Suprasegmental feature

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Suprasegmental characteristics ( suprasegmentals ) are next prosody and intonation certain properties of the speech act. They superimpose the segmental features across sounds , but are not limited in time to these and are expressed, for example, through phenomena such as accent , intonation and rhythm .

Suprasegmentalia are extralinguistic because they indicate feelings, illnesses and individual peculiarities.

Phonetic features

Suprasegmental features are not assigned to individual segments , but to entire segment chains and have the following phonetic features:


Phonology works with syntagmatic relations . The celebrities play the most important role. At the segmental level the phonetic “prominence” is expressed as sonority , at the suprasegmental level it is expressed as an “accent”.

Difference from prosody

Suprasegmentals are features which, according across ( According are so do not align with the sequential order of the segments of loud utterances). The utterances are expressed a) signal phonetic in the course of the basic frequency and intensity, and b) temporally with regard to the segments and pauses. In prosody, on the other hand, the segmental level and the suprasegmental level run synchronously and can act independently of one another. Prosody refers to the amount of suprasegmental units within a certain area in the speech act.


The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) table lists transcription symbols in a separate section to identify the emphasis on the most important suprasegmental features.

See also


  • D. Crystal, R. Quirk: Systems of Prosodic and Paralinguistic Features in English. 1964.
  • Georg Heike: Suprasegmental analysis. Braun-Elwert, 1969, ISBN 3-7708-0083-4 .
  • I. Lehiste: Suprasegmentals. 1970.
  • Helmut Glück (Ed.): Metzler Lexicon Language. 2000.
  • A. Spencer: Phonology. 1996.
  • E. Ternes: Introduction to Phonology. 1999.
  • A. Elsner: Recognition and description of the prosodic focus. 2000.
  • Magnús Pétursson, Joachim Neppert: Elementary Book of Phonetics. 1996.
  • Daniel Hirst, Albert Di Cristo: Intonation systems. A survey of twenty languages. 1998.

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