Functions of intonation.
Attitudinal - intonation enables us to express emotions and attitudes as we speak, and this adds a special kind of "meaning" to spoken language.
The note "expressing emotions and attitude" is itself a more complex one than is generally realized. Firstly an emotion can be expressed involuntarily or voluntarily; if we say something in a "happy" way, this may be because I feel happy, or because I want to convey you the impression that I am happy. Secondly, an attitude that is expressed could be an attitude towards the listener (# if I say something in a "friendly" way), towards what is being said (# if I say something in a "skeptical" or "dubious" way) or to some external event or situation (# "regretful" or "disapproving").
Accentual - intonation helps to produce the effect of prominence on syllables that need to be perceived as stressed, and in particular syllable marks out the word to which it belongs as the most important in the tone unit.
The location of the tonic syllable is of considerable importance. The most common position for this is on the last notional word (# noun, adjective, verb, adverb or numeral) of the tone-unit. For contrastive purposes, however, any word may become the tonic syllable. But it can either be placed earlier in the tone-unit if there is a word there with gre4ater importance to what is being said. This can quite often happen as a result of the last part of the tone-unit being already "given" (i.e. something which has already been mentioned or is completely predictable), for example:
# // Here's the (book that you asked me to bring. // (The fact that you asked me to bring it is not new.)
Grammatical - the listener is better able to recognize the grammar and syntactic structure of what is being said by information contained in the intonation: for example, clauses or sentences, the difference between questions and statements and the use of grammatical subordination can be indicated.
The word "grammatical" tends to be used in a very loose sense in this context. It is usual to illustrate the grammatical function by inventing sentences which when written are ambiguous, and whose ambiguity can only be removed by using differences of intonation.
# a) // Those who 'sold Ú quickly ê made a (profit // (a profit was made by those who sold quickly)
b) // Those who Ú sold ê 'quickly 'made a (profit // (a profit was quickly made by those who sold)
Discourse - intonation can signal to the listener what is to be taken as "new" information and what is already "given", can suggest when the speaker is indicating some sort of contrast or link with material in another tone-unit and, in conversation, can convey to the listener what kind of response is expected.
# // Since the Ú last time we met | when we had that huge Ú dinner | I've been on a ( diet//
the first two tone-units present information which is known to the listener, and the final tone-unit, however, present new information. Falling tones indicate new information while rising tones indicate "shared" or "given" information.
INTONATION AND ITS COMPONENTS | TELLING AND REFERRING | The Tones | The transcription | B: // SORRy // (homework)// THURSday | SPEECH MELODY. ITS COMPONENTS | TYPES OF TONES (2). TYPES OF HEADS. | Lisa: Hello, Tony. Did you go for your interview yesterday? | Student A, Student B. | FALLING AND RISING TONES |