1. Intonation. Its functions. Much has been said about the importance of paying due attention to intonation when studying a foreign language. The process of communication cannot be performed without intonation as it has its own functions in a sentence. These functions are: 1. The constitutive 2. The distinctive (1) Intonation forms sentences. Each sentence consists of one or more intonation groups. An intonation group is a word or a group of words characterized by a certain intonation pattern and is generally complete from the point of view of meaning. E. g.
You’ll come early | and stay as long as you can | won’t you || Sentences are separated from each other by pauses. The end of a sentence is always recognized by a long pause; the end of a non-final intonation group is usually characterized by a shorter pause. E. g. He’s passed his exam || He is a student now || Like most old people | he was fond of talking about old days || (2) Intonation also serves to distinguish the communicative types of sentences, the actual meaning of a sentence, the speaker’s emotions or attitudes to the contents of the sentence, to the listener or to the topic of conversation. E. g.
He’s passed his exam || Low-Fall – a statement of fact High-Rise – a question Low-Rise – a question with surprise High-Fall – an exclamation One and the same sentence pronounced with different intonation can express different emotions. Intonation is also a powerful means of differentiating the functional styles. 2. The components of the intonation 1) Speech melody or the pitch. The sentence possesses definite phonetic features: variations of pitch or speech melody, pauses, sentence stress, rhythm, tempo and timbre. Each feature performs a definite task and all of them work simultaneously.
It is generally acknowledged that the pitch of the voice or speech melody, sentence stress and rhythm are the three main components of intonation, whilst pauses, tempo and timbre play a subordinate role in speech. The pitch of the voice does not stay on the same level while the sentence is pronounced. It falls and rises within the interval between its lower and upper limits. Three pitch levels are generally distinguished: high, medium and low. The pitch of the voice rises and falls on the vowels and voiced consonants. These falls and rises form definite patterns typical of English and are called speech melody.
Pitch Range is the interval between two pitch levels. It may be normal, wide and narrow. E. g. I didn’t know you’ve been to London. The use of this or that pitch (and range) shows the degree of its semantic importance. As a rule the low pitch level expresses little semantic weight, on the contrary the high pitch level is a sign of importance, stronger degree of feeling. 2) Rhythm Rhythm is a regular recurrence of stressed and unstressed syllables at definite intervals. The characteristic features of English speech rhythm may be summed up as follows: 1.
The regularity of the recurrence of stressed and unstressed syllables results in the pronunciation of each rhythmic group in a sense-group in the same period of time irrespective to the number of unstressed syllables in it. Which in its turn influences the length of sounds, especially vowels. 2. The alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables results in the influence of rhythm upon word-stress and sentence-stress. There are as many rhythmical groups in a sense-group as there are stressed syllables. Rhythmic groups can be of two types: ·enclitics – a rhythmic group in which an unstressed syllable clings to the preceding stressed syllable. proclitics – a rhythmic group in which an unstressed syllable clings to the following stressed syllable. To acquire a good English speech rhythm one should arrange sentences: 1) into intonation groups; 2) into rhythmic groups; 3) link the words beginning with a vowel to preceding words; 4) weaken unstressed words and syllables; 5) make the stressed syllables occur regularly within an intonation group. Sentence stress A separate word when used alone as a sentence is always stressed. In a sentence consisting of more than one word, some of the words are left unstressed.
They are the words of small semantic value or those with a purely grammatical function: articles, prepositions, conjunctions, auxiliary, modal and link verbs, personal and reflective pronouns. Words essential to the meaning of the utterance are normally stressed (nouns, adjectives, notional verbs, adverbs, demonstrative and interrogative pronouns). So words that provide most of the information are singled out by means of sentence stress. Sentence stress is a greater prominence with which one or more words are in a sentence are pronounced as compared with the other words according to their informational (semantic) importance.
This greater prominence is achieved by: 1. Greater force of exhalation and muscular tension. 2. Changing of the pitch level. 3. Pronouncing the stressed syllables longer. 4. Not changing the quality of a vowel in the stressed syllable. The most important piece of information conveyed in the sentence is called its communicative centre. It may be expressed by a single word or a number of words. Usually it is the last word in a sense-group and it carries the terminal tone. The main function of sentence stress is to single out the communicative centre of the sentence, which introduces new information.
So it performs a distinctive function and distinguished the speaker’s modal and emotional attitude to the words. Sentence stress may vary in degree. It may be full and partial. Full sentence stress in its turn may be unemphatic and emphatic. 1) Partial sentence stress is indicated by single stress-marks places below the line of print. E. g. I haven’t the slightest idea. 2) Full unemphatic sentence stress is indicated by single stress-marks placed above the line of print. E. g. I haven’t the slightest idea. ) Full emphatic sentence stress is effected by greater force of utterance, greater force of exhalation and lengthening the sounds. Emphatically stresses syllables become more prominent and sound longer than syllables with unemphatic stress. It is indicated by double stress-marks. E. g. Stop talking! Sentence stress can also be subdivided as to its function into syntagmatic stress, syntactic stress and logical stress. Syntagmatic stress presents the most important functional type. Together with the main tones it singles out the semantic centre of the sentence or a sense-group.
In sentences where no word is made specially prominent syntagmatic stress is usually realized in the last stressed word. E. g. I am sending you two tickets for the theatre. Syntactic (or normal) stress marks the other semantically important words within the utterance. E. g. I am sending you two tickets for the theatre. Logical stress is connected with the shifting of the syntagmatic stress from its normal place on the last stressed word to one of the preceding words. It often expresses something new to the listener and creates a new communicative centre. Specific features of the English sentence stress
Though we know that usually notional words are stressed in the sentence and form (functional) words are unstressed it is necessary to point out that any word in a sentence may have logical stress. A word which is made prominent by logical stress may stand at the beginning; at the end or in the middle of a sense-group but it is usually the last stressed word in it. Sentence stress on words following logical stress either disappears or becomes weak. Besides functional words may be stressed in some special cases: I. Auxiliary, modal and link verbs are stressed in the following positions: 1.
At the beginning of the sentence in general and alternative questions. E. g. Can you come? Did you meet him? 2. When they stand for a notional verb in short answers for general questions. E. g. Yes, I am. Yes I have. 3. In contracted negative forms. E. g. He didn’t do it. 4. to be is stressed when final and preceded by the object which is unstressed. E. g. I want him to be here. 5. Auxiliary verb to do is stressed in emphatic sentences. E. g. I do like it! II. Prepositions are stressed when they consist of two or more syllables and are followed by an unstressed personal pronoun. E. g. The dog ran after him.
III. Conjunctions are stressed at the beginning of a sentence when followed by an unstressed word. E. g. When he had gone | she went home too. If he drives | he may be here at any moment. IV. When a personal pronoun is connected by the conjunction ‘and’ with a noun they are both stressed. E. g. My mother and I. V. ‘Have to’ is stressed in the meaning of ‘must’. E. g. He has to go. The general rules for sentence stress are sometimes not observed: a word that should be stressed according to these rules may be left unstressed. In most cases it is rhythm that is responsible for the omission of stress.
Compounds are influenced in the following way: 1. When preceded by a stressed syllable they are stressed on the second element. E. g They are all first-class. It is too old-fashioned. 2. When used as attributes before nouns stressed on the first syllable, the stress falls on the first element of the compound. E. g. She is a good-looking girl. 3. When two nouns occur together the first being used attributively, the second is not stressed. E. g film-star, telephone-book. But if the second noun is polysyllabic it must be stressed. E. g. picture gallery, detective story.
Some words belonging to the notional parts of speech are not stressed in certain cases: 1. When a word is repeated in a sense-group immediately following, the repetition is generally unstressed. E. g. – How many books have you got? – Two books. 2. Word-substitutes like ‘one’ are usually unstressed. E. g. I don’t like this dress. Show me that red one. 3. When the word ‘most’ does not express comparison, but a high degree of quality and is equivalent to ‘very’, ‘extremely’ it is not stressed. E. g. This is a most beautiful picture. 4. The pronoun ‘each’ in ‘each other’ is always unstressed. E. g.
They loved each other. 5. The adverb ‘so’ in ‘do so’, ‘think so’ is not stressed. 6. The conjunctions ‘as’ in the constructions of the type ‘as well as’ is not stressed. 7. The word ‘street’ in the names of streets is never stressed. E. g. Oxford street. Differences with the Russian language 1. Good morning! ?????? ????! Good night! ?????? ????! 2. She’s as pretty as her mother. ??? ??? ?? ?????? ??? ? ?? ????. 3. He did not say a word. ?? ?? ?????? ?? ?????. 4. In English the final stress does not fall on the last element in the word combinations: ‘and so on’, ‘and so forth’, ‘in a day or two’ etc. nd so on? ??? ?????. He will come in a day or two. ?? ?????? ????? ???? ??? ???. 5. In English general questions the final stress falls on the adverbials or on direct object following the verb (in Russian on the verb). Do you speak English? ?? ???????? ??-?????????? Will you go home? ?? ??????? ?????? The Intonation Group An intonation group may be a whole sentence or a part of it. In either case it may consist of a single word or a number of words. An intonation group has the following characteristics: 1. It has at least one accented (stressed) word carrying a marked change in pitch (a rise, a fall…). 2.
It is pronounced at a certain rate and without any pause within it. The pitch-and-stress pattern or the intonation pattern of the intonation group consists of the following elements: 1. the pre-head – unstressed or partially stressed syllables which precede the first full stressed syllable; 2. the head (scale, body) – the intonation pattern extending from the first stressed syllable up to (but not including) the nuclear syllable; 3. the nucleus – the syllable bearing the nuclear (terminal) tone; 4. the tail – unstressed or partially stressed syllables following the nucleus. He told me he would think of it. _____________________ ______________________ pre-head head nucleus tail There are different types of pre-heads, heads and tails. Types of heads. Head patterns are classified into three groups: descending, ascending and level according to the way it begins from the point of view of pitch movement. Descending heads move down from a medium or a high pitch level to the low one. The first stressed syllable is the highest. In the stepping head the stressed syllables gradually descend in pitch levels, unstressed or partially stressed syllables are pronounced on the same level as the preceding stressed ones.
This head conveys the impression of the balanced, active, “normal” mood of the speaker. I don’t want to go to the cinema. _________________________ _________________________ The unstressed syllables may gradually descend in pitch too. In this case the head is called a falling head. ________________________ ________________________ A fall in pitch may not be gradual but rather jumpy which is achieved by a considerable lowering of the pitch inside the stressed syllables or by pronouncing unstressed syllables at a much lower level than the preceding stressed ones. Such a head is called the sliding head.
It usually reflects an excited state of mind and, sometimes, a highly emotional attitude to the situation. I don’t want to go to the cinema. _________________________ _________________________ Ascending heads are the opposite of the descending heads: their stressed syllables move up by steps with the intervening unstressed ones continuing the rise and in this case it is a rising head. I don’t want to go to the cinema. _________________________ _________________________ If the voice moves up jumpy the head is called climbing. Unstressed syllables glide up too. __________________________ _________________________ In level heads all the syllables are pronounced on the same level (or gradually ascends towards the nucleus) either high or medium or low. So there are three level heads correspondingly. It is shown by the tone mark before the first stressed syllable. [ ] Low head conveys an impression ranging from cool and indifferent to sulky and hostile. Types of pre-head There are two types of pre-head: the low pre-head and the high pre-head. The low pre-head is pronounced at a low pitch and may occur in all unemphatic and many emphatic utterances.
Its main semantic function is to mark the comparative unimportance of initial unstressed syllables. The high pre-head is pronounced at a high pitch level. It has a clearly emphatic function. Before a rising tone it usually gives a bright, lively, encouraging character to the utterance. The high pre-head is marked by the tone-stress mark ( ) placed before the first syllable above the line of print. Types of tails There are two types of tails: the low tail and the rising tail. The low tail goes after the falling tone and is pronounced at a low pitch. Show me. __________ __________
The rising tail occurs after the rising tone and gradually rises in pitch producing the very effect of the rising tone whilst the word carrying the syntagmatic stress is pronounced on the lowest level in the sense-group. Really? ________ ________ The notion of “tone”. Static and kinetic tones. Prominent segments of an utterance are usually associated with a pitch change (or a pitch contrast) combined with increased force of articulation and increased duration. Such a cooperation of different phonetic features is reflected in the notion of the tone – the basic element of English intonation.
Tones are divided into two classes: static and kinetic. Static are level tones, their number corresponds to the number of pitch levels. Kinetic tones are classified according to the following criteria: a) the direction of the pitch change; b) the interval of the pitch change; c) the relative position of the pitch change within the speaker’s voice range. Static and kinetic tones differ not only in form but also in function. Static tones give prominence to words. The degree of prominence is proportional to the pitch height of the static tone – the higher the tone, the greater the prominence.
Kinetic tones are more significant for the sentence. Kinetic tones perform a number of functions in a sentence: 1. Indicate the communicative type of a sentence. 2. Express the emotional state of the speaker, his attitude towards the subject-matter and the situation. 3. Single out the centre of semantic importance in a sentence. The most common kinetic tones of Modern English are: The Low Fall – the voice falls from a medium to a very low pitch. The Low Rise – the voice rises from a low to a medium pitch. The High Fall – the voice falls from a high to a very low pitch. The High Rise – the voice rises from a medium to a high pitch.
The Fall-Rise – the voice first falls from a fairly high to a rather low pitch and then rises to a medium pitch. The Rise-Fall – the voice first rises from a medium to a high pitch and then falls to a very low pitch. The falling tones carry a sense of completion and finality and are categoric in character. The rising tones carry incompletion and are non-categoric in character. Combinations of nuclei, heads, tails, and pre-heads lead to a great variety of melodic patterns in English intonation. The melodic structure of the language is a simple system of patterns based upon the most important linguistic functions of intonation.
Since the most significant component of intonation is speech melody, and the most important word of an utterance is made prominent by one of the special tones typical of the language, it is natural to systematize the melodic patterns according to these special tones. Thus the great variety of possible patterns can be reduced to six Intonation Contours (IC), based on the six main tones used in the nuclei. These tones, when combined with different heads, tails and pre-heads, give rise to a few significative variants of the intonation contour.
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