Prosody is an area of phonetics/phonology which deals with suprasegmental features - ie those above the level of the individual sound. Prosody includes such features as stress, tone, rhythm and juncture.
For example, in the utterance There's some peppermint ice-cream in the fridge, I think, prosodic analysis would look at features such as :
- how many tone groups there were. Here possibly two : //There's some peppermint ice-cream in the fridge // I think //
- how many stressed syllables there were and whether they had primary or secondary stress. Again, possibly There's some ˈpepperˌmint ˈice-cream in the ˈfridge, I ˈthink
- where the tonic syllable was and what type of tone was used - here possibly falling tone on fridge and think ://There's some peppermint ice-cream in the ↘fridge // I ↘think //
- how the listener interprets the phonemic sequence /aɪskrɪm/ as ice-cream rather than I scream (juncture)
Notice the use of "possibly" in the analysis above. Prosodic features convey meaning - and are thus chosen by the speaker to convey the meaning that s/he intends. For a discussion of how all of these features might change depending on the context of the utterance, click on the links above.