American Intonation

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    AMERICAN INTONATION

    INTONATIONis SPEECH MUSIC or MELODY of SPEECH,

    the changes in the pitch of the voice overtime. It conveys meaning directly and

    indicates mood. Without Intonation, speechwould be flat, mechanical & very confusing.

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    AMERICAN INTONATIONDOs & 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 foun

    bi

    zn

    the

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    What exactly is STAIRCASE INTONATION?

    In saying your words, imagine that they come out as if they were bounding lightlydown a flight of stairs. Every so often, one jumps up to another level, and thendown again. Americans tend to stretch out their sound longer than you may think isnatural. 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 wedouble sound that should be single. For example, in Japanese or Spanish, the wordnois, to our ear clipped or abbreviated.

    No

    No ou

    Clipped Standard American

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    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 quitequickly, and on a single stairstep. When a word ends in a

    vowel or a voiced consonant (b, d, g, z, v, j), the precedingvowel is said more slowly, and on a double stairstep.

    see

    seat eed

    voiceless voiced

    There are 2 main consequences of not doubling the secondcategory of words: Either your listener will hear the wrongword, or even worse, you will sound upset.

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    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.

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    Intonation Activity

    I didnt want to learn a new accent today. = L

    I didnt want to learn a new accent today. = S

    I didnt want to learn a new accent today. = P

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

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    Staircase IntonationSTATEMENT INTONATION with NOUNS

    Intonation or pitch change is primarily used to introduce newinformation. 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.

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    As we have seen, nouns are new information; pronouns are old information.Therefore, here are the two basic intonation patterns:

    1. Bob sees betty. 1. He sees her.

    2. Betty knows Bob. 2. She knows him.

    3. Ann and Ed call the kids. 3. They call them.

    4. Jan sells some apples. 4. She sells some

    5. Jean sells cars. 5. She sells them.

    6. Bill and I fix the bikes. 6. We fix them.

    7. Carl hears Bob and me. 7. He hears us.

    8. Dogs eat bones. 8. They eat them.

    9. The girls have a choice. 9. They have one.

    10. The kids like the candy. 10. They like it.

    11. The boys need some help. 11. They need something.

    12. Ellen should call her sister. 12. She should call someone.

    13. The murderer killed the plumber. 13. He killed a man.

    14. The tourists went shopping. 14. They bought stuff.

    Dogs bones.

    eatThey them.

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    STATEMENT versus QUESTION INTONATION

    A question has a rising intonation. Usually, it will step upward untilthe very end, where it takes one quick downward step. A question

    rises a little higher than a statement with the same intonationpattern.

    Here is my car. Where is my car?

    c

    r?Here c Where

    is r. is

    my my

    Staircase Intonation

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    EMOTIONAL or RHETORICAL QUESTION INTONATION

    If you know that your car is parked outside, however, someonedoesnt see it & asks you where it is, you might think that it hasbeen stolen & your emotion will show in your intonation as yourepeat the question. As your feelings rise in an emotional situation,your intonation rises up along with them.

    Where is my car? Why? Is it gone?

    r? n?c g

    Where Why?

    is Is

    my it

    Staircase Intonation

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    4 MAIN REASONS for INTONATION

    1. NEW INFORMATION (as was discussed)

    2. OPINION This gives the impression that you mean theopposite of what your sense tell you.

    Example:

    It lookslike a diamond. (but it zircon)

    It sounds like rain. (it is rain)

    It soundslike rain. (but its not)

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    3. CONTRAST Sentence stress can also be moved to showcontrast between two words or between a possibleopposite. Often sentence stress will fall on both word that

    are being compared.Example:

    Jefflikes beef, but he hates pork.

    4.CANT

    Contractions (couldnt, shouldnt, wouldnt) andnegatives (no, not) are important words since they totallynegate the meaning of the sentence, but they are notusually stressed. Cant is the exception.

    Example:

    It cantrain when theres no clouds.

    4 MAIN REASONS for INTONATION

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    1. Ididnt say he stole the money. Someone else said it.

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

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

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

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

    6. 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.