Saif Hussam Kareem Mohammed al-Qaisi
Maysan Education Directorate / Ministry of Education
Attempts to determine how people produced and perceive intonation and to differentiate clearly between the linguistic and emotional aspects of intonation and stress have been widely searched by many linguists and phonologists. Evidence, contrary to general assumptions, is presented that intonation is a central rather than peripheral linguistic feature. So, this term paper entitled (The Role of Intonation in Language Learning, Acquisition, and Communication) presents this role given some experiences with foreign learners who try to perceive their perception with the way the language is analysed.
Languages can differ from each other in a variety of ways concerning their intonation: 1) the average pitch of delivery may differ; 2) the actual intonation contours as such may vary from language to language, or 3) the frequency of occurrence of a shared contour may be different in two languages. The features of stress (intensity), tone (pitch), and duration (length) are always present in all utterances Thus; any utterance in any language is characterized by differing degrees of loudness, melody, and rhythm.
Key terms: Intonation, Language Acquisition, intensity, pitch, lengthly
دور التنغيم في تعلم اللغة واكتسابها والتواصل بها
سيف حسام كريم محمد القيسي
مديرية تربية ميسان
محاولة تحديد كيفية إنتاج الناس للنغمةوإدراكهم لها وللتمييز بشكل واضح بين الجوانب اللغوية والعاطفية للتنغيم والاجهاد تم البحث عنها على نطاق واسع من لدن العديد من اللغويين وعلماء الأصوات. في الغالب يتم تقديم الدليل على عكس الافتراضات العامة على أن التنغيم هو سمة لغوية مركزية بدلاً من المحيط الخارجي ؛ لذلك يقدم هذا البحث الذي يكون بعنوان (دور التنغيم في تعلم اللغة واكتسابها والتواصل بها) هذا الدور في ضوء بعض التجارب مع المتعلمين الأجانب الذين يحاولون إدراك الفهم بالطريقة التي يتم بها تحليل اللغة.
يمكن أن تختلف اللغات عن بعضها البعض بعدة طرق فيما يتعلق بالتنغيم: 1) قد يختلف متوسط درجة الإلقاء (حدة الصوت). 2) قد تختلف ملامح التنغيم (التجويد) الفعلية من لغة إلى أخرى 3) قد يختلف تكرار حدوث لحن مشترك في لغتين.
ميزات الإجهاد (الشدة) والنغمة (درجة الصوت) والمدة (الطول) موجودة دائماً في جميع الكلام. يتميز أي كلام في أي لغة بدرجات متفاوتة من الجهارة واللحن والإيقاع ؛ لذلك فإن الهدف من هذا البحث هو معرفة إلى أي مدى يلعب التنغيم دورًا في اللغة ، ومن المفيد للغاية تعلم تعقيدات النطق لأي لغة ، ولايمكن استثناء اللغة الإنجليزية من ذلك والتي هي محور الحديث.
على الرغم من أنهُ لا يمكن المبالغة في التأكيد على أهمية التنغيم ، إلا أنه يمكن توضيح ذلك من خلال الكلام الدارج و البسيط والمسموع بشكل شائع “إنه ليس ما قلته ، إنه كيف قلته!” ، هذا في إشارة إلى نمط نغمة الكلمات أو العبارات التي يتم نطقها بدلاً من محتواها المعجمي ، وعلى نفس القدر من الأهمية حقيقة أن المتحدثين الأصليين غالباً ما لا يكونون على دراية بالتنغيم ودوره في لغتهم ، وهذا ينطبق على اللغة الإنجليزية بالإضافة إلى اللغات المنطوقة الأخرى.
ببساطة هذا يعني أنهُ لايمكن ان يقتصر على المتحدثيين باللغة الإنجليزية الأم يمكن ايضاً للمتحدثين التعرف بسهولة على الصعوبات النحوية والنطق التي يواجهها غير الناطقين بها ، وبالتالي يجب السماح لاخطائهم ، فهم غير قادرين على القيام بذلك للتنغيم بصورة مثالية. في كثير من الأحيان قد لا يتم التعرف على أخطاء التنغيم التي يرتكبها غير الناطقين بها ومن ثم قد يؤدي إلى سوء الفهم في المعنى ، ومن الأمثلة على ذلك عندما يستخدم المتحدثون غير الأصليين (الأجانب) عن طريق الخطأ أنماط نغمة تنقل إلى المستمعين الأصليين وهذا مايسمى الفضاضة اللغوية ملاحظات غير مقصودة بها غير مدركين من أخطاء التنغيم المحتملة وقد يعتبرها المستمعون الأصليون وقاحة أو سوء فهم أو شيئ متعمد.
على هذا النحو فمن المقبول على نطاق واسع أن الطلاب الذين يرغبون في اكتساب الكفاءة الشفوية في لغة أجنبية يحتاجون إلى التدريب ليس فقط لتوصيل المعلومات ، ولكن للقيام بذلك بنفس الطريقة مثل المتحدثين الأصليين ، وأظهرت دراسات مختلفة إن معظم المتحدثين يميلون إلى تكوين تقييمات ذاتية لأشخاص آخرين على أساس عاداتهم في الكلام وبالتالي فإن المتحدث غير الأصلي للغة الإنجليزية على سبيل المثال سيكون في وضع غير مؤات بشكل خاص.
تشير الإستنتاجات إلى أنهُ من الأفضل تدريس التنغيم باللغة الإنجليزية إذا تم توجيهه وممارسته مع الاستخدام المناسب لحدود العبارات ، نظراً لأن ؛ إستخدام حدود العبارات يرتبط ارتباطاً وثيقاً بطريقة الإيقاف المؤقت للمتحدثين ، ويتم تشجيع المعلمين على مساعدة الطلاب على تعلم متى وكيف يجب إيقاف كلامهم بصورة مؤقتة باستخدام أنماط التنغيم الصحيحة. فضلاً عن ذلك فإن المتعلمين الذين يميلون إلى صعوبة في التأكيد على كلمات المحتوى بشكل كافٍ من المرجح أن يرتكبوا أخطاء لغوية إشكالية في كلامهم ، ويجب أن يتعلم هؤلاء الطلاب كيفية التمييز بين كلمات المحتوى والكلمات الوظيفية قبل تعلم كيفية النطق على الجملة بشكل صحيح.
أهم النتائج التي توصل اليها البحث:
1- قد يتم تدريس التنغيم باللغة الإنجليزية بشكل أفضل إذا تم توجيههُ وممارستهُ مع الاستخدام المناسب لحدود العبارات نظراً ؛ لأن إستخدام حدود العبارات يرتبط ارتباطاً وثيقاً بطريقة الإيقاف المؤقت للمتحدثين ، ويتم تشجيع المعلمين على مساعدة الطلاب على تعلم متى وكيف يجب إيقاف كلامهم مؤقتًا باستخدام أنماط التنغيم الصحيحة.
2- من المرجح أن يرتكب المتعلمون الذين يميلون إلى صعوبة في التأكيد على كلمات المحتوى بشكل كاف أخطاء لغوية إشكالية في كلامهم يجب أن يتعلم هؤلاء الطلاب كيفية التمييز بين كلمات المحتوى والكلمات الوظيفية قبل تعلم كيفية الضغط على الجملة بشكل صحيح.
3- نظراً لأن اكتساب مهارات التنغيم يرتبط ارتباطاً وثيقاً بالفهم الدلالي للمتعلم ويتم حث معلمي اللغة الثانية على تدريس نغمة اللغة الإنجليزية مع التركيز بشكل كبير على الاغراض والوظائف التواصلية وفي بيئة تفاعلية إجتماعية.
4- يتم تشجيع المعلمين على تدريس نغمة اللغة الإنجليزية ليس فقط في فصول النطق (المحادثة) ؛ ولكن أيضاً في الفصول الأخرى مثل القراءة والإستماع وما إلى ذلك.
الكلمات المفتاحية : التنغيم , اكتساب اللغة , الشدة , الدرجة , الطول
Though the importance of intonation cannot be overemphasized, it can be illustrated by the simple and commonly heard lament, “It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it!”. Of course, this is about the intonation pattern of words or phrases being uttered rather than their lexical content. Equally significant is the fact that native speakers are often unaware of intonation and its role in their language. This applies to English as well as to other spoken languages. Simply put, it means that while native English speakers can easily recognize the grammatical and pronunciation difficulties faced by non-native speakers, and thus make allowances for their errors, they are unable to do so for intonation. More often than not, intonation errors made by non-native speakers may not be recognized and, hence, may lead to misunderstanding. An example in point is when non-native speakers mistakenly use intonation patterns which convey to native hearers unintended notes of rudeness. Unaware of possible intonation errors, native hearers may take the perceived rudeness to be deliberate (Taylor, 1993, para. 6).
It is widely accepted that students who wish to acquire oral competence in a foreign language need to be trained not only to communicate information but to do so in the same way as native speakers. Various studies have shown that most speakers tend to form subjective evaluations of other people based on their speech habits. Thus, the non-native speaker of a language, English for example, would be particularly at a disadvantage. In Lantolf (1976, p.272), Lane and Buiten contend that “Native speakers of the language view the novice speaker at best with suspicion and at worst with ridicule and hostility”.
This buttresses the argument that intonation is a strong aspect of language which has always had its effect on communication. Hewings (1995, p. 251) clarifies this point with the contention that “We often react more violently to . . . intonational meanings than to . . . lexical ones; if a man’s tone of voice belies his words, we immediately assume that the intonation more faithfully reflects his true linguistic intentions”. However, there are those phonologists who do not wholeheartedly embrace this point of view. There has always been some lively debate on the degree and quality to which intonation contributes to successful communication. Ranalli (2002, p.2) cites Roach who suggests that “Reports of miscommunication are overestimated, and that when nonstandard English creates misunderstanding or causes offence, the root of the problem is on very few occasions found to be intonation”. Thus, this situation gives intonation a significant role in advancing the degree and quality of daily communication between the two groups.
What is Intonation?
It is a common observation that all languages have their intonation but the patterning of it may realize from one language to another due to certain factors such as culture and speakers’ behaviour or habits. It is, therefore, necessary to highlight the role of the English intonation in all its sides-extremes-and functions. This happens to owe to the fact that people intend to use different tonic levels just for enriching and expressing extra-lexical meanings. Accordingly, Burns and Claire (2003, p.7) define intonation as “the melody of language – the way the voice goes up and down according to the context of the communication” for example we can see the differences in:
- Can you take the scissors? (rising pitch= request).
- Can you take the scissors? (falling pitch=command).
Though the above two sentences are similar in their structure and lexis, they are almost different in their meaning and direction. The former is responded to through an optional action; whereas the latter entails an obligatory task on the part of the listener (Bradford, 1988, p.9). Stemming from such remarkable importance, linguists and researchers have devoted much attention to the study of appreciating meanings expressed through intonation. In this respect, Hatch (1992, p.34) stresses the significance of intonation in speech believing that when people speak, they used to divide the flow of speech, such as the sentence, into chains or segments for facilitating and expressing a particular bit of information. Ladefoged (2001, p.35) states that “the use of suprasegmental phonetic features such as intonation is to convey post lexically or sentence level, pragmatic meaning in a linguistically structured way”. Vaissiere and Mareuil (2004, p.1), in turn, think that “it is the English intonation which makes English sound English “, for that it carries out an effect on speech in two ways: first, it shows the relationship within and between the sentences; and as mentioned earlier that the use of different pitch range could indicate various sorts of meaning such as to request, command and question. On the part of the attitudes, intonation usually expresses meaning like those of happiness, sadness, anger and so on. Since, so, Lodge (2009, p.9), furthermore, extends the scope of interaction, listeners listen to how the speaker talks together with the way he talks.
It has been previously pointed out that intonation is based on certain extremes of components. One of which is the “pitch range”. The role of pitch range for the intonational
meaning and theory are quite important. According to Bradford (1988, p.2), the pitch is simply defined as the auditory property of sounds. That is why native speakers have put a scale for the pitch level that extends from high to low pitch depending on the audition. As defined by the speaker, the pitch is an aid to be of two types: a pitch that differentiates between individual words in certain languages, and a pitch that applies to the utterance as a whole. The latter is assigned as intonation. The range of the pitch in either of these two varieties is realized among speakers and even sometimes for individual speakers (ibid). To conclude, it is deemed that intonation, in English at least, is associated with attitudes rather exchangeably. In other words, speakers tend to use multiple intonational ranges in the view of what they want to convey and how they should react to their immediate environment. Therefore, intonation is often thought of as the fluctuation of the pitch over the domain of the utterance. However, the patterning of pitch is closely bound to the patterns of timing and loudness, as also some other criteria such as voice quality. Consequently, we cannot consider pitch in isolation from these important components.
On the part of the intonational medium of expressing meaning, there are three traditional functions of attitude. The first is not what the speaker says, but the way he says it. Second, it delimits the syntactic structure and discourse function e.g. the end of a complete intonational group naturally coincides with the end of the grammatical structure of the sentence or a clause. In this sense, and some cases, intonation can guide the listener to the grammatical structure which does not directly have to do with phrasing. The third function is related to the speaker’s shaping of the utterance (Varga, 2002, pp. 22-24 Chun, 2002, p.5).
Finally, and in the view of the previous accounts, it is thought that a breakdown of communication or at least the loss of an amount of meaning may be the result of a wrong perception of the intonation patterning in context. Accordingly, Rasmussen and Zampini (2010, p. 38) see that EFL learners should be well equipped with considerable practice in the English intonation as used by the English native speakers to be successful interactors in the communicative situation needed. This is because one principle of intonation is that the native speakers adjust prominence according to the communicational goal.
2- 1- Acquiring Intonation
There may be evidence that intonation is acquired at the early age of all language features,
and this may account for how it functions. According to Soup and Weinberger (1987, p. 334), “many researchers have noted that fluency in syntax seems much more attainable for adult learners than a native-like pronunciation”.
Other studies mentioned by the two authors include those by Oyama, who concentrated his research on testing adult Italian immigrants with varied ages of arrival (from 6 to 20) and variations in the length of stay (from 5 to 18 years). Native-like phonological ability was correlated with the age of arrival, but not significantly with the number of years in the United States. Native-like pronunciation was found in the earliest-arriving subjects. This observed difference is accounted for in several ways. Krashen, however, views on the ground that language lateralization is complete by age five and
therefore cannot be responsible for the end of the critical period at puberty. According to him, biological determinants should not be used to explain the foreign pronunciation of older children because the right-ear advantage for language stimuli continues to increase until the age of five, at which point children begin to act like adults (Al-Sibai, 2004, p.6).
Peck (Ioup and Weinberger, 1987, p.75) suggests that children learning a second language engage in more sound play when interacting with other children than they do when interacting with adults. The focus on and manipulation of sounds that characterize child-child discourse could be one reason children gain a better command of intonation and phonology in general.
2- 2- Intonational Functions
Intonational choices made by speakers – native and otherwise – carry linguistic information and perform a variety of functions. Kumaki (2003, no) states that phonologists do differ on intonational functions. He states that Crystal proposes six functions: grammatical, informational, psychological, textual, indexical, and attitudinal/emotional. Roach champions four: attitudinal, grammatical, accentual, and discourse; with the contention that the last two could be grouped into one. Halliday suggests three functions: grammatical, informational, and attitudinal. Three basic intonational functions – attitudinal, grammatical, and informational or discourse — are commonly suggested by those researchers.
2-2-1 Attitudinal Intonation:
Fry (1974, para 5) mentions several point scales while linking a contrary attitude such as: ‘bored – interested’, ‘rude – polite’, ‘timid – confident’, etc. An analysis of the responses was then carried out to discover the relative weight of the emotional factors which underlie one’s judgment. He argued, “that the other researchers found out that patterns with a narrow range of frequency variations were the most unpleasant, while smooth changes in one direction were generally less pleasant than broken curves.” “They also found differences in the judgments according to the grammatical category of the sentence;……… statements could be pleased with either a final rise or fall while questions and commands were pleasant only with a final rise.” Kumaki (2003, p. 11) outlines that “citing some of the descriptions from ‘Nine ways of saying yes’ by Crystal”, the latter points out the problems of pinning down the attitudinal meaning of tone choices as follows:
1. The imprecision of the descriptions. For example, it is difficult to say what the difference is between the meaning ‘detached, unemotional statement of fact’ (associates with a low fall) and ‘routine, uncommitted comment; detached and unexcited’ (links to mid-fall).
2. He allows a tone to mean something (e.g. the low fall’s unemotional) or it’s (near) opposite (e.g. the low fall’s dramatic) depending on the context.
ice may depend on associated gestures or facial expressions. He (2003, p. 37) also agrees with this view when claiming that roughly any emotion can be accompanied by any tone. He also suggests that without lexical or contextual information or other vocal clues, it is impossible to reliably label a
tone contour as displaying a particular attitude or emotion. Kumaki states that “Crystal himself writes of an experiment which demonstrates that native speakers find it virtually impossible to agree when matching attitudinal labels with intonation contours.”
Generally speaking, discussions of the function of intonation in English often centre on the relationship between intonation and attitudes. The main function of intonation is seen by many phonologists as conveying attitudes (Taylor, 1993, para 3). “While it is undeniable that intonation does convey attitudes and that there is a strong and important relationship between intonation and attitude, it is very difficult to say anything sensible about it, simply because 3. He indicates that the meaning of an intonation chouse there is no general assent on how to describe or define attitudes.” It depends on individual circumstances. Taylor also states that the reason for such difficulties lies in the fact that “intonation is not the sole factor involved in conveying attitude. Many other factors, such as loudness, quality of voice, speed of delivery, facial and bodily gestures, etc., also contribute significantly to the conveying of attitude.” Hence, it is better, especially when it comes to teaching and learning, to deal with intonation in terms of information structure, grammar, and discourse. Attempts to relate phonological choices (e.g. pitch, contour, type, etc.) to attitudinal meanings have a long tradition in intonation research. According to this, attitudinal meanings are assumed to be the result of the choice of tones or composite pitch contours in conjunction with sentence types. Wichmann (2002, p. 2) speculates the works of several phonologists. Halliday, for one, claims that “a ‘wh – question’ with a rising tone is ‘tentative’, while a ‘yes/no – question’ with a falling tone is ‘peremptory’. Hence, a statement ending with a rise can be “challenging, aggressive, defensive, or indignant.”
Investigating intonation contours of ‘please – requests’. Wichmann (2002, p.73) suggests that they can be classified into two categories, ‘private’ and ‘public’. For the most part, the first category deals with conversations between equals in informal settings (e.g. relatives, friends, colleagues, etc.). On the other hand, situations classified as ‘public’ mostly represent unequal encounters informal settings (e.g. employer/employee, physician/patient, etc.) The ‘please-requests’ in public situations are nearly all uttered by the more powerful of the participants to the less powerful. These requests, whether in the form of modal interrogative or positive imperative, almost invariably end with a low tone (L). Requests in private situations, however, almost always end with a high boundary tone (H). Thus, intonation contours have a consistent pattern for both imperatives and modal interrogatives according to the attitudes of the speaker in a given situation.
Another example is the utterance ‘Let’s go.’ It can first be said as a relatively neutral imperative, then as an inpatient command, and finally, as an attempt to persuade, as (Chun, 1998, p. 67) points out. The differences in the intonation turns are apparent; “the learners can be presented with different situations or scenarios and asked how they would respond. For instance, they could do role-plays of:
(a) saying ‘Let’s go’ to a friend,
(b) saying ‘Let’s go’ as a sports coach would say to a team, or
(c) saying ‘Let’s go’ as a polite request to a superior. In these examples, the impatient command has a higher peak on ‘go’ and a steeper falling pitch curve.”
2-2-2 Grammatical Intonation:
Halliday (1967: p.17) states that “the contrasts made by in intonation in English are not lexical. In this respect, English differs from non-tone languages that it is defined as a tone language. English intonation contrasts are grammatical; they are exploited in the grammar of the language.” According to Halliday, grammatical intonation relates to grammatical mood (question/statement, etc.) as well as to modality (possibility, validity, etc.). : “grammatical intonation helps language speakers and learners to recognize the grammar and syntactic structures, e.g. boundaries between phrases, clauses, and sentences. It also facilitates our knowledge of the differences between questions and statements as well as the intricacies of grammatical subordination”(ibid)
However, according to Fry (1974: p. 23) “the results of some studies are not as informative as they might have been simply because there seems to have been little effort to differentiate between grammatical and attitudinal intonation.” for example, the differences between ‘statements & questions’, and between ‘sorrow & anger’ as though they involved points on the same continuum. The first is a matter of grammatical intonation and therefore part of a functional system common to many speakers and listeners, while the second is a much more individual matter, e.g. attitudinal. Blum (2001:p.55) suggests that there is a strong tendency to have risen in ‘yes/no questions’ and falls in ‘wh-questions’, but they are by no means the only patterns possible. These conventional intonation contours, or as Blum calls them “defaults”, may be ignored by various contextual factors and, hence, the interrogative intention must be inferred from
other elements present in the utterance. The speaker’s attitude, such as incredulity, amazement, a high level of interest or lack of it, etc., may also influence the contour and, in particular, the pitch height of the utterance.
Kumaki also refuses to adopt the grammatical meaning, suggesting that there are typical tones associated with syntactic structures. Such an argument is maintained on the ground that it is not difficult to find examples of almost any tone combined with any syntactic type. For example, ‘yes/no questions such as: “Are you going OUT tonight?”, “Are you turning OFF the light?”, or “Is Carol GETTING married?” can be answered with almost any tone known to the English language (ibid).
2-2-3 Discourse (Informational) Intonation:
Marta (2016: p.177) states that “Learners’ need awareness of intonation in longer stretches of language. Learners are given clearer guidelines: ‘new’ information = fall tone; ‘shared’ knowledge = ‘fall-rise’.”
A simple shopping dialogue demonstrates this:
John: Can I help you?
Jane: I’d like a chocolate (fall) ice cream.
John: One chocolate (fall-rise) ice cream. Anything else?
Jane: One strawberry (fall) ice cream.
John: One chocolate (fall-rise), one strawberry (fall-rise). Anything else?
Jane: Yes. One chocolate (fall-rise), one strawberry (fall-rise), and one vanilla (fall).
According to Corbett (2004, p. 122), discourse relays what new information is to be given as it signals what kind of response is to be expected. More often than not and within the paradigms of normal daily communication discourse, intonation is introduced at the sentence level. Since people communicate throughout the language, it only follows that intonation should be examined at the discourse level. phonologists tend to define intonation as a speaker’s way of organizing and relating meanings throughout the discourse.
It is suggested by Ranalli (2002, p. 67) that “almost all intonation choices are tied to the context in which they occur. In contrast to the linguistic universality of grammar-based descriptions, it is impossible in the discourse approach to isolate a stretch of speech from its context and, hence, make reasonable generalizations about intonational meaning. He also suggests: “Discourse intonation offers a simple and flexible system with a small and finite number of choices, a unit which is distinguished by a single complete pitch pattern and consists of tonic, and segments. As such, discourse intonation provides a management tool as there are four options associated with tone units: prominence, tone, key, and termination; each of which adds a different type of information. Prominence is a syllable on which there is a major pitch movement.
Tone pitch movements are distinguished by their particular direction or contour.” He suggests five movements: falling, rising, fall-rise, rise-fall, and level. The Key is the relative pitch level chosen by speakers for each tone unit. Three choices are planned: low, middle, and high.
- Intonation Contours
According to Kreidler (1989), there are two approaches that linguists adopt when describing intonation patterns in English; namely, the levels approach and the contour approach. The levels approach uses a scale which is similar to a musical scale. This approach is based on a set of various pitch levels. Linguists who use this approach maintain that there are four different levels which are numbered from 1 to 4 – from lowest to highest pitch – and are named: Low, Mid, High, and Extra High. The intonation of an utterance can be graphically represented with lines at four levels in respect to the line of print. The following is a sample provided by (Wolfram and Johnson, 1982, p. 37):
|ling He’s a ling guest He’s a guest|
Alternatively, Kreidler (1989, p. 182) states that: the intonation of an utterance can be shown with letters or numbers interspersed in the line of print. Thus, the utterance “ I’m going home,” might appear in one of these forms: I’m ‘going ‘home ²I’m ‘going ³’home ¹ m I’m ‘going h home l These three examples indicate an utterance which begins at the speaker’s middle range, rising to a high note at the beginning of the word “home”, and dropping to low during the pronunciation of that word.
On the other hand, As such, Taylor (1993, para. 4) believes that it is necessary to distinguish between the two terms ‘intonation’ and ‘tone’. Phonologists agree that almost
all languages use both intonation and tone, but each language’s cultural needs and characteristic ways. It should be noted, however, that the term ‘tone language’, is reserved for those languages whereby word meanings may be distinguished using ‘tone’. A good example of a ‘tone language’ is Chinese, where “ma”, for example, may have four different meanings, distinguished by four different tones. English does not utilize ‘tone’ in this manner. Tones are used as part of the characteristic intonation patterns of the English language.
Generally speaking, the building blocks of English intonation involve three basic tones–high, mid, and low. Celik (2001, p.220) states that what makes a tone ‘rise’ or ‘fall’, or otherwise, is the direction of the pitch movement on the last stressed (tonic) syllable. If the tonic syllable is in a non-final position, the glide continues over the rest of the syllables. A fall in pitch on the tonic syllable renders the tone as ‘fall’. A ‘rise’ tone is one in which the tonic syllable is the start of an upward glide of the pitch. This glide is of two kinds; if the upward movement is higher, then it is ‘high rise’; if it is lower, then it is ‘low rise’. ‘Fall-rise’ has first a pitch fall and then arise.
3- 1- ‘Rise’ tone:
According to Kumaki (2003), the rising tone is used when seeking to lead or take control briefly in the course of a conversation where speakers and hearers have equal rights. Dominant speakers have a choice between using the rising tone to underline their present status as a controller of the discourse or refraining from doing so. Such speakers could be chairpersons appointed in advance or even storytellers who hold the position by unspoken agreement for the time being. 14
Rising tones are also used in genuine ‘Yes/No’ questions where the speaker is sure that he/she does not know the answer, and that the hearer knows the answer. Such Yes/No questions are uttered with a rising tone. Celik exemplifies this by pointing out that the following question “Isn’t he NICE?” uttered with a rising tone, can have as its answer either “Yes”, “No” or “I don’t know.” The same question, which is uttered with a falling tone, can only have one appropriate answer, which is “Yes.” A rising tone is used if the tonic stress is uttered with extra pitch height. In the following intonation examples, one wonders if the speaker is asking for repetition, a clarification, or indicating disbelief:
a) I’m flying to Chicago tomorrow.
b) Flying to Chicago? (repetition)
a) I’m taking up Taxidermy this autumn.
b) Taking up WHAT? (clarification)
a) She passed her DRIving test.
b) She PASSED? (disbelief) (Celik, 2001)
3- 2- ‘Fall-Rise’ Tone:
This tone, according to Celik (2001) and many others such as Kumaki (2003), usually signals dependency, continuity, and non-finality. It generally occurs in non-final intonation units or sentences. For example, when the words “city” and “presumably” are pronounced in the following context, they are said with a fall rise tone (the slash indicates a pause):
a) A quick tour of the CIty / would be NICE.
b) PreSUmably / he thinks he CAN. (Celik, 2001)
According to Kumaki (2003, p 27) mentioned that; when an English complex clause has two intonation units, the first, or non-final, normally has a ‘fall-rise’ while the second, or final, has a falling tone. Therefore, the tone observed in non-final intonation units can be said to have a ‘dependency’ tone, which is ‘fall-rise’. It should be noted that rising and fall-rising tones tell the hearer that the tone unit refers to a part of the message that both the speaker and the hearer know about already. When the speaker is telling something, a referring tone means that this part of the message is already shared. When the speaker is asking, it means that he/she assumes that this part of the message is shared but he/she wants to make sure by asking the hearer to confirm it. Referring tones carry the social meanings of togetherness or convergence in contrast with separateness or divergence. The following is an example of asking with a ‘fall-rise’ tone:
Bookseller: Good morning. Can I help you?
Customer: I’m looking for a book by Sutcliffe. It’s A Life of Arnold.
Bookseller: A Life of Arnold. Let me see, now. // r is THAT the TITle //
Customer: I think so. (Celik, 2001)
3 -3-Fall’ tone:
A falling tone is by far the most commonly used tone of all. According to Celik (2001): “it signals a sense of finality, completion, and belief in the content of the utterance.” By choosing a falling tone, a speaker offers the hearer a chance to comment on, agree or disagree with, or add to his/her utterance. Although this tone does not solicit a response, it is up to the hearer to produce such a response if he/she so desires. Nonetheless, it would be polite for the hearer to at least acknowledge in some manner that he/she is part of the ongoing discourse. 16
Some of the areas in which a falling tone is used are in proclaiming expressions, e.g., “I’ve
spoken with the CLEAner.” Questions that begin with ‘wh-questions’ are generally pronounced with a falling tone, e.g., “Where is the PENcil?” Imperative statements also have a falling tone, e.g., “Go and see a DOCtor.”. I’ll report you to the HEADmaster
A falling tone may be used in referring expressions as well. I’ve spoken with the CLEAner. Questions that begin with wh-questions are generally pronounced with a falling tone: Where is the PENcil? Imperative statements have a falling tone. Go and see a DOCtor. Take a SEAT. Requests or orders have a falling tone too. Please sit DOWN. Call him IN. Exclamations: Watch OUT!
Yes/No questions and tag questions seeking or expecting confirmation can be uttered with a falling tone. And the response to it may be lengthened. Consider the following example:
You like it, DON’T you? YEES.
3 – 4- ‘Rise-Fall’ tone:
Like the previous one, these two tones (i.e. “fall” & “rise-fall) are not the referring but the proclaiming type. Brazil, in Kumaki (2003) states that proclaiming tones indicate that the tone unit as a part of the message is not yet shared. When the speaker is telling something, a proclaiming tone means that he/she doesn’t think the hearer has certain information that the speaker has. When asking, it means that the hearer has some information that the speaker doesn’t possess. By asking the questions with the proclaiming tone, all the questions are considered to be asked without any expectations about the replies. The use of the ‘rise-fall’ tone indicates not only the speaker’s exclamation but also the intention of controlling the discourse, and his/her expectation of a certain reaction from the
hearer. The following is an example point:
Traveller: Oh, Lord! // p perHAPs I could go by aNOther route //, by an earlier train?
Assistant: Just a moment. // p HOW much LUggage do you have //
Traveller: Only this bag.
Assistant: Because if you don’t mind changing, you could go via Manchester.
There’s a train due out in—hang on—just five minutes.
Traveller: // p WHICH PLATform will that be //
Assistant: From platform two (Kumaki, 2003, p. 22).
The goal of this paper was to learn the extent to which intonation plays a part in the language. It is extremely advantageous to learn the intonation complexities of any language. English is no exception. According to Nagamine(2002, NP); the following are some implications for teachers working in such environments:
1- English intonation may be best taught if it is instructed and practised with the appropriate use of phrase boundaries. Since the use of phrase boundaries is closely related to speakers’ pausing manner, teachers are encouraged to help students learn when and how they should pause their speech, using correct intonation patterns.
2- Learners who tend to have difficulty in stressing content words adequately are likely to make problematic intonational errors in their speech. Such students should learn how to distinguish content words from function words before learning how to sentence-stress properly.
3. Since acquiring intonation skills is closely linked to a learner’s semantic understanding, L2 teachers are urged to teach English intonation with much emphasis on communicative purposes and functions and in a socially-interactive setting.
4. Teachers are encouraged to teach English intonation not only in pronunciation/conversation classes but also in other classes such as reading, listening, etc. (Nagamine, 2002, p. 362). Vardanian in (Lantlof, 1976) reported: the results of an experiment in which she attempted to teach English intonation to speakers of Brazilian Portuguese using visual presentation. The subjects were divided into two groups that heard recordings of native English speakers. Members of the control group were merely told to imitate what they heard. The experimental group, on the other hand, was furnished with audio recordings as well as visual representations of the intonation contours of the utterances displayed on an oscilloscope. To be sure, there were marked learning differences between the two groups.
Lancelot discusses another attempt at teaching intonation with visual reinforcement.
a) present recorded utterances in the target language which learners are to imitate,
b) evaluate a learner’s response regarding pitch, volume, and tempo, and
c) display a learner’s degree of deviation from agreed-on settings. Though experiments were generally successful, the participants were often irritated for being unable to know the exact intonational configurations that they were supposed to imitate.
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