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Bolinger (1978:475), one of the foremost authorities on prosody of a generation ago, said that “Intonation is a half-tamed savage. To understand the tamed or linguistically harnessed half of him, one has to make friends with the wild half.” This review provides a brief explanation for the tamed and untamed halves of intonation. It is argued here that the pitch-centered approach that has been used for several decades is responsible for why one half of intonation remains untamed. To tame intonation completely, a holistic acoustic approach is required that takes intensity and duration as seriously as it does pitch. Speech is a three-dimensional physical entity in which all three correlates work independently and interdependently. Consequently, a methodology that addresses intonation comprehensively is more likely to yield better results. Psychoacoustics seems to be well positioned for this task. Nearly 100 years of experimentations have led to the discoveries of Just Noticeable Difference (JNDs) thresholds that can be summoned to help tame intonation completely. The framework discussed here expands the analytical resources and facilitates an optimal description of intonation. It calculates and ranks the relative functional load (RFL) of pitch, intensity, and duration, and uses the results to compute the melodicity score of utterances. The findings replicate, based on JNDs, how the naked ear perceives intonation on a four-point Likert melodicity scale.



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