Unit 13 Intonation of Parentheses
Utterances may contain words, phrases or clauses (whether at the beginning, in the middle or at the end) which are only partially related to the main subject-matter, and without which these utterances remain grammatically complete. Such words, phrases or clauses fall into three classes: 1. parentheses, 2. reporting phrases, 3. direct address.
Parentheses express the speaker's attitude towards the utterance.
Parentheses at the Beginning of the Sentence
When the speaker doesn't attach any importance to the parenthetical words they do not form a separate intonation-group and are often unstressed and are pronounced very quickly, (such parentheses are not very long, usually "well", "oh" and the like.)
e.g.: Well, I don't know. Oh, there you are.
If the speaker attaches more importance to parentheses, they form an intonation-group. In this case they are stressed and pronounced with any nuclear tone: LR (more often), LF, Mid-Level or Fall-Rise.
e.g.: Well, I do. Well, I do.
To tell you the truth, I don’t know.
For my own part, I'd love to.
Parentheses at the end of an utterance usually summarize or add some details to the main remark. They are generally pronounced as an unstressed or partially stressed tail of the preceding intonation-group.
e.g.:I'm not good at languages, you know.
Peter knows him, of course.
Additional prominence is achieved when parenthetical words in final position are said as part of the nucleus of a Divided Falling-Rising tone.
e.g.: You’ll finish the report tomorrow, I hope.
Parentheses in the Middle of an Utterance
Parentheses are commonly inserted into the middle of the principal remark between two intonation-groups. The parenthesis forms an intonation-group of its own, and is pronounced on a lower pitch and with a quicker tempo than the main remark ( Low Prehead and Low Rise).
e.g.: The climate in Great Britain, as far as know, is very changeable.
A parenthesis may join the first intonation-group as an unstressed tail or part of the nucleus.
e.g.: This variant at least, can be accepted.
Ex. 1 Listen to the following pieces of dialogue. Reproduce the utterances with parenthetical phrases. Identify the degree of prominence the parenthetical phrases and their semantic role in the utterances.
1 - It's 9 o'clock already. It's time to get down to work.
— Well, 'what shall we begin with?
2 — I feel very tired. I sat up late last night.
—'As for me, I never ,work till ,late at night.
3 — I am afraid I can't say much about the subject. I haven't found the article we were recommended to read.
— As a 'matter of fact, we 'only have 'two seminars left.
4 — I work hard but I can't say that I speak English fluently.
- Well, your 'English will 'soon improve, I assure you.
- The best way of learning English is to go and stay in England at least for a year. Am I not right?
- Of course, you are right, |but with 'modern e'quipment to lay it is 'not at 'all necessary.
5 — Jack speaks very good French.
— 'By the way, he speaks 'Spanish and Italian as well.
6 — My brother Charles always works by fits and starts.
— He does, doesn't he? As for me, I hate working like that.
7 — I envy Emily. She looks so content.
— As far as I know, she 'never complains of hardship.
8 — What do you think of buying a house somewhere in the suburbs of Minsk.
— For my own part, I'd 'rather have a 'flat in the centre of the city.
9 — What time do you get up as a rule?