Overview of symbols and conventions

In the ToDI transcription system, an intonation contour is a melodic pattern which occurs in an Intonational Phrase. Each contour consists of a number of tones, H(igh) and L(ow). The notation T is used to refer to either H or L. These tones occur in two locations:

  1. at the edges of Intonational Phrases
  2. at accented syllables

Intonational Phrases are demarcated by %. Not every edge will have a tone. Tones occurring at IP edges are notated %T (initial boundary tone) or T% (final boundary tone). Every accented syllable is marked by a tone or a cluster of tones, called a 'pitch accent'. The first tone of a pitch accent is notated T*. A T* may be followed by further tones to describe the movement from the accented syllable onward.

Here is an example:

All the symbols will be explained in the text. By way of quick reference guide, a list of each element is given, as well as a list of all pitch accents, with approximate indications when they are used.


H*L*high/low accent
HLupward/downward movement after L*/H*
H%L%rising/low ending of IP
%H%Lhigh/low beginning of IP
%HLInitial falling pitch not marking accent
%half-completed fall/rise at end of IP
!H*downstepped H*

The pitch accents, in the order as they appear in the symbol bank:

H*LHigh fall from accented syllable
!H*LLow fall from accented syllable, also called 'downstepped fall'
H*High level from accented syllable
!H*Lowered level from accented syllable, also 'downstepped level'
H*LHPre-final steep fall followed by a gradual rise towards the next accented Syllable, also 'pre-nuclear fall-rise'
L*!HLLow rise fall from accented syllable, also 'downstepped delayed peak'
L*HRise from low from accented syllable
H*!HVocative chant

The melodic shape of the contour is defined by the consecutive contour shapes defined by the boundary tones and the pitch accents.

Proceed with section 0.3.1