The new book 汉语国际教育用词语声调组合及轻重音格式实用手册 ("A Practical Manual of Tone Patterns and Formats of Stressed and Unstressed Syllables in Mandarin Words for the Application of Teaching Chinese to the Speakers of Other Languages") apparently discusses this, according to this answer by Becky:
To learn Chinese phonetics, it is not enough to pronounce the syllables (consonants, vowels, and tones) correctly. In language-flow (?) communication, authentic pronunciation with the flavor of standard Chinese requires following the pattern of Chinese intonation and stress.
This is the first time that I've heard any attention given to intonation and stress in Chinese. What guidelines are there on proper intonation and stress? Of course, the neutral tone is often less stressed or shorter. Aside from that, Wikipedia's Standard Chinese phonology article doesn't seem to say anything definitive. Wikipedia's Intonation article says:
In the Beijing dialect, they are intentionally distinguished for the average speaker as follows, using a pitch scale from 1 (lowest) to 9 (highest):
- Declarative sentences go from pitch level 3 to 5 and then down to 2 and 1.
- A-not-A questions go from 6 to 9 to 2 to 1.
- Yes–no ma questions go from 6 to 9 to 4 to 5.
- Unmarked questions go from 6 to 9 to 4 to 6.
I'm not exactly sure what kind of intonation pattern Wikipedia has in mind here – audio examples might be helpful. Besides that, what other intonation patterns are good to know?