I enjoy language columns, such as Johnson in The Economist, which discuss the evolution of language. But I notice that such columns tend to focus only on certain dimensions of language: new words, changing grammar, changing punctuation usage.
It seems to me that there are also innovations in the rhythms and tones of speech.
Whew, it smells strong in here!
Traditionally, the emphasis would be on a single word, probably "strong". But now we have a way of saying it with three equal stresses on
*strong* *in* *here*, like three well-spaced drum beats.
As another example:
Tracy: Ugh, she looked better before the Botox.
Stacy's reply "Right?!?!" is said in an imploring, questioning tone. I think this is relatively new, right?
Plenty more examples, just with the word "right":
"Riiiight...." said in a long, drawn out, uncertain way indicates doubt or disagreement. Or "Yeah, right. That'll happen." said with heavy sarcasm. I don't think my grandparents, or even parents, ever used these speech patterns.
I would imagine these innovations in speech rhythm and tone would be difficult to study because we only have about 100 years of audio recordings for reference. Much easier to study the many centuries of written language.
Who studies innovations in speech rhythm and tone, how do they study them, and where can I read about it?