let’s go quiet speech or whisper

h, hn, huh, hah syllables of laughter are transcribed as

[h] or to approximate their actual

sound

>> hurry up tempo speeds up

<< slow down tempo slows down

/ beat / beat / rhythmic beats

(.) brief unmeasured pause

(1.1) pause measured in seconds

ma:::n elongated syllable

speech

overlapping speech [speech

I’ve got it = latch from one speaker to the next

= great. without pause

Other Abbrieviations

X a weight marker on a metrical grid

* ungrammatical

# pragmatically odd

ADJ adjective

ADV adverb

BEV Black English Vernacular

CA Conversation Analysis

CSL Computerized Speech Lab

Db Decibel

xviii TRANSCRIPTION SYMBOLS AND ABBREVIATIONS

ESL English as a second language

GR grammaticalization

Hz Hertz

INS Immigration and Naturalization

Service

ITA international teaching assistant

LL language learner

NNS nonnative speaker

NP noun phrase

NS native speaker

SPEAK Spoken English Assessment Kit

TESOL Teachers of English to Speakers

of Other Languages

TSE Test of Spoken English


Material on this site has been prepared by Thor May for the PUFS TESOL Program 2003
Site addresses :
a) http://home.pufs.ac.kr/~thormay
b) http://thormay.net/lxesl/tesol/pufsindex.htm