Friday, 11 December 2009



Intonation is a crucial element or verbal interaction. Authors of teacher’s handbooks and teaching materials agree on this. The communicative importance of intonation should also be reflected in the attention it gets in language teaching.

There are different ways in which human sound is processed. The idea to emphasis is that all this is done in order to communicate.
Intonation is often defined as a speech melody, consisting of different tones, obviously, what melody and intonation have in common is that in both we make our voice go up or down at will. It means, the tones depend on the pitch of the voice.

There are seven or eight tones but the more commons in English are the follow combinations:”down – up”= falling rising tone and “up – down “= rising – falling.






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

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your post, Liliana and Ivan. The background info at the beginning is interesting, and it's useful to know about the different intonation patterns that are used in English. It might have been a good idea to include a diagram or link to illustrate the different intonation patterns.

    The section about questions, taken from Wikipedia, brings up the issue that there are different intonation patterns in different types of questions. Remember that, as we saw in class, it is often better to divide questions into finding out questions and checking questions. Finding out questions, which are used to acquire new information, usually have falling intonation. Checking questions, which are used to verify, usually have rising intonation.

    One tiny thing more: if anyone wants to open the last link (which has some useful exercises for practising intonation), please note that the link if missing an 'f' on the end of the URL (i.e. it ends .pdf).