The role of prosody and rhythm means in the perception of English-language text

The prosodic and rhythmic means of english language speech: speech rhythm, intonation, volume and tempo, pauses and speech melody. Methods and Means of Forming Rhythmic and Intonational Skills of Pupils. Exercises and Tasks of Forming Skills of Pupils.

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Язык английский
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Міністерство освіти і науки, молоді та спорту України

Полтавський національний педагогічний університет імені В.Г. Короленка

Факультет філології та журналістики

Кафедра англійської та німецької філології


Курсова робота




1.1 Speech Rhythm

1.2 Speech Intonation

1.3 Speech Volume and Tempo

1.4 Pauses in Speech

1.5 Speech Melody


2.1 Methods and Means of Forming Rhythmic and Intonational Skills of Pupils

2.2 Exercises and Tasks of Forming Rhythmic and Intonational Skills of Pupils




During last years linguistics has been interested in the study of human speech so much. The study of prosody seems to be an area of knowledge, which has undergone the most noticeable changes during the last ten or fifteen years. Such attention to prosodic research is probably explained by the fact that contemporary achievements in sphere of speech development technology have given an opportunity to conduct investigations of acoustic parameters associated with prosodic phenomena, in particular frequency of fundamental tone and duration. This also can be explained by the fact that last time in linguistics and in particular, phonetics significant theoretical advances that have allowed a better understanding of the functioning of prosodic parameters while expressing different types of values in world languages have been achieved.

Today the term “prosody” is widespread and it has simultaneous interpretation. According to A. Antipova, there are two distinct and diametrically opposite points of view to this matter. The first one sees difference between the concept of prosody and intonation. The second perspective is largely connected with the understanding of intonation as a multidimensional unity. In other words, the components of intonation are treated as “a complex set of prosodic features”, and, in fact, identified with prosody which is seen as a system of pronunciation of stressed and unstressed, long and short syllables in speech [17, с. 36]. The second view is in the basis of this research work.

M.A. Sokolov, K.P. Gintovt, I.S. Tikhonova and R.M. Tikhonova distinguish three prosodic components of intonation: pitch, volume and tempo. As the authors note, the term “prosody” includes these three prosodic components and replaces the term “intonation”. Among the properties of prosody they name the following: volume, speed of speech and rhythm. One of the main characteristics that demarcate style on prosodic level is, in their opinion, the accentuation of semantic centers [26, с. 13].

Prosody plays important role in teaching a language because in the study of English the particularly relevant tasks are the tasks forming a regular speech. Intonation is important as it is important for the meaning of an utterance. Intonation gives some sense to words and grammatical constructions. The same remark, uttered by different tones can be perceived as an order, a request, a statement or a question, spoken with various modal and emotional meanings. Proper use of voice tone is a sign of a speaker's phonetic literacy. Therefore, those who learn English from the first tries to speak this language should be able to reflect true melody of English language and set phrase stress. Many people with theoretical knowledge need to learn a foreign language in practice.

Another important thing is rhythm of speech, which is caused not only by the features of the national language, but also by the internal state of a man, his social and cultural backgrounds, different extralinguistic circumstances in which he gets.

Local and foreign researchers working on these problems clearly showed that the overall picture of rhythm in a work is composed of specific elements of rhythm that are manifested in speech tissue of a prose. The rhythmic organization of a literary work provides connectivity and integrity of the text making it easy for perception and memory, creating an aesthetic effect [12, с. 24].

Thus, work on pronunciation, rhythm and intonation skills should be done at all stages of learning a foreign language. Pupils need to quickly understand what is said and make their speech tonally correct. Exercises in this should help automate pronunciation and speech perception skills [12, c. 26].

But not always young specialists have effective methods of teaching rhythm and intonation of English speech in perfect. Therefore, the study of this problem is particularly relevant and important.

Despite the fact that this aspect of teaching was studied by many modern phonology scholars, today this issue remains unresolved. So the topic of my research is “The role of prosody and rhythm means in the perception of English-language text”.

The object of the research is prosody and rhythm means in English.

The subject of the work is the conditions and factors of success teacher's activity to establish rhythm and intonation skills in English in the course of school.

The aim of the research is to study specific features and methods of teaching rhythm and intonation of English. To achieve the aim the following tasks were put forward:

1) to bring to light the concept of “rhythm” and “tone”;

2) to analyze and study the characteristics of rhythmic and intonational system of English speech;

3) to consider the instructional techniques of teaching rhythm and intonation of English speech;

4) to view the exercises and assignments for the formation of rhythmic and intonation skills of pupils.

The following research methods were used while working on the problem:

- bibliographical;

- descriptive;

- analytical;

- comparative.

The work begins with an introduction presenting the topicality of the problem set in it and the main aspects of making the research. Then two parts of the main content subdivided to units. The first part is theoretical; it deals with the concepts of prosody and rhythm of English language. The second one is practical; it contains teaching methods and examples of exercises which may be put into practice in English classes to improve prosodic-rhythmic skills of pupils. The work is ended with conclusions. Finally, the bibliography was added.



1.1 Speech Rhythm

Prosody is a set of phonetic supersegment means realized in speech at all levels of speech segments (a syllable, a word, a word-combination, a syntagm, a phrase, a superphrase, an utterance, a text) and performing the function of organization and segmentation of the flow of speech [26, с. 31].

Often they distinguish the following elements of prosody: speech melody, stress, time and timbral characteristics, rhythm and tone. In this sense, the term “prosody” is often synonymous with the concept of intonation. Both terms are used to describe the functional system of suprasegmental means of language, though there were attempts to establish a distinction between prosody and intonation, linking intonation with a phrase, and prosody with all segments of speech beginning with a word and up to a text [26, с. 33].

The terms “prosody” and “rhythm” are also interrelated as rhythm is often considered as one of the elements of prosody, in one row with speech intonation, volume, tempo, melody, interregna in speech [18, с. 17]. Let's bring to light each of this prosodic means having analyzed some linguists' works we have today.

Under the rhythm of speech we mean ordering of its sound, verbal and syntactic structure defined by some meaning tension. In wider sense, rhythm is a regular repetition of similar and comparable units of speech that perform structuring, text-building and emotional functions. Rhythm is the least expressed in spontaneous everyday speech, and the most in poetic texts [18, с. 41].

In the formation of rhythm all possible means of language are involved: sound, intonational, syntactic, as well as various intonational structures. Phonetics considers rhythm of speech as a uniform alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables. English-language speech is characterized by uniform go of stressed syllables. Therefore, the speed of pronouncing unstressed syllables between two stressed ones depends on the number of unstressed syllables: the more unstressed syllables, the faster they should be pronounced [18, с. 46].

While in Ukrainian language rhythmic unit is a word, in English rhythmic unit is a group of syllables, consisting of one stressed syllable and a few unstressed, adjacent to it. It is a rhythmic unit uttered at regular intervals to determine the rhythm of English speech [18, с. 49].

Meaningful groups in writing comply with rhythmic groups in the spoken language, which are separated from each other by pauses. Under rhythmic group we mean a set of stressed and unstressed syllables or rhythmic units between two pauses. After a rhythmic group spoken with a rising tone there should be longer pause than after a rhythmic group uttered with a falling tone [18, с. 64].

As in spoken English many function words are unstressed, time of their pronouncing between two stressed syllables can be sufficiently small (it is dictated by the rhythm of speech). Therefore, there is a certain phonetic method, which helps to maintain such a pure English speech rhythm. This method is called conjoint reading. The sense of this technique is in continuous (with no pauses) pronouncing unstressed syllables, usually followed by a stressed syllable within the same rhythmic (meaning) group. Thus, a pause (and breath) in spoken English is done only between rhythmic groups, and within them all the syllables are pronounced “in one breath” [11, с. 24].

The following combinations of words that are included to the general meaning groups should be spoken conjoint:

1) an article (possessive or a demonstrative pronoun) + a noun: a book, the book, my book;

2) an article (or pronoun) + a noun with the definition: this pink dress;

3) a particle to along with infinitive: to go;

4) conjunctions and prepositions with surrounding them parts of speech: you and I, black and white;

5) auxiliary and modal verbs;

6) a pronoun (a noun) + a verb: Nick would have written;

7) a predicate + an adverbial modifier or a complement: go to school;

8) introducing there + a form of the verb to be: there is, there are;

9) complex adverbs: so much;

10) an ultimate “dumb” r (or a combination re) is spoken together with a vowel, if the next word is started with it [18, c. 71].

In English not only these groups of words are spoken together but also whole sentences making up one meaning group and therefore containing no pauses. However, the implementation of the rules of conjoint readings should not lead to distortion of the meaning of the phrase uttered. Sometimes while careless conjoint reading a transition of consonants from the preceding to the following syllable may occur, and this can lead to ambiguous interpretation [11, с. 19].
In order to maintain the rhythmic structure of speech very often a strengthening or weakening of verbal or phrasal stress takes place. This occurs in the following cases:

1) if two or more unstressed words are uttered, some of them can be pronounced with stress: As you say. But: As Bob say;

2) if there are two or more stressed words side by side, some of them may lose its stress: Send him away! But: Send Bob away!

3) in sentences with numerals having two stresses;

4) in words having two principal stresses, one of them can be mitigated partially or completely, if you want to oppose one word to the other (an emphatic sentence): Is he upstairs or downstairs?

5) complete reduction of one of a few stresses also occurs when it is required by rhyme in a poetic work [18, с. 99].

Rhyme is a harmony of all lines of a verse, which is a rhythmic repetition based on sound similarity of stressed syllables in the rhyming words [18, с. 101]. Let's set an example.

“O friend unseen, unborn, unknown,

Student of our sweet English tongue,

Read out my words as night alone:

I was a poet; I was young” [24, с. 59].

So in the poem “To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence” by American poet James Elroy Flecker there is a verse. The adjective unknown has two main stresses - on the prefix and the root vowel. However, in the poetic work this word's principal stress is completely reduced, as the word unknown rhymes with alone.

1.2 Speech Intonation

Intonation is a phonetic language tool that turns a sentence to sounding statement. It is a variation of the unity of melody, tempo, phrasal stress, tone and tempo of speech, which is used to transmit different meanings ??in the act of communication. In a narrower sense, intonation is rhythmic-melodic system of an utterance, presented by raising and lowering tone taking place in the stressed and unstressed syllables [2, c. 5].

In a spoken statement intonation can perform the following functions:

1) make differences between types of communication statements (motivation, question, exclamation, order, ask etc);

2) make differences between statements according to their meaning importance;

3) turn a statement into a coherent whole, at the same time breaking it to rhythmic groups;

4) express specific certain emotions;

5) reveal the implication of a spoken statement;

6) characterize the speaker and the situation of communication [16, с. 48].

The first two functions bring intonation to the pattern of the language; the others belong to the speech area. Intonation also plays a special role within a whole text: it colors in different ways texts of different genres, divides a text into meaning segments, at the same time holding the inter-phrase relation; it is an active factor of emotional and aesthetic impact on the listener. The most important function of intonation is associated with expression the aim of a statement: it characterizes it as a message, a question, an objection etc. This function is implemented mainly by tonal stresses of different configurations. To this function adjoins another one - expression of evaluation, including expressive. It is expressed by differences in the level of tone and by means [16, с. 54].

The sentence always deals with a lot of intonation expressed by semantic features. Variety of semantic combinations corresponds to a large number of different intonation patterns.

Falling intonation. It is the most common type of standard unemphatic intonation in English. It is used on the last stressed syllable of the utterance in the following cases:

1) at the end of exclamatory sentences;

2) at the end of short declarative sentences;

3) at the end of imperative sentences expressing an order, a command or a prohibition;

4) at the end of special questions, beginning with interrogative pronouns: What? When? Where? Who? Why? How?

5) at the end of the second part of an alternative question, involving a choice of two options: Were you at the cinema or at the theatre last week?

6) at the end of the first part of the tag question, which is a declarative sentence: You know him, don't you?

7) at the end of the second part of the tag question, when the questioner is sure about the first part of the statement, he does not expect to get any additional information, but only wishes to confirm that the statement is true: It's warm today, isn't it?

8) in a reciting greeting at the meeting;

9) in the highlighting the addressing at the beginning of a sentence at the end: Pete, where is your pen?

10) in the highlighting the application at the end of the sentence: This is my friend, an artist.

11) at the end of the subordinate clause, standing before the main, if the last sentence is pronounced with a rising tone: When you come home, will you call me? [12, с. 77].

Falling intonation is used for asking or giving information in a normal, quiet, unemphatic sense. At the same time, falling intonation holds certain emotions, such as completeness, finality, certainty. Falling intonation sounds more emphatically, confidently and persuasively than rising intonation.

High fall is a version of standard falling intonation. It is used for additional accenting in informal situations to show live interest and friendliness in declarative and exclamatory sentences, such as greetings. High fall starts higher than a standard fall, the stress of it is stronger and the stressed syllable is louder. Although this type of tone is wide-spread in colloquial speech, those who learn English should use it carefully and not too often, because it is very emphatic and expressive [2, с. 39].

Rising intonation. It is usually expresses uncertainty and doubt. Therefore, with a rising tone the following things are usually pronounced:

1) A common subject: My brother and I went on an excursion.

2) An adverbial modifier at the beginning of a sentence: Last year there was a lot of snow.

3) Each of the listed parts of a sentence, except the last, if it is the end of the declarative sentence: There are books, pens, and pencils on the desk.

4) General questions to be answered “yes” or “no”: Have you ever been to London?

5) The second part of a tag question, if the questioner wishes to get any extra information, since he is not sure that the information in the first part of the question is true: You've got this book, haven't you?

6) The first part of alternative questions: Have you seen this film or that one?

7) Imperative sentences expressing a polite ask: Will you lock the door, please!

8) Subordinate clauses standing before the main ones: As soon as I arrive at the hotel, I will let you know.

9) The words of farewell and gratitude, as well as the expression “all right”. If this expression is pronounced with a falling tone, it may be perceived as a threat [2, с. 57].

Intonational models. There are some definite intonational models to be considered as standard. Here are some features of them:

1) the first unstressed syllable is pronounced at the lowest level of the range;

2) the first syllable of the scale has the highest voice level (above the midpoint of normal range);

3) the initial unstressed syllables before the first stress are pronounced with a gradually rising tone or at the very low range;

4) the general lowering of the voice in the scale occurs on the stressed syllables, and continues on the unstressed ones following them;

5) raising of the voice takes part only on the last stressed syllable;

6) if the last stressed syllable is followed by the unstressed one, it is pronounced with an even tone, and raising of the voice occurs on the last stressed words [6, с. 44].

Sometimes standard intonation models can be changed. It is important to understand what such a change may tell about. A declarative sentence spoken with falling intonation gives information, while a declarative one spoken with rising intonation becomes a matter of surprise or implies a request to repeat. A special question with falling intonation asks information, while special one spoken with rising intonation tells of high interest and astonishment on the part of the speaker or implies a request to repeat. A general question asked with rising intonation asks some information and requires an answer “yes” or “no”, while a general one spoken with falling intonation shows a speaker's confidence to get an affirmative answer. Asking by the means of a general question with rising intonation is normal and polite, while asking with falling intonation sounds like an order or command and can be rude. Those who learning English should understand what changes of the standard intonational models may tell about, but in their own speech it is much more better to use the standard models of intonation.

1.3 Speech Volume and Tempo

Volume is an auditory sensation forming by the perception of energy of the sound standards. During the conversation, speech etiquette tells us the sequence of replicas and the volume level that is acceptable in these or that conditions. Loud speech is a way to attract attention, as well as to be non-priority, and to interrupt others. All this can lead to serious misunderstandings: people who are accustomed to speak quiet, may perceive a loud voice as authoritative or vulgar, but those who speak loud often see ones speaking in a low voice as cold, closed or frightened [1, c. 246].

If we take as the standard volume level adopted for the different socio communicative situations for the codified speech, then in similar conditions for spontaneous speech a little raised or lowered volume will be typical. It can be explained by a greater degree of emotionality of spontaneous speech [2, c. 95].

Temp is the frequency and speed of pronouncing sentence, or its elements. Speech tempo is caused by various factors: the size of the room, its acoustic characteristics, the number of listeners, the speaker's individual speech characteristics etc. Whatever the speech is, it should be kept within some certain norm. In average, we can pronounce 130 words per minute. Faster or slower speech is considered as deviation from the norm [25, с. 19].

There is also a more detailed classification of speech tempo, distinguishing simple and complex one. Simple tempo is characterized by its relative stability and immutability. This type of tempo is found in simple sentences and simple statements. Complex form of tempo is connected with long sentences having complex grammatical structures and polysyllabic words. It is characterized by a peculiar sharp slowing or fastening the spoken utterance. Speaking of spontaneous speech, it should be noted that here complex form of tempo occurs even in simple statements. Slowing down his speech, the speaker focuses directly on this part of his message emphasizing its semantic importance:

Hundreds of `time have I told you to leave that jam a` lone.

Conversely, increasing speech tempo, the speaker wants to weaken the semantic importance of statements:

Nothingata | | seriousdon'tworry [4, c. 85-86].

Tempo of spontaneous conversational speech depends on a situation. However, comparing tempo of conversational speech with dialogic reading of the text, it must be noted that the speed of speaking a little slower than of reading. This is because during the conversation the topic is found kind of “on the fly”, with no preparation, while reading is a process of reflection and reproduction of already finished text. Tempo of spontaneous speech is unstable. Very often stretching syllables and words to express uncertainty and emphasis occur. Contrasting temporal transitions make the speech mobile and expressive [3, c. 125].

1.4 Pauses in Speech

Speech stream is divided into meaning sections of different length. This division is carried out through pauses. The main function of pauses is to divide continuous speech into phrases and intonation groups. Pauses are interconnected with tempo of speech: the number and the length of pauses influence the overall tempo of speech of the speaker. They distinguish dumb or not voiced pauses, pauses of perception, and voiced pauses (hesitation pauses) [11, с. 93].

A dumb or not voiced pause is a stop of phonation (the vocal cords work). Pauses can be short, long and very long. Pauses of perception are not characterized by the period of phonation stop, but they make some effect, as it is reached through a sharp change of direction of intonation. Graphically, such pauses are signed by wavy lines as opposed to not voiced pauses, which can be denoted by dashed, straight, or two straight lines according to the length: The teacher sais John is very bright. | She is proud of him | | [4, c. 86-87].

Every speaker or reader needs pauses to take a breath and gather his thoughts. Pauses are also important to listeners as they provide an opportunity to receive and process the speech signal, in other words, to perceive what they hear. Time periods of phonation and pausation are balanced, but not equal. For example, when reading fables most of English readers kept the ratio 2: 1, that is, they devoted to their speech twice more time than to pauses. Perhaps such a text is the most easy to perceive by the ear, and understandable even to a child. But a completely different situation is observed in spontaneous speech, where the ratio is 3, 6:1, so that is not an easy task for the listeners [11, с. 111].

For those who study spontaneous speech voiced pauses - a phenomenon of hesitation - presents special interest. In interpersonal communication two behavioral strategies awe possible: aimed at competition when a person tries to attract attention and lead the conversation, or aimed at cooperation when a person tries to keep the conversation, to create an atmosphere comfortable for all participants of the conversation. The means of joining a conversation are interruption, picking up someone's replicas which occurring at higher volume levels signal the desire to speak out and seize the initiative in the conversation. A person, whose speech was interrupted, may elect one of two methods to complete his replica: he can either increase the volume, and very clearly and slowly finish the phrase to indicate that he finished his thought, or mute the voice and stop talking giving up for that who wants to speak out do it. Reluctance to give up the position, and thereby retain the right to continue the conversation is expressed by a voiced pause - hesitation - during which the invasion of another companion into conversation is broken: a simultaneous conversation between two or more people (overlaps) is usually very short [4, с. 93].

To give a speaking person to open up, a listener should express approval of what he says, cheering him, and “difficult” provocative questions should by preceded by an little introduction with a phenomena of hesitation. Thus the negative effect of aggressive attack on the person is removed.

An interviewee, to maximize favorable impression, should quickly respond to the question by a short phrase that will indicate that the issue is understood and accepted, and then, thanks to hesitation, he will win some time to choose a right formulation, an argument, an exact word. Thus, the phenomenon of hesitation, that's to say, pauses of reflection, voiced and not voiced, is very important for the planning speech or signaling a continuation of the conversation. Self-interruptions and repetitions are also acceptable. The phenomena of hesitation often occur during the interview, as answers are usually not active, motivated by the charge, often arbitrary and selective, so this requires some time to think [11, с. 113].

Here is an example of how American teenagers respond to questions during the interview. Hesitation manifests itself in voiced pauses, such as err, emm, and lengthened pronunciation of conjunctions, prepositions and articles and, the, at before the word you have to remind. In speech of young men phenomena of harshness of speech is more expressed than in young girls' speech, and they apply even to the significant words (underlined in the text):

'Yeah | I `have, |' I've one sister, | she is e` leven years `old, | her 'name is Bethany ... | - Er ... | 'She - is in -> the ... | `Fifth, grade, I 'think, |` yeah | she is in the `fifth, grade | ... and 'she - plays | - soccer-ball. | | My - Dad | is an ac `countant | - at |, air-con` struction company. | | 'My - mother works | for a` bid-store. | | (Lesley, age 18, Alaska, East Anchorage high school student).

-Er-mm ... | My 'father is a' builder, my 'mother is teacher, |' she teaches `eighth, grade English. | - And | I 'have a brother, | he is twenty | and' he is in the rings | and 'living in `Georgia | right now | - and he will be` married in April. | | 'He's | twenty. | | (Julia, age 18, Alaska, East Anchorage high school student) [26, с. 136].

In interpersonal communication for each speech community there are adopted social norms of varying volume, pitch, melodic patterns, tempo, change of replicas and other prosodic forms of speech etiquette. They recommend a strategy of cooperation, which manifests itself in the pick up, tips, active role in the conversation by raising the pitch and volume, maintaining the right to continue talking by the means of voiced pauses of hesitation and lengthened pronunciation of conjunctions, articles, prepositions and other words necessary for reflection. Introducing part, anticipating “difficult” for the interlocutor questions, removes the negative effect of tension. The rapid pronouncing of the beginning of response replica tells about understanding and readiness to respond, and then within a replica the effects of hesitation may be fully used [1, с. 118].

1.5 Speech Melody

Speech melody is the change of speech pitch. In speech melody the following items can be distinguished: range, register, terminal tone, melodic scale and pre-tact [23, с. 84].

Range and register can be viewed at two levels: at the level of individual expression and the level of general characteristics of speaker's voice. Tonal range is the interval between the highest and lowest tonal points. Range of speaker's voice, or total range, can be defined as the interval between the highest and lowest points of speaker's voice. There exist several registers. Most of all they are divided into three groups, sometimes into four (by American linguistics) [23, с. 96].

The division of speech melody to registers is relative, since the dimensions of human range of various language speakers are different. It seems reasonable to adopt a three-level division of total range, as such division is the most convenient and justifiable, as high and low one opposed to each other should have some middle point. Therefore, in total range three registers can be distinguished: high, medium and low. Each of these registers (let's call them total registers) can be divided into other three parts (high, medium and low). Let's reserve a term “register” for them. Forth we're going to speak of middle total register. Graphically, ranges and registers can be imagined as horizontal lines [23, с. 101].

Middle total register is typical for normal conversational speech, which is often called neutral, unemotional. This name hardly complies with reality, since speech is always emotional. We can only talk about varying degrees of emotional intensity. Emotional speech can be considered a Speech in which some easily recognizable emotions and attitudes of a speaker are expressed, but without much emphasis, can be considered as emotional [23, с. 109].

If we try to measure a range of musical tones, then so-called middle range is within one and a half octaves. Total (wide) range is measured by 2,5-3 octaves. Range less than an octave can be considered narrow. Since these data are confirmed by numerous studies conducted in different languages, it is reasonable to assume that the dimensions of human voice ranges are determined by structural features of the vocal apparatus and are universal [19, с. 84].

It is believed that registers themselves do not carry any meaning. However, register differences play a big role in the transmission of common emotional and modal meanings. Thus, low register often reflects negative or limited emotional and modal meanings ??(grief, sadness, frustration). High register is often typical for statements that carry positive emotions (excitement, joy, etc.) or strong unrestrained emotions (resentment, anger, etc.) [23, с. 113].

The transferring of questioning is largely connected with register parameters. Interrogative utterances associated with middle and high registers. If the lexical and grammatical structure does not transmit the meaning ??of questioning, then register of the statement increases. The experiments in this field have shown that questioning is mainly transmitted by register increase in any terminal tone [23, с. 119].

Melody of English speech is much different from Ukrainian. Here we can name the following differences:

1) range of English speech voice is much wider than of Ukrainian, that is, the beginning of the sentence is higher, and the end is lower than in Ukrainian;

2) in English, there exists a movement of voice tone within the vowel sound, which is carried out over a considerable for the perception fragment of time, so it seems that English “sing” the stressed syllables;

3) in English intonation the beginning point is at the lowest level of speech voice, while in Ukrainian - at the middle level. Unstressed syllables preceding the first stressed, following the last stressed syllable, are pronounced at the lowest voice level, which is hardly ever used in a Ukrainian range, and, therefore, require a special training;

4) English fall reaches the lowest level of range and rise begins from the lowest level;

5) an English expression is characterized by a centralized stress, that is, one word (core) is much more highlighted than the rest of stressed words. In Ukrainian speech stress of an expression is decentralized, that is, all stressed words have more or less similar degree of being highlighted:

Helen's eyes were not very good. Lena was a bad sight;

6) the highlighting of stressed (not core) syllables in an English sentence is done by moving the tone of voice down, while in Ukrainian - by moving up [16, с. 89].

So having considered the problem of such prosodic means as rhythm and intonation we realized that each language has its own special tonal characteristics. Rhythm and intonation of English is different from Ukrainian both by melody and phrase and stress, and tone. In addition, the range of English speech voice is wider than of Ukrainian, unstressed syllables are pronounced at the lowest level of the range that is not used in Ukrainian.

In Ukrainian speech stress is decentralized, stressed words have more or less the same degree of stressing, while English speech stress is centralized. The main difference between English and Ukrainian speech is in the fact that English is more emotional (six tones) than Ukrainian (just two main colors: rising and falling).

Having considered the rising and falling tone, we've seen that the first tone is the tone of uncertainty, incompleteness, and doubt. Therefore, rising intonation is mainly used in interrogative sentences, report a great interest or surprise, it's a polite tone. The falling tone is the tone of straight assertion, completeness, and certainty. So falling intonation is used in declarative sentences, special questions, exclamatory sentences, etc.

Having examined the different types of intonation framing of utterances, we can make a conclusion that mastering the skills of rhythmic and tonal framing of different types of sentences plays very important role in learning English. Intonation expresses emotions: surprise, anger, joy, frustration, etc. Since, in order to arrange the speech correctly one need to know what intonational tone is typical for this or that kind of utterances.

prosodic english speech intonation



2.1 Methods and Means of Forming Rhythmic and Intonational Skills of Pupils

Quite naturally, flawless intonation is an ornament of speech sounding in any language. But we should not dramatize the situation of teaching intonation skills at today's secondary school. Therefore, it would be much better to teach pupils basic model phrases in the approximated performance than a single model of intonation in perfect.

But we should not believe that the problems of intonation are not worth attention at all. We just need to limit teaching intonation skills to minimum models. The following methods of teaching intonational skills are the most effective:

1) use of exercises to develop pupils' speech tempo. Intonation of an English phrase is good only at the appropriate tempo while, as usual, pupils' speech tempo is very low;

2) use of tongue-twisters, proverbs and sayings. It is important to ensure that pupils utter them in one breath, without interruption and unnecessary stoppages that can disrupt a phrase intonation pattern: Money spent on the brain is never spent in vain. Then we move from phrasal to super-phrasal level when in one breath some communicative extract of 2-4 sentences is pronounced [26, с. 96].

Teaching intonation skills not within the language environment is an extremely difficult challenge. An important reserve for improving skills of intonation is to do exercises in expressive reading. It is useful to carry out such work on the material of dialogic nature texts with the following sequence of training activities:

- exemplary reading;

- practicing phonetics;

- practicing intonation;

- frame-up practicing;

- framing-up a dialogue.

Pupils get to know the basic rhythm and intonation patterns in the process of their mastering speech patterns, which at the same time are structural types of sentences [26, с. 101].

The main difficulty is the division of a sentence into rhythm and intonation groups and their correct sound framing - pronouncing in one breath, without interruption, with one stress, and a simultaneous increase / decrease of tone and pronouncing the sentence as a whole. In work on rhythm and intonation patterns is particularly evident the unity of imitation and explanation as a way of presenting new material [13, c. 123].

Explanations of the teacher, which should have practical advice nature, may be built both deductively and inductively. In the first case, he clearly sets a number of similar examples, explaining the features of stress, melody, etc., in the second - he also sets a number of similar examples, but now he makes pupils themselves to come to the correct conclusion (rule) on their own with a help of his ancillary questions. The inductive way is believed to be more efficient (although it requires much time), especially at the beginning of training, since it provides better digesting of heard patterns and develops ear of students, drawing their attention to the sides of speech, which might otherwise stay unnoticed, despite advance mentioning them [24, с. 99].

The next stage of work on rhythm is working on a text, as there is a rhythmic system in the text. As the material and illustration short texts of children's poems can be taken: they are well-digested by people of all ages, represent a significant part of culture of the country the language of which is studied, easy for working on rhythm. Let's begin with analysis of a poem which in many collections is traditionally included to a compilation of children's poems.

The sun has set,

And now anew

With fallen dew

The grass is wet.

Each little bird

Has sunk to rest,

Within its nest

No song is heard [26, с. 107].

A poem is written in disyllabic form and consists of eight lines. The line is clearly framed as a rhythmic unit, first of all with stress and melody prosodic components. Calm, going down melodic contour, ending with a falling tone is repeated from line to line, creating a clear rhythm of the lines. Commensurability of lines enhances their role as rhythmic units.

The poem is divided into two quatrains. This division is carried out by a long pause (longer than the line spacing), the fracture of tone (tone level of the fifth line is higher than tone level of the fourth one), reducing volume by the end of the fourth line and increase of volume by the end of the fifth line. Significant role in bringing together four lines is played by circle rhyme.

Mentioned features make the quatrains similar and comparable, in other words, help regard them as rhythmic units.

The poem also can be divided to two-line fragments. This is done by increasing of isochronisms of two-line fragments in comparison with the line and thanks to stage placing of the lines within the two-line fragment (the first line is on higher tonal level than the second, the third is on higher tonal level than the fourth). Thus, the rhythm of this poem is based on the alternation of rhythmic groups, lines and quatrains.

Such detailed analysis of rhythmic organization of the poem has been required to show the systemic nature of rhythm. On the example of this poetic work clear rhythmic structure spearing all phonetic levels can be seen. That is why poetry is a good material for the development of English rhythmic speech skills. It makes learning the frequency of a basic unit (rhythmic group), as well as the frequency of larger units, easier.

Now we turn to the analysis of rhythmic organization of a prose text. It is advisable to choose descriptive text, wide-spread in practice of foreign languages teachers. Let's analyze the text about the country the language of which is studied.

The British Isles consist of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland and many small islands chiefly to be found in the west. The total area is about 120,000 square miles, i.e. one thirty of the size of Europe.

The west coast is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea, the east coast by the North Sea and the south coast by the English Channel [26, с. 88].

The text contains two super-phrasal unities which are called, respectively, 9 and 7 syntagmas. Their length varies, but not in a significant range (12 of 16 syntagmas contain two stressed words).

If we compare the super-phrasal unities, then we can see that in the first one syntagmas are more a varying in duration (they have different number of stressed words), but more similar in their stress and melodic organization (descending scale and falling tone dominate here); the second super-phrasal unity syntagmas are more commensurate but 3 of 7 syntagmas (1, 4, 6) are pronounced with a rising tone. Hence the second super-phrasal unity syntagmas have more varying melodic framing. This variability, at the same time, has a peculiar rhythm, since syntagmas of ascending ending alternate with syntagmas of descending ending. The analysis of the poem and descriptive text shows that the syntagmas of a prose text have similar framing and have commensurability (frequency). The more this commensurability is expressed, the more varying stress and melodic organization of the text can be.

It's also important to remember that managing of voice (while maintaining the correctness of separate sounds) is a very difficult task for many pupils, and quality of being reproduced patterns largely depends on how they hear these patterns. For this purpose, it is recommended to use and affordable means of visibility - to point the direction of tone by the hand, to knock rhythm, etc. The task of maintaining intonation skills at the appropriate level sets high demands to the teacher's speech in general and to the level of intonation in particular. In this sense the teacher's speech should be exemplary [26, с. 43].

In result of doing a set of preparatory exercises the development of the following skills is achieved:

1) to distinguish physical properties and perceive quality of intonation;

2) to correlate intonation with the semantic content of speech;

3) to distinguish the communicative types of sentences;

4) to differentiate intonational features of a foreign language;

5) to correlate intonation with the context and situation;

6) to have intonation ear;

7) to use probabilistic forecasting at the level of phrases and text [7, c. 199].

During the work on intonation of English speech analytical-synthetic method is used, the essence of such method is synthesis and use of intonation means based on the analysis of practical speech experience [19, с. 24].

To show intonation changes, we can also use a graphical method. The words of the sentence are indicated by conventional symbols, and the direction and intensity of tonal variations - by straight or curved arrows. For this purpose phrases not differing in linguistic means should be used. Most of all, interrogative and affirmative sentences consisting of two words:

Mom is at home.”

“Is mom at home?"

The subject of this analysis is the change of voice tone at the end of the sentence: falling in the first case and rising in the second.

For the assimilation of rising and falling tones we can suggest a game “A question - An answer”. A child is given a card on which some sentences consisting of two words are written, and there is no punctuation at the end of them. The child must identify, if it is a question or an answer. He should pronounce the sentence aloud with appropriate intonation and a certain (rising tone - moving the hand up, falling tone - moving the hand down). After the type of the sentence is argued and tied with intonation, missing punctuation can be added [26, с. 107]. The next game, “Boaster”, is to involve the emotional component. The name is conventional and it expresses only one of possible colors. We can use cards from the previous game, after all punctuation marks were added. The task of a pupil is to pronounce an affirmative sentence with boastful intonation, analyzing sounding of the phrase. Particular attention is paid to how the emotional coloring is achieved. In this case the pupil should maintain a falling tone, expressing relative completeness of the sentence. Then the pupil is asked to pronounce the interrogative sentence with a tone of annoyance. Here a rising tone expressing its incompleteness and the lack of flatness should be maintained. The following emotional coloring is recommended: joy, anger, rage, fear, etc.

2.2 Exercises and Tasks of Forming Rhythmic and Intonational Skills of Pupils

Because of speech nature of skills conditionally communicative exercises on reception and reproduction should be used while teaching intonation [24, с. 99].

The exercises on reception help develop intonation ear of a pupil. This group includes exercises on recognition, differentiation and identification. Let's set some examples exercises of each of these subgroups.

1. Exercises on recognition:

1) Listen to the instructions that parents give to their children.

2) Raise your hand when you hear that the instruction has been given in the form of requests (rising tone).

2. Exercises on differentiation:

1) Listen to the instructions that parents give to their children (whether they do it in the form of a request).

2) Put down “+” if yes and “-” if not.

3. Exercises on identification:

1) Listen to the instructions that parents give to their children.

2) Determine which of them is a request and which is an order.

3) Put down your answers. (By this way we can also define the mood and confidence in pupils own words) [24, с 142].

The exercises on reproduction of intonation patterns. These are conditionally communicative, receptive-reproductive exercises on imitation, substitution, transformation of speech patterns, as well as productive exercises on individual use of English at the level of phrases.

1. Exercise on imitation. (Ask your friend to do what I have asked you).

2. Exercises on substitution. (The teacher asks a pupil about something, and then asks him to turn to another pupil with the same request or to ask about another thing).

3. Exercises on transformation of speech patterns. (Listen to the teacher's orders and say them to your friends as requests).

4. Exercises on individual use of English [24, с. 148].

Work on intonation should be present in speaking, listening, and reading aloud (reading: reading after the speaker, expressive reading, and reading with intonation markings). The control and evaluation of pronunciation is made by the teacher on the basis of types of errors in pupils' speech [1, с. 14].

There are also other effective exercises on the formation of the rhythmic and intonation skills of pupils. Here the examples of them follow.

1) Having made a tonal marking of a sentence to determine the range of reduction, draw a tonogramm of the sentence.

2) To listen to the text on a record, protonate it reproduce its intonation without distorting the original.

3) To protonate the text and read it in keeping with the right intonation.

4) To read off the poem with a given intonation and learn it by heart.

5) To read the sentence as a statement with a falling tone, and then as an interrogative sentence with a rising tone.

6) To read proposed general questions paying attention to intonation.

7) To read proposed alternative questions with intonation they must have.

8) To read the phonetic exercises, transcribe the words.

9) To read exercises and dialogues, learn patterns by heart.

10) To do exercises on the rules of reading, intone sentences, texts, dialogues.

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