Pitch refers to the perception of relative frequency (e.g.
perceptually high-pitched or low-pitched). Tone refers to significant
(i.e. meaningful, constrastive, phonemic) constrasts between words signalled
by pitch differences. Tone may be lexical, as in Mandarin Chinese:
|Tone number||Description||IPA transcription example||Meaning|
|3||low (falling+)rising||[mǎ] or [màá]||`horse'|
|4||high fall||[mâ] or [máà]||`scold'|
|"no tone/neutral tone"||(depends on preceding syllable)||[ma]||(question marker)|
Or grammatical tone, as in many African languages, e.g. Edo:
|Tense||Monosyllabic verbs||Disyllabic verbs|
|Timeless||[ì mà] `I show'||[ì hrùlè] `I run'|
|Continuous||[í mà] `I am showing'||[í hrùlé] `I am running'|
|Past||[ì má] `I showed'||[ì hrúlè] `I ran'|
However, there may also be non-pitch aspects of tone. Lexical tones are often related to durational, phonatory and vowel quality distinctions as well as frequency distinctions. For example, Mandarin Chinese tone 3 (low rise) is long with creaky voice, Hunanese tone 2 has breathy or chesty voice. Tibetan tone 1 words have voiceless initial consonants whereas tone 2 words have voiced beginnings. Long vowels in tone 4 or 5 open syllables in Thai are checked by a final glottal stop.
Intonation refers to the rise and fall of voice pitch over entire phrases and sentences, even in non-tone languages, such as English: