"Thank you": intonation

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 9 17:42:52 UTC 2007

"thank you" can be heartfelt, according to tone, or "sure I heard you.
You're wrong.  Now get lost."  Tone means an awful lot.  Especially through

A teacher said to his class "A double negative means a positive, but a
double positive doesn't mean a negative."  The student said "yeah, right".

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL4+
See truespel.com and the 4 truespel books at authorhouse.com.

>From: Jim Parish <jparish at SIUE.EDU>
>Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Subject: "Thank you": intonation
>Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2007 11:14:34 -0600
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Jim Parish <jparish at SIUE.EDU>
>Subject:      "Thank you": intonation
>The following question has been niggling at me for a while, and I'm
>wondering if anyone on-list has any comments.
>The phrase "thank you", spoken as a complete sentence, occurs with
>several different intonation contours. In particular, it sometimes takes a
>falling contour and sometimes a rising one. It seems to me that there
>are pragmatic differences between the contexts that call for the one and
>the other, but I haven't been able to devise a clear description of the
>differences. (Rising contour seems to me to tend to be conversation-
>final, but not always; falling contour seems more "serious", in some
>sense; but I'm not willing to commit to either of these claims.)
>Does anyone have any thoughts on this, or know of any research?
>(One obvious question is the extent to which... whatever it is... is
>special to "thank you" or is derived from general properties of rising and
>falling intonation.)
>Jim Parish
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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