作者：D. Robert Ladd
Until the late 1970s there was not really any such notion, and even now it is not obvious to many intonation researchers what intonational phonology might mean. It is therefore necessary to demystify this term quite explicitly.
The ‘impressionistic’ or ‘proto-phonological’ approach was that of linguists and language teacher who were interested in describing intonation either for practical ends or as part of the general development of phonemic theory. This approach is represented by the work of the American structuralist school and those of the British school. Descriptions in this tradition treat intonation in terms of a small number of categorically distinct elements pitch phonemes, nuclear tones, etc.-and in this sense may be said to be investigating ‘intonational phonology’. However, in most cases the authors of these descriptions had no ambitions to go beyond data that could be gathered by traditional auditory methods and written down as impressionistic pitch curves. Moreover, for reasons that I will discuss further below, within the impressionistic tradition there were always significant disagreements about the inventory of categorically distinct elements, and there was no obvious standard of evidence for settling such disagreement.
In any case, before writing an entire book on the subject of intonational phonology, it seems appropriate to address the views of those who question whether intonational phonology even exists.