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Intonation

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Intonation

  1. 1. INTONATION
  2. 2. INTONATION: In linguistics, intonation is the variation of pitch when speaking. Intonation and stress are two main elements of linguistic prosody. Intonation is the "music" of a language, and is perhaps the most important element of a good accent. Often we hear someone speaking with perfect grammar, and perfect formation of the sounds of English but with a little something that gives them away as not being a native speaker. Intonation – the rise and fall of pitch in our voices – plays a crucial role in how we express meaning.
  3. 3. Intonation contours in English Not all rises and falls in pitch that occur in the course of an English phrase can be attributed to stress. The same set of segments and word stresses can occur with a number of pitch patterns. Consider the difference between: You're going. (statement) You're going? (question) The rise and fall of pitch throughout is called its intonation contour.
  4. 4. English has a number of intonation patterns which add conventionalized meanings to the utterance: question, statement, surprise, disbelief, sarcasm, teasing. An important feature of English intonation is the use of an intonational accent (and extra stress) to mark the focus of a sentence. Normally this focus accent goes on the last major word of the sentence, but it can come earlier in order to emphasize one of the earlier words or to contrast it with something else.
  5. 5. For example, consider the statement “Nancy bought a new house on Thursday”. The figures shows different Intonation counters for this statement with stress on each word present in it.
  6. 6. Tone A unit of speech bounded by pauses has movement, of music and rhythm, associated with the pitch of voice. This certain pattern of voice movement is called 'tone'. A tone is a certain pattern, not an arbitrary one, because it is meaningful in discourse. By means of tones, speakers signal whether to refer, proclaim, agree, disagree, question or hesitate, or indicate completion and continuation of turn-taking, in speech.
  7. 7. Types fall low-rise high-rise fall-rise
  8. 8. Fall (A Falling Tone) A falling tone is by far the most common used tone of all. It signals a sense of finality, completion, belief in the content of the utterance, and so on. A speaker, by choosing a falling tone, also indicates to the addressee that that is all he has to say, and offers a chance (turntaking) to the addressee to comment on, agree or disagree with, or add to his utterance.
  9. 9. Example Consequences of his unacceptable behavior. I'll report you to the HEADmaster A falling tone may be used in referring expressions as well. I've spoken with the CLEAner. Questions that begin with wh-questions are generally pronounced with a falling tone: Where is the PENcil? Imperative statements have a falling tone. i) Go and see a DOCtor. Requests or orders have a falling tone too. i) Please sit DOWN Exclamations: Watch OUT! Yes/No questions and tag questions seeking or expecting confirmation a) You like it, DON'T you? b) YEES. Here it is used when it is sure that the answer is yes. Have you MET him? b) YES.
  10. 10. Low Rise (A Rising Tone) This tone is used in genuine 'Yes/No' questions where the speaker is sure that he does not know the answer, and that the addressee knows the answer. Such Yes/No questions are uttered with a rising tone. For instance, consider the following question uttered with a rising tone, the answer of which could be either of the three options: A) Isn't he NICE B) i) Yes. ii) No. iii) I don't know. Compare the above example with the following example, which is uttered with a falling tone, and which can only have one appropriate answer in the context: a) Isn't he NICE b) YES. Other examples which are uttered with a rising tone are: Do you want some COFfee? Do you take CREAM in your coffee?
  11. 11. High Rise (A Rising Tone) If the tonic stress is uttered with extra pitch height, as in the following intonation units, we may think that the speaker is asking for a repetition or clarification, or indicating disbelief. Examples a) I'm taking up TAxidermy this autumn. b) Taking up WHAT? (clarification) a) She passed her DRIving test. b) She PASSED? (disbelief)
  12. 12. Fall Rise Fall-rise signals dependency, continuity, and non-finality. It generally occurs in sentence non-final intonation units. Consider the following in which the former of the intonation units are uttered with a fall-rise tone (the slash indicates a pause): Examples Private enterPRISE / is always EFficient. A quick tour of the CIty / would be NICE. PreSUmably / he thinks he CAN. Usually / he comes on SUNday.
  13. 13. Cross-linguistic differences People have a tendency to think of intonation as being directly linked to the speaker's emotions. In fact, the meaning of intonation contours is as conventionalized as any other aspect of language. Different languages can use different conventions, giving rise to the potential for crosscultural misunderstandings. Two examples of cross-linguistic differences in intonation patterns:
  14. 14. Contrastive emphasis Many languages mark contrastive emphasis like English, using an intonational accent and additional stress. Many other languages use only syntactic devices for contrastive emphasis, for example, moving the emphasized phrase to the beginning of the sentence. Instead of I want a car for my birthday. (as opposed to a bike) you would have to say something like: A car I want for my birthday. It's a car that I want for my birthday. Listeners who speak the second type of language will not necessarily interpret extra pitch and volume as marking emphasis. Listeners who don't speak the second type of language will not necessarily interpret a different word order as marking emphasis (as opposed to assuming that the speaker doesn't know basic grammar). Questions
  15. 15. Questions The normal intonation contours for questions in English use: final rising pitch for a Yes/No question Are you coming today? final falling pitch for a Wh-question When are you coming? Where are you going? Using a different pattern typically adds something extra to the question. E.g., falling intonation on a Yes/No question can be interpreted as abruptness. Rising intonation on a Wh-question can imply surprise or that you didn't hear the answer the first time and are asking to have it repeated.

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