What is intonation its features with description


In any language, intonation serves for the external design of the sentence, as it gives the sentence semantic completeness, as well as various emotional coloring. The means of conveying the attitude to the subject of the utterance and the emotional state of the speaker have their own specific features in each of the languages. Ignorance of these features or inability to reproduce them in speech creates communicative and psychological barriers in communication. Intonation and its types and features

In English, intonation plays a particularly important role due to the highly analytical nature of the language. (In analytical languages, relations between words are expressed not with the help of endings

1.2 The constituent elements of intonation

1.2.1- The melody of speech

raising or lowering the voice in a phrase (compare the pronunciation of a declarative and an interrogative sentence

10.2.2-The rhythm of speech

i.e. alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables;


i.e. speed or slowness of speech and pauses between speech segments (compare slow speech and tongue twister);


i.e. sound coloring, which gives speech certain emotional and expressive shades;

1.2.5-phrasal and logical stress

which serve as a means of highlighting individual words in a sentence.

2.0 Downward/Falling tone

One of the most common tones in English is the Falling Tone, which is perceived as a drop in the pitch of the voice on the stressed syllable.

If the fall of the voice starts from a high level, a high falling tone (the High Fall) is used, the statements spoken with this tone sound energetic, interested, cheerful.

The Mid Fall means the fall of the voice from medium to low. Statements spoken in this tone are characterized by the speaker’s neutral attitude to the situation and the content of the statement.

The beginning of the low falling tone (the Low Fall) is located on the border of the middle and low registers, the utterances uttered in this tone sound restrained.

The descending tone is the tone of categorical affirmation, completeness, certainty. Therefore, it is commonly used in the following cases:

2.1 at the end of exclamation points

 What a nice house! How high! How interesting!

2.2 at the end of short declarative sentences (affirmative and negative)

I will come soon. It’s difficult to say. I don’t know where he is. She didn’t call me.

2.3 at the end of imperative sentences expressing an order, command, or prohibition

 Come here! Stand there! Leave the dog alone!

2.4 at the end of special questions starting with interrogative pronouns

How much? Who is in the house? Where is the book?

2.5 at the end of the second part of an alternative question, involving a choice of two possible options

An alternative or selective question consists of two general questions linked by a union or: Were you at the cinema or at the theater yesterday?

2.6 at the end of the first part of the dividing question, which is a narrative sentence

 You know him, don’t you?

2.7 at the end of the second part of the dividing question

when the questioner is sure of the correctness of the message of the first part and does not expect any additional information, but only expresses a desire to confirm that this judgment is true: It is warm today, isn’t it?

2.8 highlighting the application at the end of the sentence

This is my friend, an artist.

2.9 at the end of the subordinate clause before the main clause

if the last sentence is pronounced with an ascending tone: When you come home, will you call me?

3.0 Rising tone

The Rising Tone is one of the main melodic types in the English language. It represents the rise in pitch from a lower to a higher level: Is he at home? Do you hear me? Is there anybody here? Are you sure he will come?

Depending on the level of rising in the pitch of the voice, there are high, medium, and low varieties of ascending tone, each of which can be divided into wide and narrow gradations depending on whether the rise occurs within the same register or covers a wider part of the voice range.

The High Rise is realized in the high register of the voice range (the High Narrow Rise) or covers part of the middle and high registers (the High Wide Rise).

The main meaning of a high ascending tone is interrogation. Incomplete general questions, spoken in a high, ascending tone, convey the speaker’s willingness to maintain a conversation and a desire for more accurate, additional information: ‘ Call me ‘ later. – At ˊ noon?

This tone is also used in a situation where the speaker wants to gain time to think about an answer to refine the accuracy of what he heard or to express surprise: ‘ for Let ` s ‘ the meet AT the ` circus. – At the ˊ circus?

A characteristic feature repeated, particularly with the value of surprise or surprise, is to increase the initial voice level rise, in this case used a narrow high rising tone (the High Rise Narrow): He ` ll ‘ take ‘ part in this ` contest. – In this ˊ contest?

The Mid Rise is used in full general questions in which there are prenuclear stressed syllables forming a high, even or gradually decreasing sequence, and the beginning of the nuclear syllable shifts slightly downward: ‘ Can you ‘ speak ˊ English?

The Low Rise refers to an increase in voice pitch that starts at the low end of the voice range and ends at the middle. The terminal low ascending tone is realized in two ways: a) the raising of the voice occurs on the nuclear syllable if it is the last in the phrase (intonation group); b) if there are nuclear syllables, the raising of the pitch of the voice is directly carried out on these unstressed syllables, while the nuclear is pronounced at an even low voice level. The main meaning of a low ascending tone is incompleteness, incompleteness, lack of categorically. A low ascending tone gives the statement a touch of uncertainty, understatement, hesitation. Sentences uttered with a low ascent sound interrogative,I am a f `raid that’s not ˊ so. Intonation and its types and features

In an ascending tone, they are usually pronounced:

3.1 common subjects

My brother and I went on an excursion

3.2 circumstances at the beginning of the sentence

Last year there was a lot of snow in the streets of our town;

3.3 each of the listed homogeneous members of the sentence, except for the last one, if it is the end of a declarative sentence

There are books, exercise books, pens, and pencils on the desks;

3.5 general questions starting with auxiliary or modal verbs and requiring a yes or no answer

Have you ever been to London?

3.6 the second part of the dividing question

 if the questioner expresses a desire to receive any additional information since he is not sure about the correctness of the information in the first part of the question: You’ve got this book, haven’t you?

3.7 the first part of the questions assuming a choice (alternative questions)

since this part of the question is essentially a general question: Have you seen this film on TV or at the cinema?

3.8 subordinate clauses before the main one

As soon as I arrive at the hotel, I will let you know.

3.9 words of farewell, gratitude, as well as the expression all right

Goodbye! See you tomorrow. Thank you. All right.

4.0 Downward-upward tone

The falling-rising tone (The Fall-Rise) is one of the most common in English. It has two structural options: the Fall-Rise Divided and the Fall-Rise Undivided. In the unseparated version, both the descending and ascending tone elements correspond to one stressed syllable; when divided, the fall and rise of the pitch of the voice are carried out on different syllables. The descending-ascending tone is often used in English colloquial speech to express various kinds of emotions from doubt to friendly objection. Fall – rise occurs: Intonation and its types and features

 4.1 within one word:

 ` ˊ No. ` ˊ Yes;

 4.2 within two adjacent syllables

 ` That ‘ ˊ right;

4.3 within two syllables, separated by one or more unstressed syllables

Dif fi ˊ cult. ` Nec e ˊ ssary.

The descending-ascending tone is often used in English colloquial speech to express various kinds of emotions: from doubt to a friendly objection, for example:

4.4 correction, clarification

I believe his name is Philip. – David.

 4.5mild, friendly objection

 I am afraid that’s not so.

4.6 doubt, assumption

What color is her dress? It may be gray.

4.7 contrast, opposition

I have a lot of Russian books, but no French books

5.0 Intonation of declarative sentences

Narrative phrases containing a simple statement of fact (messages, names, responses), categorical, calm, serious, and reasonable statements are usually pronounced with a descending tone: He is a ˎ doctor. I have ‘ two ˎ children. She can speak ˎ Spanish.

In sentences containing an enumeration, usually, each incomplete semantic group is pronounced with an ascending tone: There are ‘ six ˎ members in my ˌ family: | my ˏ mother, | my ˏ father, | my ‘ elder ˏ sister, | my ‘ two ˏ brothers | and ˎ I. Intonation and its types and features

5.1 In complex narrative sentences, the first and second parts are usually pronounced in a low descending tone

Winners were called “ o ‘ lympi ˎ onics ” | and they were a ‘ warded ‘ olive ‘ wreaths and ‘ cups of ‘ olive ˎ oil .

5.2 If the subordinate clause comes before the main clause in a complex clause, then it is usually separated into a separate syntagma and pronounced with a low ascending tone

Be ‘ fore you ˏ go, | have a ‘ look at my ‘ latest ˎ photos. If a complex sentence begins with the main one, then usually both parts are pronounced in a descending tone: I must ‘ do it a ˎ lone | since you re ‘ fuse to ˎ help

5.3 However, if there is a causal relationship, the first part is pronounced with an ascending intonation:

She was of ˏ fended | and she ‘ burst into ˎ tears

5.4 In sentences beginning with there + to be

the circumstance of place, as a rule, is not striking or partially stressed and does not form a separate syntagma. The circumstance of the place before the turnover there + to be is usually pronounced with an ascending tone and stands out in a separate syntagma: There is a ˎ table on the left. On the ˏ left | there is a ˎ table.

5.5 To express correction, clarification, disagreement, doubt, assumption in the declarative sentences, a descending-ascending tone is used:

I ‘ think his ‘ brother is ` twenty. – ‘ Twenty – ˊ two.

5.6 If there is a participle at the beginning of a sentence, then it is pronounced with an ascending tone

The ‘ weather being ˏ cold | we ‘ stayed at ˎ home.

5.7 If the participle phrase is at the end of a sentence, it can be, depending on the speaker’s attitude, highlighted in a separate syntagma and will be pronounced with a descending tone

They ‘ came ˎ up to him | ‘ eating ‘ chocolate and laughing. They ‘ came ‘ up to him ‘ eating ‘ chocolate and ˎ laughing.

5.8 The adverbial groups at the beginning of sentences are usually separated into a separate syntagma and pronounced with a low ascending tone

In ‘front of the ˏhouse | we have a ‘small ˎlake.

5.9 Adverbial group at the end of sentences, as a rule, shock or partially unstressed

It ‘ s ‘ getting ˎ cold ˌ out of ˌ doors.

6.0 Intonation of general questions

Common questions are usually spoken in a rising tone: ‘ Shall we ‘ take a ˏ taxi? ‘ Can you ‘ come a ˏ gain?

Incomplete general questions, spoken with a rising tone, transmit willingness to support the speaker’s conversation and the desire to obtain more accurate additional information: ‘ for Let ` s call HIM ` later. – At ˊ noon?

Re-questions with a high ascending tone are used in cases where the speaker wants to buy time to think about the answer, to clarify the correctness of what he heard or to express surprise, amazement, etc.: ‘ He is a ‘ famous ` artist. – An ˊ artist?

7.0 Intonation of dividing questions

The dividing questions consist of two intonation groups. The first intonation group is usually pronounced in a descending tone. The intonation of the second syntagma depends on the attitude of the speaker. If the speaker is not sure of the answer and is waiting for the opinion of the interlocutor, then the second intonation group is pronounced with an ascending tone: You’ll ‘stay to ˋtea, | ˏWon’t you? Intonation and its types and features

A dividing question with a descending tone in both parts is used when the speaker is confident in confirming his assumption. Such a question is not essentially a request for information, its purpose is to stimulate the continuation of the conversation: You ‘ ll ‘ stay to ˋ tea, | ˎ won’t you?

8.0 Intonation of alternative questions

An alternative question is a phrase consisting of two intonation groups, the border between which passes before the conjunction or. In the first intonation group, an ascending terminal tone (high or low) is used, in the second – a descending tone. The high rising tone in the first group of intonation sounds neutral, expressing a request for information, while a low rising tone attaches to a more laid-back sound: Is your niece in ‘ Germany | or ` England? Is this actor is ˏ French | or ` German? Between intonation groups, pauses of greater or lesser duration are observed. The descending tone at the end indicates that the list of choices is complete.

Alternative questions can consist of a special question followed by homogeneous members of the proposal. The first part of such a question is pronounced in a descending tone, in the second part, the first alternative is pronounced with a rise, and the second with a fall: ‘ When will they ‘ read my appli ˋ cation : ˊ tomorrow or ˋ today? 

9.0 Intonation of special questions

The intonation structure of a special question largely coincides with the intonation structure of the narrative, it is usually pronounced with a descending tone, which usually emphasizes the last significant word in a phrase: ‘ What ‘ s the ˎ time? Who’s ˋthat?

In special questions, where the predicate is expressed by the semantic verb to be, and the subject by the personal pronoun, the nuclear tone falls on the verb: ‘ Where ˋ is it? In this case, information is requested about a person or an object already known from the previous context.

The categorical, serious, formal questions have a low descending tone, the interested, lively questions have a high descending tone: ‘ How ˎ much is it? Where ˋ else have you ˎ been? Intonation and its types and features

It should be noted that special questions can also be spoken in a high, ascending tone if the speaker asks to repeat some information: ˊ What did you say? ‘ When did he ˊ come?

10.0 Intonation of incentive statements

Incentive statements expressing a command, instruction for action, an insistent request or advice are pronounced in a descending tone: ˋ Send it. ˋ Take it.

The descending-ascending tone in motivating statements serves to express a request or warning. Caution is pronounced with an undivided one falling-rising tone, and ask – with a split: Don`t the BE ` ‘ late. ˋ Close the ˏ door, please.

Descending-ascending requests sound more lively, warm, and heartfelt: ‘ Tell me the ` ˊ truth.

Exclamation points expressing surprise, anger, excitement are almost always pronounced with a descending tone: ` Dreadful! ‘ Welcome to ` London! Intonation and its types and features

Some exclamations have a special grammatical form and begin with what or h o w: What ‘ pretty ` eyes she has! How ` nice of him!

Orders are pronounced in a descending tone: ` Fire! ` The Stop IT! Stand ` up closeup the when you? Answer.

To stimulate the interlocutor to continue the conversation or take certain actions, an upward tone is used: Go ˊ on! Warnings are often spoken in a downward-upward tone: ` Watch ˊ out!

Orders and directions delivered in an ascending tone (with a high prescale) sound soothing and gracious, a tone often used when talking to children: Come to ˊ Daddy!

11.0 The intonation of the appeal

At the beginning of a sentence, the address is usually percussive and forms an independent intonation group, which can take on any of the nuclear tones. The descending tone gives the address (and the whole phrase as a whole) formality, seriousness, and weight: ˋ Helen, | ‘ take a ˋ seat. In an informal setting, a direct address can be spoken in a rising tone: My ˏ friends, I am ‘ glad to ‘ see you ` here. A downward-upward tone can be used to draw attention: ` ˊ Nick, are you ˊ ready? Intonation and its types and features

In the middle or at the end of a sentence, the address is usually unstressed or partially stressed and continues the melody of the previously stressed syllable: ˋ Look, ˌ Mummy, | I ‘ m ‘ right on the ˋ top .ˋ Many ˏ thanks, Fred. As a rule, the address at the end of the phrase is added out of politeness, and sometimes to express criticism: You are ‘ late ˋ again, Tom. Using split variant a descending/ascending tone attracts attention, and it also sounds warmer: You ‘ seem ˋ tired, ˏ Mum.

12.0 Intonation of colloquial formulas

Colloquial formulas include greetings, goodbyes, apologies, expressions of gratitude, and phrases commonly used in response to them.

Conversational formulas play an important role in communication. They help establish or maintain contact between interlocutors and are considered an indispensable part of the social norms of verbal communication. According to their function in speech, colloquial formulas can be defined as formulas of politeness. However, the degree of politeness may vary. It depends on the sphere of communication and the speaker‘s personal attitude to the situation and the interlocutor. Differences in the degree or intensity of politeness can be expressed by intonation. Intonation and its types and features

The use of a descending-ascending tone expresses a friendly, interested attitude towards the interlocutor: ˋ Good ˊ morning. ` ˊ Thank you.

The ascending tone, preceded by the low prenuclear portion, is used when communicating with close acquaintances, regularly meeting people, or in situations where expressing gratitude or apology is just a formality: He ˏ llo . Not at ˏ all. That`s all ˏ right.

In neutral situations, conversational formulas are pronounced in a descending tone, depending on the content or timbre of the voice, they can sound sincere, serious or formal and lively: ‘ How do you ` do, ˌ Miss Brown. Good ` morning, ˌ children.

Excuse me at the beginning of the phrase is pronounced in a descending tone: Ex ` cuse me. Can you ‘show me the’ way to the ‘nearest ho ˊ tel?

Pardon in the interrogative sentence – with a rising tone: – the Who ‘ s That ‘ boy? – ˊ Pardon? – I ‘ m ‘ asking you a ‘ bout that ` boy. Intonation and its types and features

13.0 Intonation of introductory words

The intonation of introductory words at the beginning of a sentence depends on the speaker’s attitude to the utterance. If the speaker does not attach importance to introductory words, then they, as a rule, are pronounced quickly, often unstressed, and do not form a separate syntagma: Well I ˎdo. ‘Well, I ˎdo.

If the speaker attaches great importance to the introductory words, they form a separate syntagma and are pronounced either in a descending, ascending, or descending-ascending tone: ˎ Generally | about ‘ half ‘ past ˎ seven. ˏGenerally | about ‘half’ past ˎseven. ˎGeneˏrally | about ‘half’ past ˎseven.Intonation and its types and features

Introductory words and sentences can occur at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of a sentence.

Introductory words and sentences at the beginning of the main sentence are stressed. They can be released in a separate semantic group, or a part of the main semantic groups, most often they have pronounced a rising tone ( the To ‘ tell’s you the ˏ truth, I of don ‘ t ‘ the know ), as well as downward ( ‘ the Well, I of ` ll ‘ do it for you ) and a descending-ascending tone ( For my ˋ own ˊ part, I’d ˋ love to ).

Introductory words and sentences in the middle of a sentence divide it into two parts, join the previous semantic group and continue its melody. Introductory words in the middle of a sentence can be pronounced with both ascending and descending intonation: The ˎ English, | as you ˏ know, | are a ‘ matter – of -‘ fact ˎ people. ˎEverybody, | it’s ˎtrue, | ‘wouldn’t apˎprove of it. If you ‘have’ time ˊ tomorrow ”, he continued, we shall ˋmeet.

At the end of a sentence, introductory words or short introductory sentences are usually pronounced without stress and continue the intonation of the previous semantic group: Helen ˋ knows him, you know.

14.0 The intonation of the author’s words in direct and indirect speech

A sentence introducing direct speech is highlighted in a separate syntagma and pronounced either in an ascending or descending tone or at the middle level (Midlevel): He ˎ says, | ” I of ` m ˎ twenty. ” He ˏ says, | ” I of ` m ˎ twenty. ” He says, | ” I of ` m ˎ twenty. “

The author’s words after direct speech are usually unstressed or partially stressed and continue the intonation of the previously stressed syllable: I`m ˎ twenty, she said.

If the author’s words after direct speech are a common sentence, they are pronounced with the same tone as the previous intonation group indirect speech: I`m ˎ twenty, she said, | ˌ looking a ˌ round her as she ˎ spoke. Intonation and its types and features

In indirect speech, this sentence usually does not form an independent semantic group: He ‘ says he is ˎ twenty.

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