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American English, a tonal language?

This video, by Glossika (Mike Campbell) of youtube fame, pretty much blew my mind. What do you guys think?

Comments

phiso_kun
Apr. 20th, 2010 05:44 am (UTC)
I agree with kazamesu - interesting, for sure, and useful for learners who come from tonal languages, but he's sort of confusing a "tonal language" with intonation in general, which is very important in English. A lot of his tones would vary in different varieties and situations, as mornea pointed out. I know I don't use all of them all the time. In any case, as has already been pointed out, perhaps we all have similar intonation - something that must be relearned with every language - but changing the tone of the word doesn't change the meaning.

Really, it's not a particularly technical video, but I don't think it's supposed to be, either. It's an interesting little clip, though.
phiso_kun
Apr. 20th, 2010 05:49 am (UTC)
Plus if we were a tonal language those automated messages on answering machines and stuff wouldn't sound so weird.

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U.S. of Eh - North American English Inquiries

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