Intonation in simple sentences.

Intonation of statements.

a) straightforward statements convey information in a straightforward manner without any implication:

High Level Head/Stepping Head/Falling Head + Low Fall (sounds categoric, considered, weighty)

. + High Fall (sounds light, airy and has the effect of the speakers personal participation in the situation)

b) implicatory statements give the impression that the speaker intends his hearer to understand more than the words themselves convey. The implication may be that of contradiction, correction, contrast, hesitation, apology, cordiality, warning.

Normal/High Pre-Head + High Level/Stepping/ Falling Head + Fall-Rise (divided and undivided)

c) friendly statements sound warm, lively, friendly, cordial. They lack the definiteness and finality of falling tunes. They are used in conversations: greetings, gratitudes, farewells, comments.

Normal/High Pre-head + High Level/Stepping Head + Low Rise

d) If the statement is a grumble it is pronounced with Low Head + Low Fall.

Intonation of General Questions.

a) Normal GQ : Stepping/High Level Head + Low Rise (shows the speakers interest not only in the receiving information, but also in the listener himself)

b) Formal GQ: . + High Rise (conveys a formal, light and airy attitude of the speaker towards the subject-matter)

c) Echo Questions ( these are questions asking for repetition, used when the listener has not heard the speakers question clearly or he is surprised at what he has heard or he wants to gain time before answering): .. + High Rise (higher in pitch)

d) Suggestion GQ: .. + High Fall (convey offer or invitation)

e) Insistent GQ: + Low Fall (sound skeptical, when the speaker is not satisfied with the answer, or when he is sure of the negative reply; such questions are put forward as a serious suggestion or a subject for urgent discussion)

f) Short GQ: Low Fall (Did you?)

g) Complex GQ. In most cases they form a simple tune (one intonation group), used with the same nuclear tones as simple GQ. But if the sentence is long or if the tempo of speech is slow, the complex GQ forms a combined tune where each of the intonation groups is normally pronounced with Low Rise or High Rise.

Intonation of Special Questions.

a) Normal SQ: Normal/High Pre-head + High Level/Stepping Head + Low/High Fall (the first stress usually falls on the interrogative word).

b) Specifying (Insistent) SQ: the interrogative word of a SQ may become the nucleus of the falling tune while the remaining part of the utterance forms the tail. This kind of structure is used when the speaker wants to draw the attention of the listener to a particular detail or when he has not been satisfied with what he has been told and insists on a more exact answer.

c) Friendly SQ: + Low Rise (it is used in a series of questions; it is a friendly way of making inquiries and is common in talking to children).

d) Single SQ of the same intonation pattern (with Low Rise) may convey a warm, friendly, interested attitude towards the listener and the situation.

e) Repeated/Echoing SQ: Low Rise occurs on the interrogative word.

Intonation of Alternative Questions.

An AQ indicating choice between two homogeneous parts forms a combined tune in speech, represented by two intonation groups.

a) Normal AQ: Low Rise + Fall (High/Low). It is suitable for all kinds of situations.}Complete AQ

b) Formal AQ: High Rise + Fall (High/Low). It conveys a more formal attitude.}Complete AQ

There may be a choice of three and more alternatives. In this case the intonation groups preceding the final one are pronounced with the rising tone and may be treated as the items of enumeration, while the final falling tone shows that the list of alternatives is complete.

a) Normal AQ: Low Rise + Rise (High/Low) }Incomplete AQ

b) Formal AQ: High Rise + Rise (High/Low) }Incomplete AQ

When the list of alternatives is incomplete the last intonation group has the same nuclear tone as the preceding one (ones).

A negative reply to an AQ with a complete list of choices is neither, whereas a negative reply to an AQ with an incomplete list of choices is No.

Incomplete AQ should not be mixed up with general questions which are pronounced with a rising tone at the end. GQ form only one intonation group implying no choice and marking the first item with common sentence-stress.

Intonation of Disjunctive Questions.

DQ being simple sentences consist of at least two intonation groups represented by a statement (affirmative or negative) and a tag-question (negative or affirmative). The choice of tones in DQ depends on the speakers certainty of the facts expressed in the first sense-group.

a) Uncertainty DQ: Fall (High/Low) + Rise (Low/High).

The speaker is not sure of the answer he will get, or is asking the listeners opinion. It is a mixture of positiveness and doubt, though it is quite clear that the speaker inclines to one view rather than the other and that the listeners agreement with the view is expected, but the listener would not be surprised if he were contradicted.

b) Certainty DQ: Fall (High/Low) + Fall (High/Low).

The speaker is sure of the answer he will get or expects the listener to agree with him. CDQ are used rather to keep conversation going than to get new information.

c) Confirmation DQ: Low Rise/Fall-Rise + Low Fall

It appeals for confirmation and support. This pattern is used in talking to a child.

d) Protesting DQ: Low Rise/Fall-Rise + Low Rise (echoing)

The first intonation group here sounds protesting, calling the listener to revise his opinion, while the rise in the tag-question manifests uncertainty.

Intonation of Imperatives.

  1. Commands.

a) Falling/High Level Head + Low Fall (powerful, intense, serious, strong; the speaker appears to take it for granted that he will be obeyed)

b) + High Fall (suggests a course of actions rather than gives an order; the speaker does not seem to be worrying whether he will be obeyed or not)

c) Sort commands with Low Fall (unemotional, calm, controlled, often cold).

  1. Requests.

a) Falling/High Level Head + Low Rise (soothing, encouraging, calmly patronizing)

b) . + Fall-Rise (pleading).

Question tags, mostly will you? or wont you? are frequently combined with imperatives forming the following tone sequences:

a) Low Fall (imperative) + Low Rise (tag): the positive tag question serves to soften the imperative of the first intonation group, to transform an order into something request-like. The negative tag question in the same pattern sounds pressing. In both cases the imperative is in the positive form only.

b) Low Fall (imperative) + Low Fall (tag): this pattern shows considerable exasperation of the speaker.

c) Low Rise/Fall-Rise (imperative) + Low Fall (tag); if the first part of the imperative is positive, the tag may be both positive and negative, but with negative imperatives only a positive tag is possible; such imperatives sound less brisk, more pleading.

d) Low Rise (imperative) + Low Rise (tag): the tag question seems to be like an afterthought.

Note: The combination of Low Fall + Low Fall and Low Rise + Low Fall with the positive imperative is an emphatic device used to underline or reinforce the meaning of it.

Intonation of exclamations.

a) common with High Fall;

b) with Low Fall (refer to something not very exciting);

c) High Pre-nucleus + Low Fall/High Fall (very emphatic and emotional).


1. Leave taking and some greetings: Low Rise.

2. Casual Thank you and Sorry: Low Rise.

3. Thank you (real gratitude) and Sorry (sincere apology): High Fall.

4. Excuse me (to arrest someones attention): fall-Rise.

Intonation of Adverbial Phrases.

a) In the initial position: they form a separate intonation group pronounced with Low Rise or Mid-Level tones.

b) In the final position: they do not form an intonation group (a half-stressed tail).

But if the adverbial phrase in the sentence final position qualifies the meaning of the sentence, rather in the manner of an afterthought, added comments, restrictions or clarifications, it is pronounced as a separate intonation group (with any nuclear tone).

Intonation of Enumeration.

Enumeration in a simple sentence is represented by a number of homogeneous parts, each of them forming a separate intonation group. The terminal tone of the final intonation group depends on the communicative type of the sentence. The terminal tone of the non-final intonation groups may be different:

a) Low Rise/Mid-Level: serves for continuative purposes to show that there is more to be said. If the enumeration is not complete the final intonation group is pronounced with Low Rise/Mid-Level;

b) Low Fall in every intonation group shows that the enumeration is regarded as separate items of interest; such sentences are pronounced in a slow deliberate way and with longer pauses.

Intonation of adjections.

Utterances may contain words, phrases or clauses (whether at the beginning of a sentence, in the middle or at the end) which are only partially related to the main subject-matter and without which the utterances remain grammatically complete. These are so called adjections which fall into three classes.

  1. Parentheses.

a) Initial parenthetical words are of introductory nature. They are used in order to gain time while the speaker is framing out his main remark, or they may show the speakers attitude towards the subject-matter: supposition, certainty, satisfaction. Initial parentheses form a separate intonation group, the choice of the nuclear tone is determined by the degree of semantic independence and importance attached to the parenthesis

- Normal/ High pre-head + High Level Head + Low Rise;

- + Low Fall ( sounds weighty, attaching more importance to the utterance);

- + Fall-Rise (additional emphasis or contrast)

- Initial parentheses which are linked very closely with the main remark as a rule do not form a separate intonation group (I suppose , I hope , I think, Im afraid etc). They may be stressed or partially stressed forming the pre-head of the tune, or they may have a full stress on the important word which becomes part of the head (well, now, but, oh, certainly, of course, etc).

b) Final parentheses summarize or add some details to the main remark. They are generally pronounced as an unstressed or partially stressed tail of the preceding intonation group. Additional prominence is achieved when parenthetical words in the final position are said as a part of the nucleus of a Falling-rising tune (divided).

c) Parentheses in the middle of the utterance usually convey a side thought, which the speaker wishes to communicate at once without waiting until he has finished the utterance. Parentheses are commonly inserted between two intonation groups, these intonation groups remain unchanged while the parenthesis forms an intonation group of its own, and it is pronounced on a lower pitch and with a quicker tempo than the main remark. A parenthesis may join the first intonation group as a tail or a part of the nucleus.

  1. Direct Address.

a) Initial DA calls the listeners attention to the subject-matter or to the fact that the remark concerns him personally. It usually forms a separate intonation group which may take any of the kinetic tones:

- Low Fall (shows the speakers serious attitude to what he is going to say; used in addressing an audience at the beginning of a formal speech);

- Low Rise (at the beginning of an informal speech);

- Fall-Rise (in friendly informal conversations; sometimes though it may suggest a warning or a wish to single out the person named from a number of others).

b) Final and Medial DA does not serve to attract the listeners attention. It is added as an expression of politeness, affection or criticism. It is therefore unstressed or partially stressed and forms the tail of the tune. DA in the final position may be pronounced as a part of the nucleus of a Falling-Rising tune. In this case the utterance sounds warmer and the address becomes more prominent.

C. Intonation of Reporting Phrases and Reported Speech.

Reporting phrases, or authors words are used in conversational passages, in novels, and also in live conversations to a very small extent.

a) Initial RP generally form a separate intonation group.

- The Mid-Level (Static) tone is widely used on these phrases, when the stressed syllable of the most important word is pronounced on a steady (unmoving) pitch. Here a static tone is used as a nuclear tone. It shows that the intonation group is semantically incomplete and leads on to the more important part of the utterance.

- Low Rise is also commonly used on initial RP. It shows that the RP is semantically incomplete without the quoted speech.

- Fall-Rise (D) is used instead of a Low Rise when a RP contains a word contrasting in meaning to another word in the given context.

- High/Low Fall can be used on a RP when it is semantically and grammatically complete in itself. It is possible to use the Falling nuclear tone on a semantically incomplete RP only if it requires special emphasis.

b) Final RP form the tail of the tune of the quoted speech. Its pitch pattern therefore is determined by the nuclear tone of the quoted speech (a rising or low tail). The RP may form part of an expanded nucleus Fall-Rise (D). The important word of the RP carries the rise of the Falling-Rising tone. This intonation pattern is commonly used to express pattern.

Intonation of Reported Speech.

In RS the RP generally form the first (non-final) intonation group of an utterance and it may take nuclear tones Low Rise, Fall-Rise, high Fall, while the RS forms the following (final) intonation group. ARP may not form an intonation group and then the first word of it, important enough to take a full stress, becomes the head of the whole utterance, or otherwise it is pronounced as its pre-head (unstressed or partially stressed).



© 2013 wikipage.com.ua - wikipage.com.ua |