Linguistics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional linguists and others with an interest in linguistic research and theory. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

As indicated in the answers to "Is it common to use the minor third for calling someone?", "many European languages" use this type of chanted falling contour, but the examples all come from English, German and French. Working on Romance Languages, I am interested in any information about the usage of this contour in Italian.

share|improve this question

You may find the Interactive Atlas of Romance Intonation (created by Pilar Prieto and others) to be helpful. It includes a whole bunch of useful resources and references, including interactive maps that allow you to click on a city and hear audio recordings of different utterances elicited from speakers in that city. Vocatives are one of the intonational contour categories that were included.

Browsing through the Italian recordings, I encountered many instances of the minor third (and some major thirds and some major seconds). The survey made a distinction between the "vocative" and the "insistent vocative" (you can read in the methodology section about how the two were elicited), and interestingly there were some cases where one involved a minor third at the end and the other didn't and some cases where both involved a minor third but the "insistent vocative" just placed the minor third interval higher in the speaker's vocal range.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.