December 6-9 2021

University of Southern Denmark (SDU) - Campus Sonderborg

& VR

1st International Conference on TONE AND INTONATION (TAI) 2021

"Tone and Intonation in a globalized, digital world"

TAI 2021 welcomes contributions on all phonological, phonetic, and typological aspects of tone and intonation in any language. In addition, in TAI 2021 two separate special sessions will be dedicated to the challenges and opportunities that globalization and digitalization hold for the speech sciences.

Globalization poses increasing challenges to both, societies and individuals i terms of language contact and language acquisition.
Digitalization opens up new ways of human-human and human-machine interaction. In both contexts, tone and intonation are special linguistic, technical and didactic hurdles. Their better understanding not only has the potential for deeper insights into the nature of speech communication, but can also decisively shape the communication of tomorrow.

Best regards from Southern Denmark
Oliver Niebuhr




Find us and other events on the Sociolinguistic Events Calendar  and on SProSIG.  



Centre for Industrial Electronics (CIE) at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) on science campus Alsion, Sonderborg, Denmark. The SDU is both the third-largest and the third-oldest Danish university. Since the introduction of the ranking systems in 2012, the University of Southern Denmark has consistently been ranked as one of the top 50 young universities in the world by both the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the QS World University Rankings. The SDU is also among the top 20 universities in Scandinavia.       

Address: Alsion · Alsion 2 · 6400 Sønderborg · Denmark
Admission to the TAI Conference requires a valid corona passport 

New COVID-19 restrictions mean that students, employees and visitors to SDU must be able to present a valid corona passport at SDU’s locations. Random inspections will be carried out.

Read more here, incl. location and opening hours of COVID-19 test centers in Sønderborg
Please note that the conference will take place as a hybrid event.
That is, in addition to real life participation and presentation, we will organize (for a reduced registration fee) a virtual participation and presentation option for those participants who cannot or would for other reasons prefer not to travel in these days. The virtual branch of the conference will be based on Gather Town and will include both oral and poster presentations. All further information will be announced as soon as we know, how many online/offline registrations we receive.


Mariapaola D'Imperio, Rutgers University, USA: Perceiving intonation in a multifaceted society: the role of cognitive and indexical factors

Peggy Mok, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China:  The Acquisition of lexical tone in various contexts
Stefan Baumann, University of Cologne, Germany: Are highlighted words always informative? On the complex relationship between prosodic prominence and meaning.

Hans Basbøll, SDU, Denmark: Danish stød in its phonetic. phonological, morphological and lexical aspects, and its relation
to Scandinavian tonal word accents


by the Main Organizer of the 1st International Conference of Tone and Intonation: TAI 2021

A foreword should be timeless, yes, that's right. But it should also reflect the thoughts and activities that shaped the moments in which it was written. In my case, the connection that reconciles both opposing requirements can be, for example, the term "exponential growth".
Exponential growth in the form of the Corona pandemic determines our current everyday life. It depends on the status of the pandemic’s exponential growth when we can go where, what we can do, and who and how many people we can meet. The term "exponential growth" does normally not apply to the organization of an international conference.
The workload in organizing a conference tends to grow linearly the closer the conference gets – normally. In the case of the TAI, there were often moments when I and certainly also many other members of TAI’s hard-working organization team thought that the dynamics of the Corona pandemic carried over to the conference itself and made the workload grow exponentially rather than linearly until the beginning of the conference.

And yet we have managed that you, dear reader, can now read this text in the TAI Book of Abstracts, that we have an exciting program of social activities – both on site and in the virtual Virbela world – that we can hear four excellent international keynotes, and that over 150 registered linguists and speech scientists can exchange their latest data, conclusions, hypotheses and ideas in the form of over 80 posters and about 40 oral presentations.

We owe this to the hard work of the entire organizational team and the Scientific Committee of the TAI, and I would like to take this opportunity here to thank each one of them for his or her great support!

Read more here ...

Oliver Niebuhr
Sønderborg, 02 December 2021

The Birth of the TAI Conference

by Wentao Gu (on behalf of the TAI Steering Committee)

TAI is the child of the International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages (TAL) and the Conference on Tone and Intonation in Europe (TIE), both biennial conferences devoted to tonal prosody. TAL originated in 2003, when Hiroya Fujisaki, the Honorary Chair of the 2nd International Conference on Speech Prosody (SP 2004, Nara, Japan), proposed to organize the 1st TAL as a satellite event of SP 2004. It was held in Beijing, China, during 28-30 March, 2004, chaired by Maocan Lin. From then on, TAL was standardly attached to the biennial conference of Speech Prosody sponsored by the Speech Prosody Special Interest Group (SProSIG) of the International Speech Communication Association (ISCA). Its focus was on tonal aspects of languages, but it did not limit itself to tone languages.
... Read more here ...

We welcome all researchers who are interested in tone and intonation of spoken languages to participate in the forthcoming 1st International Conference of Tone and Intonation (TAI 2021) at the SDU as well as in subsequent biennial TAI conferences, to deepen our understanding of tone and intonation in the structure of languages and in speech communication.

Wentao GU
On behalf of the Standing Committee of TAI



(click on the logo for further information)
Research topic:                                                                                                                     Submission Deadlines:
Effective and Attractive Communication Signals                                                         Abstract:      01 October 2021    
in Social, Cultural, and Business Contexts                                                                        Manuscript:  01 March 2022
10:00 - 11:00
OS Keynote 1

Danish stød in its phonetic. phonological, morphological and lexical aspects, and its relation to Scandinavian tonal word accents 

Hjelmslev – the father of the most famous Danish contribution to structural linguistics: Glossematics – claimed that every language has a central difficult problem around which the whole analysis must center, and for Danish, this is the stød (1951). Some of the greatest Danish linguists (including Verner, Thomsen, Jespersen and Fischer-Jørgensen) published important attempts to solve this crux. For many years, I have investigated the central aspects of the stød in Modern Danish (phonetically in collaboration with Grønnum), including its relations to the Scandinavian tonal word accents, and the talk will give a synthesis of this work.
According to my unified Non-Stød Model (e.g. 2008, 2014), Danish stød is default for heavy (= bimoraic) syllables (having a long sonority syllable rhyme and at least secondary stress), which have stød unless a – lexical or word-structural – Non-Stød principle applies. This is a great simplification compared to other accounts that try to give rules for the occurrence of stød. The Non-Stød principles are of two kinds: Lexical Non-Stød (applying to different parts of the vocabulary) and Word-structure Non-Stød predicting the interaction between morphological structure, position of suffixes, and the domain of phonological rules.

11:30 - 12:30
SPECIAL SESSION 1: Perceptual impact of foreign accents and non-standard varieties
14:00 - 15:00
OS POSTER SESSION 1: Phonological features and modelling
15:30 - 16:45
OS ORAL SESSION 1a and 1b: Prosodic Structure: Prominence, Accent & Phrasing (Hybrid)
17:00 - 18:00
VR AMERICA ORAL SESSION 1: Implementation of Tone and Intonation
19:00 - 21:00


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