Though no definition for the intonation is completely satisfactory, any attempt at a definition must recognise that the pitch of the voice plays the most important part. Only in very unusual situations we speak with fixed, unvarying pitch, and when we speak normally the pitch of our voice is constantly changing. We describe pitch in terms of high and low.
For pitch differences to be linguistically significant, it is a necessary condition that they should be under the speaker's control. There is another necessary condition and that is that a pitch difference must be perceptible; it is possible to detect differences in the frequency of the vibration of a speaker's voice by means of laboratory instruments, but these differences may not be great enough to be heard by a listener as differences in pitch. Finally, it should be remembered that in looking for linguistically significant aspects of speech we must always be looking for contrasts.
Speakers are said to select from a choice of tones according to how they want the utterance to be heard. The only really efficient way to learn to use the intonation of a language is the way a child acquires the intonation of its first language, and the training referred to above should help the adult learner of English to acquire English intonation in a similar (though much slower) way - through listening to and talking to English speakers.
One further complication should be mentioned here. Each speaker has his or her own normal pitch range: a top level which is the highest pitch normally used by the speaker, and a bottom level that the speaker's pitch normally does not go below. In ordinary speech, the intonation tends to take place within the lower part of the speaker's pitch range, but in situations where strong feelings are to be expressed it is usual to make use of extra pitch height.
Speech melodyis the variation in the pitch of the speaker's voice in connected speech. Speech Melodyhas the following components:
Range -the interval between the highest and the lowest points of the speaker's voice. Within the range we can distinguish
Registers- high emphatic / extra high
low emphatic / extra low
the high, mid and low registers are characteristic of emotionally neutral and emotional speeches.
The high and low emphatic registers are characteristic of highly emotional speech.
The changes in the registers of the speaker's voice serve to express certain modal meanings.
Nuclear tone (NT)- is the pitch change in the last stressed syllable and the following unstressed ones. The stressed part of the tone can be called nucleus and the post-stressed - post-nuclear or tail (the classifications of Nuclear Tones see below).
Head / Scale (H) - is a series of stressed and unstressed syllables that may be pitched variously starting with the first fully stressed syllable and ending before the last stressed syllable
It was certainly the best answer.
Pre-head (PH) is all unstressed and partially stressed syllables preceding the first fully stressed one. Thus Pre-heads are found in two main environments:
1) When there is no head (no stressed syllable preceding the tonic syllable (nucleus)):
☼ In an hour.
2) When there is a head.
☼ In a little less than an hour.
Tail(T)- any syllables between the Nucleus and the end of the tone-unit.
☼ Look at it.
☼ Both of them were here.
It is not necessary that there will be all components of speech melody in a sentence. Some of them are optional (PH, H or T), and some essential (NT, range regitres).
types of tones (1)
Tone is the behavior of the pitch of the human voice in a tonic syllable. A tonic syllable (the most prominent one) can be said with either a moving tone or a level tone. Moving tones can be:
- Falling (descends from a higher pitch to a lower);
- Rising (a movement from a lower pitch to a higher one);
and their varieties high, mid and low;
- falling-rising (the pitch descends and then rises again);
- rising-falling (the pitch rises and then descends again);
some scholars add two more tones:
Level tones (when the pitch is not changed) can be:
INTONATION AND ITS COMPONENTS. | HIGHLIGHTING. RHYTHM | INTONATION AND ITS COMPONENTS | TELLING AND REFERRING | The Tones | The transcription | Lisa: Hello, Tony. Did you go for your interview yesterday? | Student A, Student B. | FALLING AND RISING TONES | Listen and read |