Thursday, 12 November 2009

Intonation II

Last Monday in my phonetic and phonology class, we saw the an important topic that is intonation, we saw different examples about intonation, we learn that intonation is a very important issue when we talk, we have to do the correct intonation because If we don’t do the correct one we won’t be able to communicated in a proper way, so that we can confuse the listener,

To start I would refresh the definition about intonation, intonation is a variation of pitch while speaking which is not used to distinguish words. (Compare tone.) Intonation and stress are two main elements of linguistic prosody.

All languages use pitch semantically, that is, as intonation, for instance for emphasis, to convey surprise or irony, or to pose a question. Tonal languages such as Chinese and Hausa use pitch to distinguish words in addition to intonation.

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

A very good example taken from northeastern American English, is that it 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.

I would add how to mark the intonation on a sentece: for 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?

[ hiː ˈfaʊnd ɪt | ɒn ðə ˈˈstɹiːt ‖ ]

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.

[ˈjɛs ‖ hi ˈfaʊnd ɪt | ɒn ðə ˈstɹiːt ‖ ]

How did you ever escape?

[ˈˈhaʊ dɪdjuː | ˈɛvɚ | ɨˈˈskeɪp ‖ ]

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.

If you want to learn more about english pronunciation please visit:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Zisko,

    Don't forget to reference the websites you used:

    If you take information from a website and use it on your own, without acknowledging the source, it's a form of plagiarism. So we need to be careful!