This thesis proposes a phonetic model of English intonation which is a system for linking the
phonological and F₀, descriptions of an utterance.
It is argued that such a model should take the form of a rigorously defined formal system
which does not require any human intuition or expertise to operate. It is also argued that this
model should be capable of both analysis (F₀ to phonology) and synthesis (phonology to F₀).
Existing phonetic models are reviewed and it is shown that none meet the specification for the
type of formal model required.
A new phonetic model is presented that has three levels of description: the F₀ level,
the intermediate level and the phonological level. The intermediate level uses the three basic
elements of rise,fall and connection to model F₀ contours. A mathematical equation is specified
for each of these elements so that a continuous lb contour can be created from a sequence of
elements. The phonological system uses H and L to describe high and low pitch accents, C to
describe connection elements and B to describe the rises that occur at phrase boundaries. A
fully specified grammar is described which links the intermediate and F₀ levels. A grammar is
specified for linking the phonological and intermediate levels, but this is only partly complete
due to problems with the phonological level of description.
A computer implementation of the model is described. Most of the implementation work
concentrated on the relationship between the intermediate level and the F₀ level. Results are
given showing that the computer analysis system labels F₀ contours quite accurately, but is
significantly worse than a human labeller. It is shown that the synthesis system produces
artificial F₀ contours that are very similar to naturally occurring F₀ contours
The thesis concludes with some indications of further work and ideas on how the computer
implementation of the model could be of practical benefit in speech synthesis and recognition.