After being told over text that someone was cooking, I responded with “what?”. I thought to myself that that “what” could have different meanings - was I confused about what the person had said, or was I inquiring as to the food he was cooking?
In my head, depending on the meaning, it’d be said differently. If I was confused about what the person had said, “what” would be said with a stronger tone than if I was wondering what they were cooking.
Is there a general rule for this phenomenon?