Intonation system of English in the process of historical development

Intonation in English: approaches, definitions, functions. Components of intonation and the structure of intonation group. The phonological aspect of intonation. Pronunciation and intonation achievement factors. Intonation as a text - organizing means.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
Вид курсовая работа
Язык английский
Дата добавления 15.04.2012
Размер файла 160,0 K

Отправить свою хорошую работу в базу знаний просто. Используйте форму, расположенную ниже

Студенты, аспиранты, молодые ученые, использующие базу знаний в своей учебе и работе, будут вам очень благодарны.

Размещено на


Kazakh Ablai Khan University of International Relations and World Languages

Translation Faculty

The Department of Theory and Practice of Foreign Languages

Course paper

On the topic:

Intonation system of English in the process of historical development

Done by: Mukhamediyarov S.K.

Group 208

Scientific adviser: Zhaparova A.A.

Almaty 2012


  • Introduction
  • 1. Intonation in English
  • 1.1 Intonation: approaches, definitions, functions
  • 1.2 Components of intonation and the structure of English intonation group
  • 1.3 The phonological aspect of intonation
  • 1.4 Two main functions of intonation
  • 1.5 Intonation and linguistics
  • l.6 Structure and function of intonation
  • 1.7 Pronunciation and intonation achievement factors
  • 2. Intonation as a text - organizing means
  • 2.1 Dynamic approach to rhytmization and intonation phrasing
  • 2.2 Segmental and supersegmental phonology
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Appendix 1
  • Appendix 2
  • Appendix 3


Actuality of the problem. Just like Latin was the language meant to gather people as the Roman Empire went on its row of conquests all over Europe and later, during the Enlightenment Period, it was French, at this moment English has this function.

However, as English has become more and more popular, people of all cultures learn and speak the language around the whole world. We should ask ourselves, then, how much English language is influenced by other languages and how much of this influence is acceptable.

Even being English the most spoken language in the world, its pronunciation is many times considered less important than grammar or written comprehension. But it must be remembered that the four main abilities of a language - reading, writing, listening and speaking - have all the same importance. Or even, as history recalls: Register came only after oral communication.

If the students are taught intonation at the same time that they learn vocabulary or grammar, like it happens when they learn their mother language, it would be easier for them to learn to speak the language naturally.

That's why I chose this theme for my course paper.

There are a variety of methods for recording intonation patterns in writing and the advantages and disadvantages of some of the commoner ones. The first three methods reflect variations in pitch only:

1. The method introduced by Ch. Fries involves drawing a line around the sentence to show relative pitch heights.

2. According to the second method the syllables are written at different heights across the page. The method is particularly favoured by D. Bolinger. This method is quite inconvenient as application wants a special model of print.

3. According to the third, “levels" method, a number of discrete levels of pitch are recognized, and the utterance is marked accordingly. This method was favoured by some American linguists such as K. L. Pike and others who recognized four levels of pitch, low, normal, high and extra-high, numbering them from 1-4. Since most linguists who have adopted this method have favoured low-to-high numbering. This notation corresponds to the pattern of the example illustrating the first method.

4. The fourth method is favoured by most of the British phoneticians such as D. Jones, R. Kingdon, J. O'Conner and G. Arnold, M. Holliday, D. Crystal and others, as well as by phoneticians who have successfully developed and improved it. This method has a number of advantages. Firstly, not only variations of pitch but also stressed syllable are marked. Secondly, distinct modifications of pitch in the nuclear syllable are indicated by special symbols, i. e. by a downward and an upward arrow or a slantwise stress mark. More than that. Pitch movements in the pre-nuclear part can be indicated too. Thirdly, it is very convenient for marking intonation in texts. One of the disadvantages of this method is that there has been no general agreement about the number of terminal tones and pre-nuclear parts English intonation system requires in order to provide adequate description. So the simplest recognizes only two tones, a fall and a rise-easy to distinguish, but not sufficient for the phonological analysis. Intonation is a powerful means of human intercommunication. The communicative function the main function of intonation. One of the aims of communication is the exchange of information between people. The meaning of an English utterance, i. e. the information it conveys to a listener, derives not only from the grammatical structure, the lexical composition and the sound pattern. It also derives from variations of intonation, i. e. of its prosodic parameters. The communicative function of intonation is realized in various ways which can be grouped under five general headings. Intonation serves:

1. To structure the information content of a textual unit so as to show which information is new or cannot be taken for granted, as against information which the listener is assumed to possess or to be able to acquire from the context, that is given information.

2. To determine the speech function of a phrase, i. e. to indicate whether it is intended as a statement, question, command, etc.

3. To convey conational meanings of “attitude" such as surprise, annoyance, enthusiasm, involvement, etc. This can include whether meanings are intended, over and above the meaning conveyed by the lexical items and the grammatical structure. The difference between a sincere intention and a sarcastic one would be conveyed by the intonation. Note that in the written form, here are only the lexics and the grammar. The written medium has very limited resources for marking intonation, and the meanings conveyed by it have to be shown, if at all, in other ways.

4. To structure a text. Intonation is an organizing mechanism. On the one hand, it delimitates texts into smaller units, i. e. phonetic passages, phrases and intonation groups, on the other hand, it integrates these smaller constituents forming a complete text.

5. To differentiate the meaning of textual units of the same grammatical structure and the same lexical composition, which is the distinctive or phonological function of intonation.

6. To characterize a particular style or variety of oral speech which may be called the stylistic function. There is no general agreement about either the number or the headings of the functions of intonation which can be illustrated by the difference in the approach to the subject by some prominent phoneticians. T. M. Nikolajeva names the three functions of intonations: delimitating, integrating and semantic functions suggests the semantic, syntactic functions the former being the primary and the two letter being the secondary functions singles out the fallowing main functions of intonation: communicative, distinctive, delimitating, expressive, appellative, aesthetic, integrating. Intonation is a powerful not possible to devorce any function of intonation from that of communication. In oral English the smallest piece of information is associated with an intonation group, that is a unit of intonation containing the nucleus. There is no exact match between punctuation in writing and intonation groups in speech. Speech is more variable in its structuring of information than writing. Cutting up speech into intonation groups depends on such things as the speed at which you are speaking, what emphasis you want to give to the parts of the message, and the length of grammatical units. A single phrase may have just one intonation group; but when the length of phrase goes beyond a certain point, it is difficult not to split it into two or more separate pieces of information. Accentual systems involve more than singling out important words by accenting them. Intonation group or phrase accentuation focuses on the nucleus of these intonation units.

The aim is defining general, functional characteristics of intonation as text-organizing means.

The object is theoretical phonetics of the English language.

The subject is intonation system of English language in the process of historical development

The tasks of the research:

1. To analyze theoretical material on the problem of the research.

2. To use theoretical and practical parts of intonation

3. To find activities of intonation in historical development.

Following methods of the research were used during the writing of the work:

1) Analytical and selective study of the theory available;

2) Drawing conclusions

The source consists of scientific, phonetic materials, teaching aids, articles on phonetics.

intonation english phonological pronunciation

1. Intonation in English

1.1 Intonation: approaches, definitions, functions

Intonation is a language universal. There are no languages which are spoken without any change of prosodic parameters but intonation functions in various languages in a different way.

There are two main approaches to the problem of intonation in Great Britain. One is known as a contour analysis and the other may be called grammatical.

The first is represented by a large group of phoneticians: H. Sweet, D. Jones, G. Palmer, L. Armstrong, I. Ward, R. Kingdon, J. O'Connor, A. Gimson and others. It is traditional and widely used. According to this approach the smallest unit to which linguistic meaning can be attached is a tone-group (sense-group). Their theory is based on the assumption that intonation consists of basic functional "blocks". They pay much attention to these "blocks" but not to the way they are connected. Intonation is treated by them as a layer that is superimposed on the lexico-grammatical structure. In fact the aim of communication determines the intonation structure, not vice versa.

The grammatical approach to the study of intonation was worked out by M. Halliday. The main unit of intonation is a clause. Intonation is a complex of three systemic variables: tonality, tonicity and tone, which are connected with grammatical categories. Tonality marks the beginning and the end of a tone-group. Tonicity marks the focal point of each tone-group. Tone is the third unit in Halliday's system. Tones can be primary and secondary. They convey the attitude of the speaker. Hallyday's theory is based on the syntactical function of intonation.

The founder of the American school of intonation K. Pike in his book "The Intonation of American English" considers "pitch phonemes" and "contours" to be the main units of intonation. He describes different contours and their meanings, but the word "meaning" stands apart from communicative function of intonation.

There is wide agreement among Russian linguists that on perception level intonation is a complex, a whole, formed by significant variations of pitch, loudness and tempo closely related. Some Russian linguists regard speech timbre as the fourth component of intonation. Neither its material form nor its linguistic function has been thoroughly described. Though speech timbre definitely conveys certain shades of attitudinal or emotional meaning there is no good reason to consider it alongside with the three prosodic components of intonation, i. e. pitch, loudness and tempo.

M. Sokolova and others write that the term prosody embraces the three prosodic components and substitutes the term intonation. It is widely used in linguistic literature, it causes no misunderstanding and, consequently, it is more adequate. They feel strongly that this term would be more suitable for their book too, but, unfortunately, it has not been accepted in the teaching process yet.

Many foreign scholars (A. Gimson, R. Kingdon) restrict the formal definition of intonation to pitch movement alone, though occasionally allowing in variations of loudness as well. According to D. Crystal, the most important prosodic effects are those conveyed by the linguistic use of pitch movement, or melody. It is clearly not possible to restrict the term intonation by the pitch parameters only because generally all the three prosodic parameters function as a whole though in many cases the priority of the pitch parameter is quite evident.

There is no general agreement about either the number or the headings of the functions of intonation which can be illustrated by the difference in the approach to the subject by some prominent Russian phoneticians. T. M. Nikolayeva names three functions of intonation: delimitating, integrating and semantic. L. K. Tseplitis suggests the semantic, syntactic and stylistic functions the former being the primary and the two latter being the secondary functions. N. V. Cheremisina singles out the following main functions of intonation: communicative, distinctive (or phonological), delimitating, expressive, appellative, aesthetic, integrating. Other Russian and foreign phoneticians also display some difference in heading the linguistic functions of intonation.

D. Crystal distinguishes the following functions of intonation.

Emotional function's most obvious role is to express attitudinal meaning - sarcasm, surprise, reserve, impatience, delight, shock, anger, interest, and thousands of other semantic nuances.

Grammatical function helps to identify grammatical structure in speech, performing a role similar to punctuation. Units such as clause and sentence often depend on intonation for their spoken identity, and several specific contrasts, such as question/statement, make systematic use of it.

Informational function helps draw attention to what meaning is given and what is new in an utterance. The word carrying the most prominent tone in a contour signals the part of an utterance that the speaker is treating as new information.

Textual function helps larger units of meaning than the sentence to contrast and cohere. In radio news-reading, paragraphs of information can be shaped through the use of pitch. In sports commentary, changes in prosody reflect the progress of the action.

Psychological function helps us to organize speech into units that are easier to perceive and memorize. Most people would find a sequence of numbers, for example, difficult to recall. The task is made easier by using intonation to chunk the sequence into two units. Indexical function, along with other prosodic features, is an important marker of personal or social identity. Lawyers, preachers, newscasters, sports commentators, army sergeants, and several other occupations are readily identified through their distinctive prosody. [1,45]

1.2 Components of intonation and the structure of English intonation group

Let us consider the components of intonation.

In the pitch component we may consider the distinct variations in the direction of pitch, pitch level and pitch range.

According to R. Kingdon the most important nuclear tones in English are: Low Fall, High Fall, Low Rise, High Rise, and Fall-Rise. (see Appendix 1)

The meanings of the nuclear tones are difficult to specify in general terms. Roughly speaking the falling tone of any level and range expresses certainty, completeness, and independence. A rising tone on the contrary expresses uncertainty, incompleteness or dependence. A falling-rising tone may combine the falling tone's meaning of assertion, certainty with the rising tone's meaning of dependence, incompleteness. At the end of a phrase it often conveys a feeling of reservation; that is, it asserts something and at the same time suggests that there is something else to be said. At the beginning or in the middle of a phrase it is a more forceful alternative to the rising tone, expressing the assertion of one point, together with the implication that another point is to follow. The falling-rising tone, as its name suggests, consists of a fall in pitch followed by a rise. If the nucleus is the last syllable of the intonation group the fall and rise both take place on one syllable. In English there is often clear evidence of an intonation-group boundary, but no audible nuclear tone movement preceding. In such a circumstance two courses are open: either one may classify the phenomenon as a further kind of head or one may consider it to be the level nuclear tone. Low Level tone is very characteristic of reading poetry. Mid-Level tone is particularly common in spontaneous speech functionally replacing the rising tone. There are two more nuclear tones in English: Rise-Fall and Rise-Fall-Rise. But adding refinement to speech they are not absolutely essential tones for the foreign learner to acquire. Rise-Fall can always be replaced by High Fall and Rise-Fall-Rise by Fall-Rise without making nonsense of the utterance.

According to D. Crystal, there are nine ways of saying Yes as an answer to the question Will you marry me?

1. Low fall. The most neutral tone; a detached, unemotional statement of fact.

2. Full fall. Emotionally involved; the higher the onset of the tone, the more involved the speaker; choice of emotion (surprise, excitement, irritation) depends on the speaker's facial expression.

3. Mid fall. Routine, uncommitted comment; detached and unexcited.

4. Low rise. Facial expression important; with a 'happy' face, the tone is sympathetic and friendly; with a 'grim' face, it is guarded and ominous.

5. Full rise. Emotionally involved, often "disbelief or shock, the extent of the emotion depending on the width of the tone.

6. High rise.mild query or puzzlement; often used in echoing what has just been said.

7. Level. Bored, sarcastic, ironic.

8. Fall-rise. A strongly emotional tone; a straight or 'negative' face conveys uncertainty, doubt, or tentativeness; a positive face conveys encouragement or urgency.

9. Rise-fall. Strong emotional involvement; depending on the face, the attitude might be delighted, challenging, or complacent.

Two more pitch parameters are pitch ranges and pitch levels. Three pitch ranges are generally distinguished: normal, wide, and narrow. Pitch levels may be high, medium, and low.

Loudness is used in a variety of ways. Gross differences of meaning (such as anger, menace, and excitement) can be conveyed by using an overall loudness level.

The tempo of speech is the third component of intonation. The term tempo implies the rate of the utterance and pausation. The rate of speech can be normal, slow and fast. The parts of the utterance which are particularly important sound slower. Unimportant parts are commonly pronounced at a greater speed than normal. [2,89]

Any stretch of speech can be split into smaller portions, i. e. phonetic wholes, phrases, intonation groups by means of pauses. By 'pause' here we mean a complete stop of phonation. We may distinguish the following three kinds of pauses:

1. Short pauses which may be used to separate intonation groups within a phrase.

2. Longer pauses which normally manifest the end of the phrase.

3. Very long pauses, which are approximately twice as long as the first type, are used to separate phonetic wholes.

Functionally, there may be distinguished syntactic, emphatic and hesitation pauses.

Syntactic pauses separate phonopassages, phrases, and intonation groups. Emphatic pauses serve to make especially prominent certain parts of the utterance. Hesitation pauses are mainly used in spontaneous speech to gain some time to think over what to say next. They may be silent or filled.

Each syllable of the speech chain has a special pitch colouring. Some of the syllables have significant moves of tone up and down. Each syllable bears a definite amount of loudness. Pitch movements are inseparably connected with loudness. Together with the tempo of speech they form an intonation pattern which is the basic unit of intonation. An intonation pattern contains one nucleus and may contain other stressed or unstressed syllables normally preceding or following the nucleus. The boundaries of an intonation pattern may be marked by stops of phonation that is temporal pauses.

Intonation patterns serve to actualize syntagms in oral speech. It may be well to remind you here that the syntagm is a group of words which is semantically and syntactically complete. In phonetics actualized syntagms are called intonation groups (sense-groups, tone-groups). Each intonation group may consist of one or more potential syntagms, e. g. the sentence / think he is coming soon has two potential syntagms: / think and he is coming soon. In oral speech it is normally actualized as one intonation group.

The intonation group is a stretch of speech which may have the length of the whole phrase. But the phrase often contains more than one intonation group. The number of intonation groups depends on the length of the phrase and the degree of semantic importance or emphasis given to various parts of it:

This bed was not' slept, in-,This be was not' slept in

An additional terminal tone on this bed expresses an emphasis on this bed in contrast to other beds.

Not all stressed syllables are of equal importance. One of the syllables has the greater prominence than the others and forms the nucleus, or focal point of an intonation pattern. Formally the nucleus may be described as a strongly stressed syllable which is generally the last strongly accented syllable of an intonation pattern and which marks a significant change of pitch direction, that is where the pitch goes distinctly up or down. The nuclear tone is the most important part of the intonation pattern without which the latter cannot exist at all. On the other hand an intonation pattern may consist of one syllable which is its nucleus. The tone of a nucleus determines the pitch of the rest of the intonation pattern following it which is called the tail. Thus after a falling tone, the rest of the intonation pattern is at a low pitch. After a rising tone the rest of the intonation pattern moves in an upward pitch direction:

No, Mary - Well, Mary.

The nucleus and the tail form what is called terminal tone. The two other sections of the intonation pattern are the head and the pre-head which form the pre-nuclear part of the intonation pattern and, like the tail, they may be looked upon as optional elements:

Lake District is one of the loveliest 'parts of, Britain.

The pre-nuclear part can take a variety of pitch patterns. Variation within the prе-nucleus does not usually affect the grammatical meaning of the utterance, though it often conveys meanings associated with attitude or phonetic styles. There are three common types of prе-nucleus: a descending type in which the pitch gradually descends (often in "steps") to the nucleus; an ascending type in which the syllables form an ascending sequence and a level type when all the syllables stay more or less on the same level. The meaning of the intonation group is the combination of the "meaning" of the terminal tone and the pre-nuclear part combined with the "meaning" of pitch range and pitch level. The parts of the intonation pattern can be combined in various ways manifesting changes in meaning, cf.: the High Head combined with Low Fall, High Fall, Low Rise, High Rise, Fall-Rise in the phrase Not at all.

>Not at all (reserved, calm).

>Not at all) (surprised, concerned).

>Not at all (encouraging, friendly).

> Not at all (questioning).

> Not at all (intensely encouraging, protesting).

The more the height of the pitch contrasts within the intonation pattern the more emphatic the intonation group sounds, cf.:

He's won. Fan tastic.

Fan tastic.

The changes of pitch, loudness and tempo are not haphazard variations. The rules of change are highly organized. No matter how variable the individual variations of these prosodic components are they tend to become formalized or standardized, so that all speakers of the language use them in similar ways under similar circumstances. These abstracted characteristics of intonation structures may be called intonation patterns which form the prosodic system of English. Some intonation patterns may be completely colourless in meaning: they give to the listener no implication of the speaker's attitude or feeling. They serve a mechanical function - they provide a mold into which all sentences may be poured so that they achieve utterance. Such intonation patterns represent the intonational minimum of speech. The number of possible combinations is more than a hundred but not all of them ate equally important. Some of them do not differ much in meaning, others are very rarely used. That is why in teaching it is necessary to deal only with a very limited number of intonation patterns, which are the result of a careful choice. [3,78]

1.3 The phonological aspect of intonation

Phonology has a special branch, intonology, whose domain is the larger units of connected speech: intonation groups, phrases and even phonetic passages or blocks of discourse.

The descriptions of intonation show that phonological facts of intonation system are much more open to question than in the field of segmental phonology. Descriptions differ according to the kind of meaning they regard intonation is carrying and also according to the significance they attach to different parts of the tone-unit. J. D. O'Connor and G. F. Arnold assert that a major function of intonation is to express the speaker's attitude to the situation he/she is placed in, and they attach these meanings not to pre-head, head and nucleus separately, but to each of ten 'tone-unit types' *as they combine with each of four sentence types, statement, question, command and exclamation.

M. Halliday supposes that English intonation contrasts are grammatical. He argues first that there is a neutral or unmarked tone choice and then explains all other choices as meaningful by contrast. Thus if one takes the statement I don't know the suggested intonational meanings are: Low Fall - neutral. Low Rise - non-committal, High Rise - contradictory, Fall-Rise - with reservation, Rise-Fall - with commitment. Unlike J. D. O'Connor and G. F. Arnold, M. Halliday attributes separate significance to the prе-nuclear choices, again taking one choice as neutral and the other (s) as meaningful by contrast.

D. Crystal presents an approach based on the view "that any explanation of intonational meaning cannot be arrived at by seeing the issues solely in either grammatical or attitudinal terms". He ignores the significance of pre-head and head choices and deals only with terminal tones.

It is still impossible to classify, in any practical analysis of intonation, all the fine shades of feeling and attitude which can be conveyed by slight changes in pitch, by lengthening or shortening tones, by increasing or decreasing the loudness of the voice, by changing its quality, and in various other ways. On the other hand it is quite possible to make a broad classification of intonation patterns which are so different in their nature that they materially: change the meaning of the utterance and to make different pitches and degrees of loudness in each of them. Such an analysis resembles the phonetic analysis of sounds of a language whereby phoneticians establish the number of significant sounds it uses. [4,85]

The distinctive function of intonation is realized in the opposition of the same word sequences which differ in certain parameters of the intonation pattern. Intonation patterns make their distinctive contribution at intonation group, phrase and text levels. Thus in the phrases:

If Mary, comes let me know at once (a few people are expected to come but it is Mary who interests the speaker)

If - >Mary comes let me know at once (no one else but Mary is expected to come) the intonation patterns of the first intonation groups are opposed. In the opposition I enjoyed it - I enjoyed it the pitch pattern operates over the whole phrase adding in the second phrase the notion that the speaker has reservations (implying a continuation something like 'but it could have been a lot better').

Any section of the intonation pattern, any of its three constituents can perform the distinctive function thus being phonological units. These units form a complex system of intonemes, tonemes, accentemes, chronemes, etc. These phonological units like phonemes consist of a number of variants. The terminal tonemes, for instance, consist of a number of allotones, which are mutually non-distinctive. The principal allotone is realized in the nucleus alone. The subsidiary allotones are realized not only in the nucleus, but also in the pre-head and in the tail, if there are any, cf.:

No. No, Tom. Oh, no, Mary.

The most powerful phonological unit is the terminal tone. The opposition of terminal tones distinguishes different types of sentence. The same sequence of words may be interpreted as a different syntactical type, i. e. a statement or a question, a question or an exclamation being pronounced with different terminal tones, e. g.:

Tom saw it (statement) - Tom saw it? (general question)

Didn't you enjoy it? (general question) - Didn't you enjoy it? (exclamation)

Will you be quiet? (request) - Will you be quiet? (command).

The number of terminal tones indicates the number of intonation groups. Sometimes the number of intonation groups may be important for meaning. For example, the sentence My sister, who lives in the South, has just arrived may mean two different things. In oral speech it is marked by using two or three intonation groups. If the meaning is: 'my only sister who happens to live in the South', then the division would be into three intonation groups: My sister, who lives in the South, has just arrived. On the other hand, if the meaning is 'that one of my two sisters, who lives in the South', the division is into two intonation groups.

Together with the increase of loudness terminal tones serve to single out the semantic centre of the utterance. By semantic centre we mean the information centre which may simultaneously concentrate the expression of attitudes and feelings. The words in an utterance do not necessarily all contribute an equal amount of information, some are more important to the meaning than others. This largely depends on the context or situation in which the intonation group or a phrase is said. Some words are predisposed by their function in the language to be stressed. In English lexical (content) words are generally accented while grammatical (form) words are more likely to be unaccented although words belonging to both of these groups may be unaccented or accented if the meaning requires it.

Let us consider the sentence It was an unusually rainy day. As the beginning of, say, a story told on the radio the last three words would be particularly important, they form the semantic centre with the nucleus on the word day. The first three words play a minor part. The listener would get a pretty clear picture of the story's setting if the first three words were not heard and the last three were heard clearly. If the last three words which form the semantic centre were lost there would be virtually no information gained at all. [5,48]

The same sentences may be said in response to the question What sort of day was it? In this case the word day in the reply would lose some of its force because the questioner already possesses the information that it might otherwise have given him. In this situation there are only two important words - unusually rainy - and they would be sufficient as a complete answer to the question. The nucleus will be on the word rainy. Going further still, in reply to the question Did it rain yesterday? the single word unusually would bear the major part of the information, would be, in this sense, more important than all the others and consequently would be the nucleus of the intonation pattern.

Grammatical words may be also important to the meaning if the context makes them so. The word was, for instance, has had little value in the previous examples, but if the sentences were said as a contradiction in the reply to It wasn 't a rainy day yesterday, was it?, then was would be the most important word of all and indeed, the reply might simply be It was, omitting the following words as no longer worth saying. In this phrase the word was is the nucleus of the semantic centre.

These variations of the accentuation achieved by shifting the position of the terminal tone serve a striking example of how the opposition of the distribution of terminal tones is fulfilling the distinctive function.

If the phrase I don't want you to read anything has the low-falling terminal tone on the word anything, it means that for this or other reason the person should avoid reading. If the same word sequence is pronounced with the falling-rising tone on the same word, the phrase means that the person must have a careful choice in reading.

It should be pointed out here that the most important role of the opposition of terminal tones is that of differentiating the attitudes and emotions expressed by the speaker. The speaker must be particularly careful about the attitudes and emotions he expresses since the hearer is frequently more interested in the speaker's attitude or feeling than in his words - that is whether he speaks nicely or nastily. For instance, the special question Why? may be pronounced with the low falling tone sounding rather detached, sometimes even hostile. When pronounced with the low-rising tone it is sympathetic, friendly, interested. [6,48]

All the other sections of the intonation pattern differentiate only attitudinal or emotional meaning, e. g.: being pronounced with the high рге-head, Hello sounds more friendly than when pronounced with the low pre-head, cf.:

He llo! - O He llo!

More commonly, however, different kinds of pre-heads, heads, the same as pitch ranges and levels fulfil their distinctive function not alone but in the combination with other prosodic constituents.

We have been concerned with the relationship between intonation, grammatical patterns and lexical composition. Usually the speaker's intonation is in balance with the words and structures he chooses. If he says something nice, his intonation usually reflects the same characteristic. All types of questions, for instance, express a certain amount of interest which is generally expressed in their grammatical structure and a special interrogative intonation. However, there are cases when intonation is in contradiction with the syntactic structure and the lexical content of the utterance neutralizing and compensating them, e. g.: a statement may sound questioning, tes the grammatical means of expressing this kind of meaning: Do you know what I'm here for? - No (questioning). There are cases when intonation neutralizes or compensates the lexical content of the utterance as it happens. [7,52]

1.4 Two main functions of intonation

Intonation performs several important functions in English. The first function is uniting separate words into sentences in oral speech. The second function of intonation is distinguishing between types of sentences: statements, questions, commands, requests, exclamations, etc. Also, intonation allows us to express emotions: finality, confidence, interest, surprise, doubt, joy, pain, irony, etc. when the meaning of the word please is neutralized by intonation.

Lack of balance between intonation and word content, or intonation and the grammatical structure of the utterance may serve special speech effects. A highly forceful or exciting statement said with a very matter-of-fact intonation may, by its lack of balance, produce a type of irony; if one says something very complimentary, but with an intonation of contempt, the result is an insult. The intonation pattern used gives information about whether an utterance is a statement or a question, the type of question and expected response, or whether something is part of a series of items, or something on its own.

In a statement, the intonation falls on the last syllable of a sentence. e. g. .

There is a similar pattern in an information (WH) question; these structures are identified by both the question word that starts the sentence and by the intonation pattern. e. g.

An information question contrasts with a “yes/no" question in which the intonation rises on the final syllable. e. g.

In a series, the first item (s) has rising intonation and the last one has falling intonation. e. g.

If the intonation pattern is incorrect, then the listener receives a confusing message and can be unsure of how to respond.

It is very important to understand that intonation patterns themselves have meaning. One and the same word or phrase pronounced with different types of intonation will convey different meanings and will be understood differently, for example: No. - No? - No! Change of standard patterns of intonation also has meaning, for example, rising intonation makes a command more polite, more like a request.

English intonation is very different from Russian intonation. Both languages use falling and rising intonation, but they are not the same in English and Russian. It's very important not to bring Russian intonation into English because intonation patterns from Russian may convey a different meaning in English and cause misunderstanding and even produce an unfavorable impression of you.

It is necessary to study English intonation together with your study of grammar and vocabulary as soon as you start studying English because it will be difficult to get rid of the Russian accent later on. The best way to study English intonation is by listening and repeating. Marking the stresses, pauses, falling and rising intonation and other phonetic phenomena in the written copy of the recording that you are listening to helps to understand and memorize intonation patterns. It is also very useful to record your reading of the text transcript and compare your result with the audio file you have studied. The next step may be watching a film in English and listening for the intonation patterns that you have studied and started to use and so on.

Working on pronunciation and intonation is hard work that requires patience and perseverance, and intonation patterns are especially difficult to master. A good ear helps a lot, so train your skills by listening and repeating, reciting poems and singing in English as often as you can. [8,59]

1.5 Intonation and linguistics

Rising intonation means the pitch of the voice increases over time; falling intonation means that the pitch decreases with time. A dipping intonation falls and then rises, whereas a peaking intonation rises and then falls.

The classic example of intonation is the question-statement distinction. For example, northeastern American English, like very many languages, has a rising intonation for echo or declarative questions (He found it on the street?), and a falling intonation for wh - questions (Where did he find it?) and statements (He found it on the street.). Yes or no questions (Did he find it on the street?) often have a rising end, but not always. Some languages like Chikasaw and kalaallisut have the opposite pattern: rising for statements and falling with questions.

Dialects of British and Irish English vary substantially, with rises on many statements in urban Belfast, and falls on most questions in urban Leeds.

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, "global" rising and falling intonation are marked with a diagonal arrow rising left-to-right [?] and falling left-to-right [?], respectively. These may be written as part of a syllable, or separated with a space when they have a broader scope:

He found it on the street?

[hi?? fa? nd? t |? n????? st? i? t?]

Here the rising pitch on street indicates that the question hinges on that word, on where he found it, not whether he found it.

Yes, he found it on the street.

[?? j? s? hi? fa? nd? t |? n???? st? i? t?]

How did you ever escape?

[??? ha? d? dju? |?? v? |???? ske? p?]

Here, as is common with wh - questions, there is a rising intonation on the question word, and a falling intonation at the end of the question.

Lexicalized intonation

English intonation may become semi-lexicalized in common expressions such as "I'unno" (I don't know), and therefore starts to approach the domain of tone. Pitch also plays a role in distinguishing acronyms that might otherwise be mistaken for common words. For example, in the phrase "Nike asks that you play-Participate in the Lives of America's Youth", [2] the acronym play may be pronounced with a high tone to distinguish it from the verb 'play', which would also make sense in this context. However, the high tone is only employed for disambiguation, and is therefore contrastive intonation rather than true lexical tone. [9,78]

l.6 Structure and function of intonation

Intonation is the music of the language. In English, we use tone to signal emotion, questioning, and parts of the sentence among many other things. It's important to recognize the meaning behind the tones used in everyday speech, and to be able to use them so that there are no misunderstandings between the speaker and the listener. It is generally true that mistakes in pronunciation of sounds can be overlooked, but mistakes in intonation make a lasting impression.

Intonation has always been a difficult thing to define. According to traditional descriptions, intonation is "the melody of speech", and is to be analyzed in terms of variations in pitch. Intonation is said to indicate the attitudes and emotions of the speaker, so that a sentence like 'I think it's time to go now' can be said in a happy way, a sad way, an angry way, and so on. While this is certainly true, there is clearly more than just pitch variation involved in conveying such things, so the definition of intonation becomes considerably more complicated. It is clear that when we are expressing emotions, we also use different voice qualities, different speaking rates, facial expressions, gestures, and so on. We must indicate what type of information tye are presenting and how it is structured, and at the same time we must keep our listeners' attention and their participation in the exchange of information.communicative interaction would be much more difficult without intonation: think how many misunderstandings between people arise in the exchange of e-mail messages, where intonation cannot play a role.

In English, as in many other languages, pitch is an important component of accentuation, or prominence, both at the level of individual words and at the level of longer utterances. In general, we distinguish between pitches which are relatively steady-state, i. e. which do not change level perceptibly, and those which change by stepping or sliding up or down to another pitch level, as illustrated in the figure below. English intonation characteristically slides or transitions gradually from one pitch level to the next rather than stepping up or down abruptly from one pitch level to the next. Thus, English intonation is best represented by "humps" and "waves" rather than by "angles" and "steps".

Is the first one (with a falling movement on "any") says that she will go out with nobody, while the second (with a falling-rising pitch movement) says that she is careful about who she goes with.

The pitch of the voice is determined by the frequency with which the vocal cords vibrate., The frequency of vibration of the vocal cords is in turn determined by their thickness their length and their tension. The modal pitch of the voice, i. e. one's natural average pitch level, depends on the size of the vocal cords. In general, men have thicker and longer vocal cords than women and children do. As a result, the modal pitch of a man's voice is generally lower than that of a woman or a child.

In addition to its modal pitch, every individual voice has a pitch range which can be achieved by adjustments of the vocal cords.

By tightening the vocal cords, a person can raise the pitch of the voice (vocal pitch); by loosening them, one can lower vocal pitch.

There is also a natural variation in pitch associated with the amount of air that is expended during speech. When the airflow through the glottis is great, it causes the vocal cords to vibrate quickly. As airflow is reduced, the effect on the vocal cords is diminished, and the frequency of vibration decreases. Although it is possible to override these natural effects - e. g. by changing the tension of the vocal folds - in the unmarked case, the pitch of the voice will descend naturally over an utterance as the speaker's breath is used up. This effect is called downdrift.

As a result of downdrift, there is a natural iconic association of falling pitch with finality and related meanings such as assurance or defini-tiveness. Conversely, there is a natural association of non-falling (steady-state or rising) pitch with non-finality and related meanings such as lack of assurance or non-definitiveness. The difference between falling and non-falling or rising intonation is represented by Cruttenden as that between "closed" (assertive) and "open" (non-assertive) meaning.

The two compound patterns combine the meanings of falling and rising intonation in interesting iconic meanings. The fall-rise pattern has the meaning of both, i. e. both closed and open meaning. This signifies both definiteness and indefiniteness simultaneously, in the sense that a referent is instantiated but the utterance is not yet completed or in the sense that the speaker feels some hesitancy, reservation, doubt or uncertainty. The rise-fall pattern incorporates the fall of completion or assurance of the first pattern with the emotional overtone of a high pitch in the middle of the utterance. This is a so-called swell tone used for emphatic meaning: as the tone swells, the meaning or emphasis increases. [10, 47]

1.7 Pronunciation and intonation achievement factors

We all know that it is difficult for adults to learn accurate pronunciation in a foreign language. We also know that some people achieve better results than others. Why is this? What are the factors that might predict which students will achieve good pronunciation? If we knew the factors helping pronunciation, we could improve our own learning.

Richard Suter, a language researcher at a California university, decided to test the relative importance of factors that might predict which students would achieve the most accurate pronunciation. He wanted to find out if there are any factors a student could change in order to improve performance.

The first tiling Suter did was to make a list of all the factors that might possibly show which student would learn the best pronunciation. Then he compared these factors with the pronunciation of a group of foreign students. Here is a list of six of the factors Suter studied.

1. Sex. Do females learn better than males?

2. Mother tongue. Is it easier to learn a language close to one's own?

3. Personality. Do out-going people learn pronunciation better than shy people?

4. Attitude toward pronunciation. Does it make a difference if the student believes that pronunciation is a very important part of language?

5. Natural ability. How important is the ability to mimic or imitate? Most people assume that natural ability is the single most important factor in learning pronunciation.

6. Conversation with natives. Does the amount of conversation in English, with naпve speakers of English, make a significant difference?

When Suter compared the students' pronunciation accuracy scores with this six variables, some of the results were surprising. He found that two of the factors did not have any relation to the accuracy of pronunciation. That is, these two factors were not at all significant in predicting who would do well learning pronunciation.

These two factors were:

1. Mother tongue. This was the most significant factor in predicting achievement. If the student's own language was closer to English, the achievement was likely to be greater.

2. Attitude about pronunciation. This was the second most important factor in predicting achievement. In fact, a belief in the importance of pronunciation was far more important than many of the remaining factors. After the mother tongue factor, this factor of attitude was the single most significant variable in predicting good pronunciation learning.

3. Conversation with natives. The third most important variable was the amount of time the student spent in conversation with native speakers of English.

4. Natural ability. This was the last important variable. The ability to imitate helped, but it was not nearly as significant as most people think. It was far less significant than the first three.

Suter concluded that the three most significant predictors in achievement in pronunciation are: (1) the student's mother tongue, (2) the belief in the importance of pronunciation, (3) the amount of time spent in conversations with native speakers.

The conclusions of this research are encouraging. Of course, we cannot change factor 1, our mother tongue. But we do have control over factors 2 and 3, which are the next important variables in learning accurate pronunciation. First, we can decide that pronunciation is important, and second, we can choose to make the effort to speak the new language with natives. You might say that our own choice is the most significant factor in achievement in the new language. [12,78]

Current opinion regarding English Second Language pedagogy in general and pronunciation in particular, has at least two generally accepted theoretical cornerstones. The suprasegmental features of English - stress, rhythm, intonation, linking, reduction, and deletion - are called prosodies. These contribute more to meaning and overall listener perception of nonnative speaker fluency than do the segmentals, the individual vowel and consonant sounds.

Подобные документы

  • Functions of intonation. Components of the intonation. Notion of "tone". Static and kinetic tones. Intonation and expressiveness of questions. Meaning and use of disjunctive questions in present-day speech. Intonation is said to indicate the attitudes.

    курсовая работа [31,5 K], добавлен 20.11.2013

  • The great diversity of opinion among the well-known domestic and foreign phoneticists in question on allocation of the main components of intonation. Functions and lexico-grammatical structure of intonation in English and in Ukrainian languages.

    реферат [17,8 K], добавлен 29.04.2013

  • Sentence stress is the music of spoken English. Some examples of content and structural words. Two very important suprasegmental aspects of English pronunciation. Basic types of intonation and their differences from Armenian intonation on the other.

    реферат [25,4 K], добавлен 09.07.2015

  • 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.

    курсовая работа [52,5 K], добавлен 09.07.2013

  • Language as main means of intercourse. Cpornye and important questions of theoretical phonetics of modern English. Study of sounds within the limits of language. Voice system of language, segmental'nye phonemes, syllable structure and intonation.

    курсовая работа [22,8 K], добавлен 15.12.2010

  • The historical background of the spread of English and different varieties of the language. Differences between British English and other accents and to distinguish their peculiarities. Lexical, phonological, grammar differences of the English language.

    курсовая работа [70,0 K], добавлен 26.06.2015

  • The development of American English pronunciation. English changes in which most North American dialects do not participate. Eastern and Southern American English. Australian speech as a subject to debate. Long and short vowels. Canadian pronunciation.

    реферат [62,2 K], добавлен 14.05.2011

  • The development of Word Order. Types of syntactical relations words in the phrase, their development. The development of the composite sentence. The syntactic structure of English. New scope of syntactic distinctions and of new means of expressing them.

    лекция [22,3 K], добавлен 02.09.2011

  • Study of different looks of linguists on an accentual structure in English. Analysis of nature of pressure of the English word as the phonetic phenomenon. Description of rhythmic tendency and functional aspect of types of pressure of the English word.

    курсовая работа [25,7 K], добавлен 05.01.2011

  • The nature of English word stress - the key to excellent pronunciation and understanding of English. English speakers use word stress to communicate rapidly and accurately, even in difficult conditions. Word stress tendencies and functions, variation.

    реферат [22,6 K], добавлен 06.02.2010

Работы в архивах красиво оформлены согласно требованиям ВУЗов и содержат рисунки, диаграммы, формулы и т.д.
PPT, PPTX и PDF-файлы представлены только в архивах.
Рекомендуем скачать работу.