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Unit 13 Types of Intonation in English

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1 Unit 13 Types of Intonation in English

2 Intonation in English English intonation is an important means in expressing one’s feelings and meanings. It may convey some delicate implications and emotions when it is said with different intonations.

3 I. Definition 0f intonation:
Briefly speaking, intonation means the rise and the fall of the pitch o f the voice during speech. II. Basic Tones and Their Training a) Basic tones English tones are divided into two categories, namely, static tones and kinetic tones: (1) Static tones the tones which remain at the same height are called static tones. They are high level and low level. (2) Kinetic tones ----the tones which glide from one height to another are called kinetic tones .They are high fall, low fall, high rise , low rise , high fall-rise, and low fall-rise.

4 III. Tone-group In speech flow, the basic unit of the English intonation is a tone-group. It is comparatively complete in meaning. The intonation of the whole tone-group is called a tune.

5 IV. Functions of tunes and their uses
The most commonly used tunes in English are Falling, Rising and Falling-rising . Their functions will be dealt with respectively according to the four types of sentences, i.e., the declarative sentence, interrogative sentence, imperative sentence and exclamatory sentence. 1. Falling tune The falling tune is used basically to express definiteness and completeness. It is often used in declarative sentences, special questions, imperative sentences and exclamatory sentences. A. Declarative sentence When used in declarative sentences, the falling tune expresses definiteness, completeness and subjective attitude of the speaker. Other implications it has are seriousness, confidence, stubborness, clarity, straightforwardness, etc. The low fall has cool, depressed or stern coloring. In enumerating things, the fall is used at the end to show completeness. B. Interrogative sentences (1) special questions Used in special questions, the falling tune sounds clearcut and straightforward. The high fall is delightful and pleasant; the low fall may sometimes sound flat and unsympathetic, phlegmatic and agitated, quite often even hostile. Consequently it is less commonly used.

6 (2) General questions When a falling tune is applied to a general question, the speaker, who has already his own view in mind , puts the question forward as a suggestion or a subject for discussion rather than a request for immediate information. However, a low fall sounds phlegmatic, depressed or agitated. General questions with “will you “ at the beginning have as good as the function of imperative sentences and are often read with a fall. The negative forms of General questions have the function of exclamatory sentences. ( 3) Disjunctive questions The falling tune used in questions –tags in the disjunctive questions indicates that the speaker hopes to get confirmation from the listener. C. Imperative sentences The falling tune, often used in imperative sentences, indicates enthusiasm, firmness, and sincerity. But sometimes it has the implications of coldness and sterness. D. Exclamatory sentences The falling tune is very common with exclamatory sentences and indicates moods and feelings, giving great weight and emphasis to them.

7 2. Rising tune The rising tune indicates basically lack of definiteness and incompleteness. It is very common with general questions. It is also used in imperative sentences in a delightful mood and declarative sentences with a question mark at the end. A. Declarative sentence the rising tune used in the declarative sentence expresses doubt. The speaker has something more to say, but the listener is expected to say something so that the conversation may be carried on .The low rise sometimes indicates surprise, criticism or unsatisfactory rebut. B. interrogative sentences 1)Special questions The rising tune used in special questions indicates that the speaker intends to make clear about the question, sometimes it may express an interest on the part of the speaker. If the nucleus is on the interrogative word, such feelings as surprise, dissatisfaction or opposition may be implied.

8 2) General questions The rising tune is very common with general questions; other tunes are only used in special situations. 3) Disjunctive questions The rising tune is used on the second part of the disjunctive question, i.e., the question-tag when the speaker expects from the listener an answer, whether positive or negative. C. Imperative sentences The rising tune is seldom used in imperative sentences. However, it may be used in speaking to children or in short imperative sentences. The rising tune sounds milder and more sincere than the falling tune. The low rise indicates advice and encouragement. D. Exclamatory sentences The rising tune is seldom used in exclamatory sentences. But short ones are read with a low rise, which sounds delightful with the implications of encouragement and casualness. Besides, some sentences of greetings are spoken with a low rise to show friendliness, sounding lively.

9 3. Falling-rising tune The falling-rising tune is also widely used in English. It combines the function of the Fall and that of the Rise with a change of mind. It is used to show contrast, reservation , implication, disagreement, contradiction or warning, etc. A. Declarative sentence The Falling-rising tune used in declarative sentences indicates incompleteness and Implications, such as concession, gratitude, regret, apology, request, reproach and rebut, etc. B. Interrogative sentences 1) Special questions The Falling-rising tune used in the special question is stronger than the Rising tune .It expresses surprise, interest, request, sympathy, disgust and disbelief, etc. 2) General Questions The Falling-rising used in the general question can express hesitation , request, agitation, exaggeration, etc. No answer is expected by the speaker. 3) Disjunctive question

10 C. Imperative sentence The falling-rising tune used in the imperative sentence expresses a warning or urgent request. D. Exclamatory sentence The Falling-rising tune is seldom used in exclamatory sentences. However, when used, it expresses enthusiasm, appreciation, sympathy, encouragement, regret and contempt, etc.

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