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Brainstorming questions


1 Does intonation play an important role in the process of human intercommunication?

2 Is intonation important in the process of studying language? Why?



Intonation plays an important role in the process of human intercommunication. On the one hand, it points to different communicative types of sentences, and on the other, it shows different attitudes of the speaker-towards reality.

L.E.Armstrong and I.C.Ward tell of an incident when a foreigner was not understood in England because of his wrong use of intonation. "A German who speaks English very well was not understood by a bus conductor when he asked for ticket to Queen’s Lanewith stress and intonation 'Queen's Lane "N. (insteadof -4,), although his sounds were perfect. This shows the important part that these two elements of speech - stress and intonation - play not only in a good "accent" but in making for were intelligibility". [1])

Intonation is important and must be paid due attention to in the process of studying language.

Nowadays there exist two principal methods of indicating intonation: in the line of text and outside the line of text. Inboth methods only its pitch and force components can be indicated.

The method of indicating intonation outside the line of text is represented by the well-known system of tonograma. Two horizontal lines show graphically the upper and the lower limits of the humanvoice pitch. Different signs are used between the lines (which are known as staves) to indicate the stressed and unstressed syllables.

L.E.Armstrong and I.C.Ward introduced the system of lines (now called dashes) corresponding to stressed syllables, and dots corresponding to unstressed ones. Downward curves represent falling tones, upward curves represent rising tones. Fог example 1________________

This system was introduced in1926 and its long existence has proved it to be both easy and useful.

(2) Another group of linguists used large and small dots for stressed and unstressed syllables. Large dots with tail-like curves indicated falling and rising tones depending on the direction of the curve.

(4) Worth mentioning is the music notation system which is used when it is necessary to show the exact stress-pattern or uneven rhythms. For instance:

The 'train has 'just come in.

I don’t know what to say.

He wants to stay the night.

The following word combinations have different rhythms though they consist of the same sequence of sounds:

summer dresses *

some addressee

great again


The rhythmical pattern of the sentence "I quite forgot to do it" is represented by G.P.Torsuyev in the following way:

i 'kwait fәgpt tә 'du: it.

The system of indicating intonation outside the text is rath­er valuable because intonation maybe shown on the staves with great accuracy. But we must admit that it is very difficult to see both the tonogram and the text at first glance. Of consider­able difficulty is also the process of drawing the tonograms, not saying anything about the cost of such books.

Intonation may also be shown in the line of text itself which may be written either in phonetic transcription or in orthographic spelling. Several systems are distinguished here too:

(1) H.E.Palmer'a system was widely spread and used most commonly in our country until recently. H.E.Palmer distin­guished the following kinds of nuclear tones:

/ \ ^ / falling nuoleue,

/^^, / rieing nucleus,

/ Ifalling; nucleus with intensification,

/ "~\_* / falling-rising nucleus.
The syllables preceding the nucleus are marked thus: / / superior head, / / scandent head, / / inferior head. 1) For example:

znpt Sa~feintlet ppsl^biliti [2]ai"~haednt Јni in"\«tenjn av gouin 3fca^

    High Low
    Hormal(H) Emjhatic(HE) Nonnal(L) • Emphatio(LK)
1. Rising a Ш a
2. Palling m m m a
3. Palling-Rlolng (Undivided) vm m m m
4. Falling-Rlaing (Divided) m m ✓ m m / m m л m \> /
5.   Rising-   Palling   One-syllable   Type л. mmm .04 mjn m m m m л_ m m ro a -
6. Rising-Palling Two-syllable Type m m m ш m m m ш A m m m A
7. Rising-Palling Three-syllable Type m m m A.—„ m m m яm m Л m ш m A
8. Rle< ig-Falling- Rising (Undivided) m m m . m
9. Rising-Palling- Rising (Divided) am m .A m m / m m л / п m a /
  Level Tone   U m m a1>

H.E.Palmer had many followers' who used this system in practical textbooks of English. This system gives a good visual sid but the signs sometimes disfigure the text (as in /pbsi^biliti/ or /in'tn∫n/).

(2)R. Kingdom has introduced the so-called "tonetic stress-mark system", which indicates speech melody as well as sentence-stress. He calls nuclear tones "the active elements of intonation" and marks them in the following way: TheToneticStressМarks



Tones may be unemphatic ("normal high" and "normal low") and emphatic with widened and lowered ranges. The stressed syllables in the pre-nuclear pattern are indicated with vertical strokes placed above or below the line of text. The emphatic nuclear tones are usually accompanied by some modifications in the pre-nuclear pattern. (High prehead, low, sliding or scandent body may be used with emphatic nuclei.)R. Kingdon's "tonetic stress-mark system" has the great advantage of indicating intonation in printed texts. Such texts can be written quickly and with no difficulty whatever. (3) American descriptivists indicate intonation in the linе of text with the so-called "stair-steps" which are based on Kenneth L.Pike's system. 1K.L.Pike distinguishes four levels of speech melody: low, mid (normal), high and extra high. (In scientific works they are represented by the numerical system 1, 2, 3,4 or 4, 3, 2, (See 5.8.) ,low mid (normal high extra high For example: What timedid you call?What do[ you] know about politlce? 'Will you meet |us this| evening? The professorteaches the [lesson. In the USA it is the only system of indicating intonation in printed text and it is considered there to be the most teachable because of its clarity and simplicity. It is really quite easy to read but the process of drawing the stair-steps is rather slow and laborious. That is why theAmerican system has not been adopted in our country. Soviet teachers follow the British intonation system and they accept R.Kingdon's "tonetic stress-mark system" for indicating intonation graphically in the line of text and L.E.Armstrong and I.С Ward's system of indicating intonation on staves (outsidethe line of text).

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