inflection

Inflection refers to the ups and downs of a language. Even if you can’t understand Italian yet, the inflection in your professor’s voice should tip you off to whether she's asking a question, giving a command, or making a joke.

What began in the 1500s as a noun of action spelled inflexion has since evolved into inflection, a word with grammatical connotation. Inflection most often refers to the pitch and tone patterns in a person’s speech: where the voice rises and falls. But inflection also describes a departure from a normal or straight course. When you change, or bend, the course of a soccer ball by bouncing it off another person, that’s an example of inflection.

Primary Meanings of inflection

1.
n
the patterns of stress and intonation in a language
2.
n
a change in the form of a word (usually by adding a suffix) to indicate a change in its grammatical function
3.
n
deviation from a straight or normal course
Full Definitions of inflection
1

n the patterns of stress and intonation in a language

Synonyms:
prosody
Types:
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intonation, modulation, pitch contour
rise and fall of the voice pitch
caesura
a break or pause (usually for sense) in the middle of a verse line
enjambement, enjambment
the continuation of a syntactic unit from one line of verse into the next line without a pause
accent, emphasis, stress
the relative prominence of a syllable or musical note (especially with regard to stress or pitch)
rhythm, speech rhythm
the arrangement of spoken words alternating stressed and unstressed elements
intonation pattern
intonations characteristic of questions and requests and statements
drone, droning, monotone
an unchanging intonation
singsong
a regular and monotonous rising and falling intonation
accentuation
the use or application of an accent; the relative prominence of syllables in a phrase or utterance
pitch accent, tonic accent
emphasis that results from pitch rather than loudness
word accent, word stress
the distribution of stresses within a polysyllabic word
sentence stress
the distribution of stresses within a sentence
Type of:
delivery, manner of speaking, speech
your characteristic style or manner of expressing yourself orally

n a manner of speaking in which the loudness or pitch or tone of the voice is modified

Synonyms:
modulation
Type of:
delivery, manner of speaking, speech
your characteristic style or manner of expressing yourself orally
2

n a change in the form of a word (usually by adding a suffix) to indicate a change in its grammatical function

Synonyms:
inflexion
Types:
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conjugation
the inflection of verbs
declension
the inflection of nouns and pronouns and adjectives in Indo-European languages
paradigm
systematic arrangement of all the inflected forms of a word
pluralisation, pluralization
the act of pluralizing or attributing plurality to
Type of:
grammatical relation
a linguistic relation established by grammar
3

n deviation from a straight or normal course

Synonyms:
flection, flexion
Type of:
departure, deviation, difference, divergence
a variation that deviates from the standard or norm

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