Progressive intonation

Standard intonation in Czech for a declarative sentence – one that relays information and is punctuated with a period – calls for the voice to fall at the end. A new sort of progressive intonation that rises at the end of a sentence and glides into the next sentence is spreading far and wide. The biggest practitioner of it in the Czech presidential elections was Sen. Pavel Fischer. In the Fiala cabinet it, surprisingly, isn’t Chair Ivan Bartoš of the Pirates, but rather Defense Min. Jana Černochová of ODS. She’s perhaps even more progressive in this respect than Chair Michal Šimečka of Progressive Slovakia, who is living proof that the intonation revolution is becoming globalized. Many Czechs have joined the cause without even real- izing it; others are proactively transmitting the new pattern. Ukrainian refugees and other foreigners who are already struggling to learn Czech now face the additional quandary of whether to brand themselves conservative or progressive by the intonation they adopt.

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