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I understand you are interested in finding out how prosody interacts with grammatical structures, in English. Prosody/grammar interaction is specific to specific dialects of any language, though you don’t say which variety of English your observations concern.

Three chapters in D. Hirst and A. Di Cristo’s edited book Intonation Systems should help you: the introductory chapter, and the chapters dedicated to British and American English, respectively. Book URL:

http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/languages-linguistics/phonetics-and-phonology/intonation-systems-survey-twenty-languages

For a comprehensive overview of the forms and functions of intonation patterns in English and other languages, see also A. Cruttenden’s book Intonation. Book URL:

http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/languages-linguistics/phonetics-and-phonology/intonation-2nd-edition?format=PB

Madalena Cruz-Ferreira


I also don't really understand your question.

There is a great deal of variation in intonation from one dialect to another and one person to another. The same person will also use intonation differently in the same sentence depending on context.

There are also several different ways of analysing intonation.

I don't understand how there could be two 'sentence stresses' in one sentence. I would have thought that the most unmarked pronunciation of (1) would be with (what I would call) the tonic stress on MIS (first syllable of 'miserable), in (2) on DREAM (and the same in "She had a beautiful DREAM"); in (3) on PARK and (4) on GAVE. But I can imagine many alternatives.

Anthea Fraser Gupta


I'm not quite sure that I understand what you are saying. When you write "For group B, 'walk' and 'cry' receive stress other than light verbs", do you mean "'walk' and 'cry' receive stress and the light verbs 'took', 'gave' don't receive stress"? If so, I'm afraid I disagree. I would have thought that 'took' and 'gave' would in natural English receive about the same amount of stress as 'lived' and 'dreamed'. The only way in which the various examples differ in stress pattern, I would think, is that they have different numbers of words and syllables.

Geoffrey Sampson