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PRACTICAL WORK Nº 1 PHONETICS III 1. What are the prosodic features of the English language?

2. What is intonation? How can we define intonation? 3. What is the role of pitch in defining intonation? What does the term “pitch” refers to? 4. Why do we say English is an intonation language? 5. Describe the form of English intonation 6. What are the functions of English intonation? Provide examples 7. Why do we say English intonation is systematic, characteristic and significant? 8. What does Peter Roach say that discourse function is the most compressible one? DEVELOPMENT 1. The Prosodic (or suprasegmental) characteristics of speech are those

of pitch, loudness and speed. These combine together to make up the rhythm of speech. It is clear that different languages also regularly differ in their prosodic characteristics. Stress is realized by a combination of loudness, pitch and duration. The difference of meaning depends entirely upon the location of the stress. In English there are a few pairs of words distinguished just by stress, for example ‘import (noun) and im’port (verb). Stress is an important part of spoken identity of an English word. Tone is another prosodic characteristic, being realized mainly by differences in the pitch of the voice (e.g. high level, mid level, rising or falling) an acceleration in the rate of vibration is heard as a rising pitch, a slowing down as a falling pitch. 2. Intonation is the melody of speech. In studying intonation we study how the pitch of the voice rises and falls, and how the pitch of the voice rises and falls, and how speakers use this pitch variation to convey linguistic and pragmatic meaning. It also involves the study of the rhythm of speech. Then, if we had no intonation, our speech would be monotonous. 3. The pitch of the voice plays an important part in the definition of

intonation. One of the most important tasks in analysing intonation is to listen to the speaker’s pitch and recognise what it is doing; this is not an easy thing to do, an it seems to be a quite different skill


from that acquired in studying segmental phonetics. We describe pitch in terms of high and low. If a speaker tries to talk while riding fast on a horse, his or her pitch will make a lot of sudden rises and falls as a result of the irregular movement; this is something which is outside the speaker’s control and therefore cannot be linguistically significant. Similarly, if we take two speakers at random we will almost certainly find that one speaker typically speaks with lower pitch than the other; the difference between the two speakers is not linguistically significant because their habitual pitch level is determined by their physical structure. But an individual speaker does have control over his or her own pitch, and may choose to speak with a higher than normal pitch; this is something which is potentially of linguistic significance. 4. There are many languages in which the tone can determine the

meaning of a word, and changing from one tone to another can completely change the meaning. For example, languages from West and South of Africa, many dialects of Chinese, many other languages of South- East Asia, And in Mandarin Chinese (where, for example, -ma means “mother”, /ma means “hemp” and \ma means “scold”. These languages are called tone languages. On the other hand, English is not a tone language, because we can say any English word with any of the intonational “tones”, but the choice of the tone does not alter the lexical meaning of the word. 5. The forms of English Intonation Tonality The first matter a speaker has to decide is the division of the spoken material into chunks. There will be an intonation pattern associated with each chunk. These chunks are known as intonation phrases or IPs. Each IP in an utterance has its own intonation pattern (or “tune”). However, the speaker does not inevitably have to follow the rule of an IP for each clause. There are many cases where different kinds of chunking are possible. Tonicity Speakers use intonation to highlight some words as important for the meaning they wish to convey. These are the words on which the speaker focuses the hearer’s attention. That is to say, we add pitch prominence (=a change in pitch, or the beginning of a pitch movement) to the rhythmic prominence that a stressed syllable bears. The nucleus is the most important accent in the IP. It indicates the end of the focused part of the material. In terms of pitch, it is marked out by being the place where the pitch changes or pitch movement for the nuclear tone begins. Tone A one-syllable word can be said with either a level tone or a moving tone. A level tone does not sound natural and indeed English speakers do


not use level tones on one-syllable utterances very frequently. Moving tones are most common. If English speakers want to finish a conversation or do not continue it, they will probably use falling tone. Contrary, if they are making a question they may use a rising tone. 6. The function of English Intonation The attitudinal function The most obvious role of intonation is to express our attitudes and emotions, such as surprise, pleasure or anger, interest or boredom, serious or sarcasm. We do this by tone. E.g. Annie: It’s two o’clock. We’ll miss the train! Fred: I won’t be more than a couple of /minutes The grammatical function We use the intonation to mark the beginning and end of grammatical units such as clause and sentence (the demarcative function) we do this by tonality. We also use intonation to distinguish clause types, such question versus statement, and to disambiguate varius grammatically ambiguous structures (the syntactic function). We do this mainly by tone. E.g. Where are you /going? The focusing (accentual or informal) function Intonation helps to show what information in an utterance is new and what is already known. We do this by tonicity and by the placement of other accents. This is one of the most important functions of English intonation. These are pragmatic functions. E.g. He told me it cost five /pounds | but actually it cost \ten pounds The discourse (cohesive) function Intonation signals how sequences of clauses and sentences go together in spoken discourse, to contrast or to cohere. It enables us to signal whether or not we have come to the end of the point we are making; whether we want to keep talking or are ready to give another speaker a turn. E.g. She /wants to be invited? The psychological function Intonation helps us organize speech into units that are easy to perceive, memorize and perform. We can all repeat an arbitrary string of three, four or five numbers, but not a string of ten. This is why we need tonality.


e.g. 316223855 Three- one-six-two-two- three- eight- five- five 316 223 855 Three- one- \six | two-two- \three | eight- five- \five The indexical function Intonation may act as a marker of personal or social identity. It makes mother sound like mothers, lovers sound like lovers, lawyers sound like lawyers, clergymen sound like clergymen. E.g. Putting an implant in a subcutaneous or subglandular location more closely approximates the normal movement. 7. We say that English intonation is systematic because it has a system

of pitch patterns, that is, level, rise, and fall. It is characteristic because pitch patterns are not used in the same way by all languages. In some languages, intonation can change meaning of words. Besides, it is significant because intonation indicates personal attitudes such anger, happily, hesitation, etc. 8. Studying intonation in relation to discourse makes it possible to explain much more comprehensively the uses that speakers make of intonation. The study of sequences of tone-units in the speech of one speaker can reveal information coined by intonation which would not have been recognised if intonation were analysed only at the level of individual tone-units. GROUP Niz Evelyn Aredes Muriel Doval Ivanna Toledo Carolina

TP nº1 Fonetica III Niz Evelyn  

2. Intonation is the melody of speech. In studying intonation we study how the pitch of the voice rises and falls, and how the pitch of the...

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