Intonation is an autonomous signalling system from which speakers choose cues, used in co-occurrence with cues from other autonomous signalling systems, for the constitution and contextualization of activity types in conversation. Participants in conversations use given intonation contours as a resource which they modify according to their target activities. In so doing, speakers of German and Italian use three intonational procedures: weakening of intonation contours is used to signal self-initiated self-repair, treatment of problems of hearing and understanding, and claim to turn; enforcement signals problems of expectation, defence of turn, contradiction, and insistance; modification of intonation contours signals defence of turn and contradiction. The assignment of intonational procedures to activity types appears to be the same in both Italian and German.
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