An overview of Gevey intonation

The Gevey language is a syllable-timed language, unlike Ramajal which is stressed-timed. What this means in practical terms is that whereas a stress-timed language evenly spaces its stressed syllables as a sentence is spoken, forcing syllables between the stress points to shorten and weaken, Gevey expects each syllable in a sentence to be given roughly equal amounts of time as they are spoken.

Stress patterns within the Gevey word

Gevey words do posess stressed syllables - syllables that are given an elevated pitch and tone over other syllables, but there is no significant degredation of vowels or consonants in unstressed syllables, and no significant shortening of the time taken to utter them.

In general, Gevey words are stressed on the initial syllable and, for words of four or more syllables, on the penultimate syllable. A few (irregular) words are stressed on their second syllable:

For oblique nouns, stress is not changed with the addition of the prepositional prefix, unless the preposition is being emphasised - in which case the stress shifts to the preposition (monosyllabic prefix) or the first syllable of the preposition (polysyllabic prefix) gains stress; moving the initial stress forward onto a preposition will not normally trigger the appearance of a penultimate stress in a word. The same rule applies to intransitive verbs where the preposition is prefixed to the verb:

Adding grammatical suffixes can lengthen a word sufficiently to introduce the penultimate stress, as long as there's an unstressed syllable between the initial stress and the new penultimate stress:

In general dissociated noun complexes, particles, conjunctions and other structural words are not stressed except where they introduce a new clause, or are being emphasised (though an alternative method of emphasising these words is to double the length of the initial syllable of the particle); particles of more than one syllable will stress their initial syllable, but not as strongly as for normal stress. Interrogative words and particles are stressed fully, even when monosyllabic:

Pitch contours across phrases, clauses and sentences

Gevey uses pitch contours to emphasise the emotional content of an utterance; these are almost always accompanied by the appropriate facial expression. Dislocation between expression, pitch contour and content are the marks of irony, sarcasm or dishonesty.

Fear, surprise

Starts high, then alternating between high and mid in a (fairly regular) sequence of falling and rising pitches:

diagram showing the fear contour


Starts mid, with an abrupt movement to high followed by an abrupt reversal to a lower pitch:

diagram showing the disgust contour

Elevation, motivation

A rhythmic, almost chantlike sequence of falling pitch, repeatedly raised abruptly to the highest pitch on key words:

diagram showing the motivation contour


Starting low, with a sharp movement to the highest pitch followed by a gentle descent to a slightly lower pitch:

diagram showing the joy contour

Interest, gratitude

A less intense form of the 'joy' contour; the pitch at the end of the clause tends to be lower than at the start:

diagram showing the interest contour


A mirror version of the 'interest' contour:

diagram showing the confusion contour


A mirror version of the 'joy' contour; the pitch at the end of the clause does not stop climbing:

diagram showing the interrogation contour


Pitch starts high and gently falls:

diagram showing the pride contour


Pitch starts mid and gently falls:

diagram showing the neutral contour

Dismissal, negation

Pitch starts below mid and quite quickly falls to a low tone; pitch will often start to climb again at the end of the clause:

diagram showing the dismissal contour


Pitch starts mid, falls quite quickly to low:

diagram showing the sadness contour


Pitch starts high, falls rapidly to low:

diagram showing the anger contour

This page was last updated on Tecufintuu-33, 530: Jafcuu-90 Gevile