Категория: Английский язык
Prosody. General character of english intonation. (Lecture 7)
Introduction to the problem of prosody
Variations in language types in the use of pitch
The form of English intonation
Structure of intonation group: nuclear stress,
terminal tone and pauses
Weak forms of auxilliary words
Functions of intonation
Schools of prosody (approaches to studies of
On perception level
Intonation is a complex whole, formed by
significant variations of pitch, loudness, tempo
(rate of speech and pausation forming its rhythm)
On the acoustic level
pitch correlates with the fundamental frequency of
the vibration of the vocal cords;
loudness correlates with the amplitude of vibrations;
tempo is a correlate of time during which a speech
Intonation is a complex unity of four components,
formed by communicatively relevant variations in:
1) voice pitch, or speech melody;
2) the prominence of words, or their accent;
3) the tempo as rhythm and pausation of the
4) voice-tamber (quality of voice)
Intonation pattern (pitch movements, loudness
changes, tempo changes) is a basic unit of
Prosody is the study of the tune and rhythm of
speech and how these features contribute to
Prosody and intonation relate as general notion and
A phonetic study of prosody is a study of the
suprasegmental features of speech.
Prosodic features: vocal pitch, loudness and rhythm.
Tones: simple (fall, rise, level), complex (rise-fall,
Pitch range categories: normal, wide, narrow;
Accent: primary and secondary; tempo can be normal, fast
Pauses are unit, short, long and extra-long;
Voice quality (tambre) features are modal, creaky, breathy,
husky, resonant, falsetto, tremulous, and harsh;
Rhythm: clipped or slurred, constant or variable, glissando
Pitch accent languages
Tone unit or phonological phrase
||He will phone you | when | all | the children are back. ||
key: Ph = pre-head ; H = head; Ts = tonic syllable;
T = tail
Nuclear tone: change in the pitch of the semantically
Terminal tone is formed by the nucleus and the tail:
Tom saw it (statement) - Tom saw it? (general question)
Didn't you enjoy it? (general question) - Didn't you enjoy
Will you be quiet? (request) - Will you be quiet?
The opposition of terminal tones in a language is
Downdrift (DECLINATION LINE)
Falling intonation is the unmarked intonation
pattern in English (-/+)
What should I do?
ask what to
ask what to
Variation important in terms of phonostylistics:
quick everyday speech, normal educated speech in
formal environments and slow tempo in classenvironment, specific rhetorical effects.
Pause is a complete stop of phonation.
1. Short pauses which may be used to separate
intonation groups within a phrase.
2. Longer pauses which normally manifest the end
of the phrase.
3. Very long pauses, which are approximately twice
as long as the first type, are used to separate
Syntactic pauses: separate phonopassages, phrases,
Emphatic pauses: make prominent certain parts of
e.g. She is the most ⌇charming girl I've ever seen
Hesitation pauses: used in spontaneous speech
e.g. She is rather a ... good student.
– Where does she live? – Um, not very far from here.
Unit boundary can be indicated
by a percievable change of pitch (stepping down
Presence of junctural features (pauses, segmental
phonetic variations in tempo, aspiration etc.)
Changes are formalized (standardized) as patterns.
Recurrence of stressed syllables at equal intervals is
Regular alternation of:
acceleration // slowing down
relaxation // intensification
length // brevity
similar // dissimilar elements
System of similar adequate elements.
a speech segment which contains a stressed
syllable with preceding or/and following
unstressed syllables attached to it;
one or more words closely connected by sense
and grammar, but containing only one strongly
stressed syllable and being pronounced in one
The 'doctor 'says it’s not quite ↘serious = 1
intonation group [4 rhythmic groups]
ðə 'dɔ ktə 'sez its 'nɔ t kwait \siə.ri. əs
1) Negro Harlem | became | the largest | colony | of
coloured people. (Semantic viewpoint)
2) Negro Harlem | became the | largest | colony of |
coloured people. (enclitic tendency)
Under normal conditions pitch, length, loudness is
applied to content words only.
Arriving Kennedy airport Tues 03.45 p.m.
I am ARRIVING at KENNEDY AIRPORT on
1. at the end of the sentence,
e.g. What are you looking at?
Where are you from?
I’d love to.
2. used for emphasis,
e.g. Do you want this one? - No.
Well, which one do you want? - That one.
3. used for contrast,
e.g. He is working so hard. - She is but not he.
1. the weakening or centralizing of the internal
vowel to [ə], e.g must [məst].
2. the reduction of a short vowel + consonant
sequence to a syllabic consonant [ænd] – [n], fall
out of unstressed internal vowel
e.g. bread and butter, fish and chips, etc.; from
[frəm] - [frm], [fm]
3. loss of an initial consonant sound,
them [ðəm] - [əm], his [hiz] - [iz];
4. loss of a final consonant,
e.g. and [ənd] - [ən], of [ɔ v] - [ə].
David Crystal Prosodic Systems and Intonation in
They are working.
Joan has not seen him.
The children are in the playground.
Contrastive (emphatic) stress:
She travelled from London.
She travelled from London.
She travelled to London.
She travelled to London
(a) Rioting [young men] and [women] were
Rioting [young men and women] were arrested,
(b) They are [cooking apples].
They [are cooking] apples.
e.g. ‘George is a `lawyer, `isn't he? or
‘George is a `lawyer, /isn't he?
VOICE QUALITY (tamber)
(a) I am so glad to see you.
NEW information VS GIVEN information
John: Do you 'like ' tripe?
Mary: I ' loathe tripe, (or / ' loathe it)
Not * I 'loathe `tripe
Turn-taking in a dialogue
1. To structure the information content of a textual
2. To determine the speech function of a phrase.
3. To convey connotational meanings of "attitude"
such as surprise, annoyance, enthusiasm,
4. To structure a text.
5. To differentiate the meaning of textual units.
6. To characterize a particular style or variety of oral
speech which may be called the stylistic function.
British Schools: syntactic approach; affective or
attitudinal approach; discoursal approach
M. Halliday: five simple and two compound
primary tones in English
realisation of a statement" (also a question with known
Tone 2: rising tone - "polarity unknown ... the unmarked
realisation of a yes-no question"
Tone 3: low rising - "not yet decided whether know or
unknown... dependent on something else"
Tone 4: falling-rising - "seems certain, but turns out not to
be. It is associated with reservations and conditions"
Tone 5: rising-falling - "seems uncertain, but turns out to be
certain. It is used on strong, especially contradicting
assertions ... It often carries an implication of 'you ought to
Tone 1 (falling) "Is Fido a dog?" - question with
Tone 2 (rising) "Are you coming?" - I don't know if
you are coming but want to know. cf. Tone 1
(falling) "Are you coming?" - this is a bit more like a
Tone 3 (low-rising) "I think I'll come tomorrow." but not really sure.
Tone 4 (falling-rising) "Bill is coming if he's
allowed." - conditional statement.
Tone 5 (rising-falling) "You ought to know that."
Phonemic or levels approach to intonation: extrahigh, high, mid and low.
Difference of pitch are treated as secondary
pitch heights are used to characterise intonation
contours (contours are sequences of pitch
a systematic approach to speaker attitude;
the interdependence of intonation, stress,
quantity, tempo, rhythm and voice quality.8