You are on page 1of 13

AMERICAN INTONATION

INTONATION
is SPEECH MUSIC or MELODY of SPEECH,
the changes in the pitch of the voice over time. It conveys meaning directly and indicates mood. Without Intonation, speech would be flat, mechanical & very confusing.

AMERICAN INTONATION DOs & DONTs


1. DO NOT Speak WORD by WORD
Bob is on the.. Phone.

2. CONNECT WORDS to form SOUND GROUPS

b bizn the foun. 3. USE STAIRCASE INTONATION


B
bi zn

foun

the

What exactly is STAIRCASE INTONATION?


In saying your words, imagine that they come out as if they were bounding lightly down a flight of stairs. Every so often, one jumps up to another level, and then down again. Americans tend to stretch out their sound longer than you may think is natural. So to lengthen vowel sounds, put them on two stairsteps instead of one. We re Were here. he re. The sound of an American speaking a foreign language is very distinctive, because we double sound that should be single. For example, in Japanese or Spanish, the word no is, to our ear clipped or abbreviated. No No ou
Clipped Standard American

When you have a word ending in a voiceless consonant (t, k, s, x, f, sh), you will notice that the preceding vowel is said quite quickly, and on a single stairstep. When a word ends in a vowel or a voiced consonant (b, d, g, z, v, j), the preceding vowel is said more slowly, and on a double stairstep. see seat eed voiceless voiced
There are 2 main consequences of not doubling the second category of words: Either your listener will hear the wrong word, or even worse, you will sound upset.

3 WAYS to MAKE INTONATION


1. Get LOUDER or RAISE the VOLUME.
This is not a sophisticated way of doing it but it will definitely command attention. 2. STREEEEETCH or LENGTHEN the word that you want to draw attention to.

3. CHANGE the PITCH. Although pausing before changing pitch is effective, dont do it every time because it will be an obvious technique.

Intonation Activity
I didnt want to learn a new accent today. I didnt want to learn a new accent today. I didnt want to learn a new accent today. =L =S =P

***Note: Always use two or all three ways to make intonation. Using just one will sound either robotic, weird or an army drill sergeant.

Staircase Intonation
STATEMENT INTONATION with NOUNS
Intonation or pitch change is primarily used to introduce new information. This means that when you are making a statement for the first time, you will stress the nouns. Dogs bones. eat

STATEMENT INTONATION with PRONOUNS When you replace the nouns with pronouns (i.e., old information),
stress the verb. eat

They

them.

As we have seen, nouns are new information; pronouns are old information. Therefore, here are the two basic intonation patterns:
Dogs They
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

eat

bones. them.

14.

Bob sees betty. Betty knows Bob. Ann and Ed call the kids. Jan sells some apples. Jean sells cars. Bill and I fix the bikes. Carl hears Bob and me. Dogs eat bones. The girls have a choice. The kids like the candy. The boys need some help. Ellen should call her sister. The murderer killed the plumber. The tourists went shopping.

1. He sees her. 2. She knows him. 3. They call them. 4. She sells some 5. She sells them. 6. We fix them. 7. He hears us. 8. They eat them. 9. They have one. 10. They like it. 11. They need something. 12. She should call someone. 13. He killed a man. 14. They bought stuff.

Staircase Intonation
STATEMENT versus QUESTION INTONATION
A question has a rising intonation. Usually, it will step upward until the very end, where it takes one quick downward step. A question rises a little higher than a statement with the same intonation pattern.
Here is my car. Where is my car? c r?

Here
is my

c
r.

Where
is my

Staircase Intonation
EMOTIONAL or RHETORICAL QUESTION INTONATION
If you know that your car is parked outside, however, someone doesnt see it & asks you where it is, you might think that it has been stolen & your emotion will show in your intonation as you repeat the question. As your feelings rise in an emotional situation, your intonation rises up along with them.
Where is my car? r? Why? Is it gone? n?

c
Where is my Why? Is it

4 MAIN REASONS for INTONATION


1.

NEW INFORMATION (as was discussed) OPINION This gives the impression that you mean the opposite of what your sense tell you.
Example: It looks like a diamond. (but it zircon) It sounds like rain. (it is rain) It sounds like rain. (but its not)

2.

4 MAIN REASONS for INTONATION


3. CONTRAST Sentence stress can also be moved to show contrast between two words or between a possible opposite. Often sentence stress will fall on both word that are being compared.
Example: Jeff likes beef, but he hates pork.

4.

CANT Contractions (couldnt, shouldnt, wouldnt) and negatives (no, not) are important words since they totally negate the meaning of the sentence, but they are not usually stressed. Cant is the exception.
Example: It cant rain when theres no clouds.

1.
2.

I didnt say he stole the money. Someone else said it.


I didnt say he stole the money. Thats not true at all.

3.
4.

I didnt say he stole the money. I only suggested the possibility.


I didnt say he stole the money. I think someone else took it.

5.
6.

I didnt say he stole the money. Maybe he just borrowed it.


I didnt say he stole the money, but rather some other money.

7.

I didnt say he stole the money. He may have taken some jewelry.