INTONATION

PREPARED BY: ABDULRAHMAN ALYOUSEF KHALID AL GHAMDI

Definition :  Intonation is a part of suprasegmental phonology .  It is mainly a change of pitchmovement .  e.g "yes" can be said in many ways.  Yes Yes Yes Yes  Each one has different meaning . 

 * Languages are divided into tone and

Languages and Tone

intonation languages. Tone languages are like Chinese which depends on the tone .

  e.g. the word " ma " in Chinses has

defferent meanings . It could mean (mother- scold- hemp)  depending on how it is pronounced.   * English is not a tone language but it uses intonation .  *** Languages without intonation is

No languages is spoken in a monotone 

In fact, no languages is spoken in a monotone.  Every one has a melody of its own.  So it is already exist in our language but we will focus on how it is working in details.

The Main Terms
 The main terms that we will study in

the concept of intonation are :

-

tone unit tonic syllable pitchpause
forms and the functions of intonation.

 Through these terms we will study the

Four important points:
 In the beginning we will start with

four important points to get the concept of intonation.  * The first point is to divide the tone units .

 Q. What is tone unit?

 The tone unit or tone group means a word or a group of words in which you believe that constitute full meaning . OR . Group of words between two pauses.

  It could be one word or more.  E.g. the word "Hello" if you

believe that it is meaningful then it is a tone unit. Also sometimes some words can't be a tone unit, e.g. "to my school"  It is not a tone unit because it is not meaningful.  The tone unit must convey a message and this message is

 In addition, we should know that the

tone unit is not related to the sentences because some sentences are two or three lines and we can't consider these lines as one form. So you have to divide the tone units .  In other words , you have to pause in the right place.  e.g. if you have a paragraph , you can't read it in one level like a machine but you have to divide

 Pause is where you stop. The

main function of pause is to breath . Therefore, it is a matter of fact that you pause whether you like or don't.  In intonation we need to pause because you may mis-convey the message.
 e.g. " Those who lie

often

get caught

"

 What does this sentence

 So it is related to the

speaker and the listener.  As a speaker you have to know where to stop.  As a listener you have to decide and recognize what does the speaker mean by this.?
 

 The second point is to

recognize the tonic syllable .

 Q. What is the tonic syllable?  It is the most important syllable in the

tone unit and every tone unit

must have a tonic syllable.
 It is the most prominent syllable in

the utterance over which the pitch variation takes place.


Q. What is pitch ?

  

 Pitch

is the change of sound.

 It is determined by the vibration of vocal

     

cords. If you have a low vibration , you will have a low level of pitch. And vice versa. So vocal cords tell that there is high or low level of pitch. Now, find the tonic syllable: "I am going to London" "I came yesterday" " I like grammar very much"

 OK.

 Q. where is the tonic

syllable in the tone unit?
 Q. Does it have an exact

place?
  The tonic syllable keeps

changing. How?  It is related to many factors.

 They are effected by the stress.  Tonic syllable must be stressed.  1. As you know stress could be used for      

new information. Then tonic syllable will occur in the last lexical words. e.g. Where do you live? I live in Sana'a 2. Stress also could be used to be contrastive. e.g. Are going to Paris tomorrow ? I am going to London tomorrow. The tonic syllable will be in the opposite word or information which is "London" in the previous example.

 3. In addition, stress could be

emphatic.  e.g. Do like Tennis ?
 I like it very much.  The word "very" is neither new

information nor contrastive but it is just stressed for emphasizing.  We have to remember that these types of stress are depending on the questions which are asked. Then you will have the exact place of the tonic syllable.

 As we mentioned before , this point is


 

related to the speaker and the listener. As a speaker you have to decide where the tonic syllable is going to be. As a listener you have to understand and recognize where is the most important information in the utterance.? RULE: " If there are words repeated in the question , they are not going to have the tonic syllable”.