Issuu on Google+


Students: •

Cardenez, María Soledad. M.U.N°: 1422

Francolino, Georgina Isabela. M.U.N°: 1431

1) What are the prosodic features of English language? The prosodic characteristics of speech are pitch, loudness and length. These combine together to make up the rhythm of speech. Pitch: it is the prosodic feature most centrally involved in intonation. Psychologically, it is primarily dependant on the rate of vibration of the vocal folds within the larynx. Pitch is used as a perceptual term, relating to listener´s judgments as to whether a sound is high or low, whether the voice is up or down. Loudness: it concerns changes of loudness within one syllable or the relative loudness of a number of successive syllables. Loudness as perceived by the listener is related to the breath-force which a speaker uses. Length: it concerns the relative duration of a number of successive syllables or of a given syllable in one environment. It refers to the length of a time speaker decides to continue to produce a linguistic unit and to the length of time during which a listener hears that unit. 2) What is intonation? Intonation is the melody of speech. It is important to recognize 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 and the study of how the interplay of accented, stressed and unstressed syllables functions as a framework onto which the intonation patterns are attached. 3) What is the role of pitch in defining intonation? First of all, it is necessary to define the word pitch. Pitch is the degree of highness or lowness with which one speaks. For example, some people naturally have a high-pitched

voice. Emotional factors can also affect the pitch of someone's voice. In this way, people may speak in a lower pitch when they are tired. Surprise may make them speak in a higher pitch than usual. As it was said before, it is important to recognize how the pitch of the voice rises and falls, and how speakers use this pitch variation to convey linguistic and pragmatic meaning. 4) Why do we say that English is an intonation language? To begin with, English does not use tone lexically: in this sense, it is not a tone language. But English does use tone for intonation. Any English word can be said with any of the intonational tones but the choice of tone does not alter the lexical identity of the word. The lexical meaning is the same. The non-lexical meaning is different. For example, a fall may indicate definiteness, a rise may indicate incompleteness and a fall-rise may indicate implications. English makes use of tone intonationally but not lexically. 5) Describe the form of English intonation. Speakers of English face three types of decisions as they speak. They are: How to break the material up into chunks, what is to be accented, and what tones are to be used. This is best known as: Tonality, Tonicity and Tone. 1. Tonality is the division of the continuous speech signal into meaningful chunks known as tone units. For example: || my brother who lives in LONdon || got MARried || || my BROther || who lives in LONdon || got MARried || || we saw RED || WHITE || and BLUE flags || || we saw RED white and BLUE flags|| 2. Tonicity is the division of a tone unit into New and optional given elements through the placement of the tonic syllable. It is important to note that the final lexical item does not always equate with the final content word or open class item e.g. || there was a SIGnal failure || || what time did you GET in || || the DOCtor’s coming || … || the doctor’s RUNing || || the POSTman called || … || the postman CRIed || | || the BAby's crying || … || the baby’s TALKing || 3. Tone is the major pitch movement within the tone unit. The tonic syllable is the locus or the point of departure for the tone movement, which may be falling, rising or a compound of falling and rising movement.

For example: Falling tone is used to show finality and usually neutral.

||I think it´s GREAT.|| Falling-rising tone is used mainly in limited agreement or having reservations, and excitement.

||Well I open the

DOOR, || and… ||

Rising tone has many functions, for example, are in listing, yes/no questions, and incomplete statement.

||That´s very

KIND of you||

Rising-falling tone is used in expressing strong feeling of agreement/disagreement or in being sarcastic. 6) What are the functions of English intonation? •

The Attitudinal Function: the most obvious role of intonation is to express attitudes and emotions-to show shock or surprise, pleasure or anger, interest or boredom, and many others. it is done by tone. For example, in a sentence “I want to buy a new car” may indicate that the speaker is: pleading, angry, sad, happy, proud, etc.

The Grammatical Function: intonation helps identify grammatical functions in speech. Intonation is used to mark the beginning and end of a grammatical unit such as clause and sentence (the demarcative function). It is done by tonality. Speaker of English also use intonation to distinguish clause types, such as question vs. statement, and to disambiguate various grammatically ambiguous structures (the syntactic function). It is done mainly by tone.

For example, in questions tags: They are coming on


They are coming on


The Accentual function: intonation helps to show what information in an utterance is new and what is already known. It is use to bring some parts of the message into focus, and leave other parts out of focus; to emphasize or highlight some parts and not others. It is done by tonicity and by the placement of other accents. This is one of the most important functions of English intonation. English speakers combine accentuation with the choice of tone to present some longer stretches of the message as constituting the foreground of the picture, while leaving other stretches as background. These are pragmatic functions.

For example: I have plans to

LEAVE. (I’m planning to leave)

I have PLANS to leave. (I have brought some plans that I want to leave here for sb.)

The Discourse Function: intonation signals how sequences of clauses and sentences go together in spoken discourse, to contrast or to cohere. It functions like the division of written text into sentences and paragraphs. It enables to signal whether or not somebody comes to the end of the point he/she is making; whether he/she wants to keep talking or is ready to give another speaker a turn.

Intonation can indicate subordination of a part of an utterance, indicating that it is of marginal importance, or that it is new or known information. For example: Since the

LAST time we met | when we had the huge KNOWN


DINner | I´ve been on a



The Psychological Function: intonation helps to organize speech into units that are easy to perceive, memorize and perform. Everybody can repeat an arbitrary string of three, four or five numbers, but not a string of ten. This is why tonality is very useful.

The Indexical Function: intonation may act as a matter of personal or social identity. Each person has their characteristic intonation.

7) Intonation is significant, systematic and characteristic. As for the significance of intonation, utterances which differ with respect to their intonation also differ in meaning. For example, the same sentence may be spoken with a “downright, or reserved, or a questioning tone of voice�. Systematic, because there exists a limited number of pitch patterns in any one language and these pitch patterns are used to produce definite meaningful effects. Characteristic, it means that the pitch patterns and tune inventory of English are by no means the same as those of other languages. For instance, the pitch patterns and tune inventory of French and German are not at all the same as those of English.

Practical Work N°1 Phonetics III Cardenez, Francolino