English intonation


Иностранные языки, филология и лингвистика

Each language has its own special characteristic of a tone noticeably different from the other languages. In English, intonation is particularly important due to the strong expression analytical language. In analytical language relations between words are not expressed with the help of endings, as in the Ukrainian language...



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Chapter 1.

1. A General Notion of Prosody.

2. Phonostylistics.

3. Style-forming factors.

4. Stylistic Use of Intonation. Phonostyles and their registers.

5. Informational Style:

a) spheres of discourse

 b) informational texts (reading)

 c) informational monologues (speaking)

 d) informational dialogues

e) press reporting and broadcasting

 6. Classification of phonetics styles:

 a) Scientific (academic) style

 b) Declamatory style

c) Publicistic style

 d) Familiar (conversational) style

 7. Intonation. English intonation



In any language, intonation is used for the external design of a sentence. By means of the intonation listeners understand whether the sentence is narrative, interrogative, request or exclamation. For example, the sentence "It’s warm today" can be a statement, a question and exclamation, depending on the tone with which the sentence is pronounced. Intonation also expresses our emotions: surprise, anger, joy, dissatisfaction, etc.

Each language has its own special characteristic of a tone noticeably different from the other languages. In English, intonation is particularly important due to the strong expression analytical language. In analytical language relations between words are not expressed with the help of endings, as in the Ukrainian language, and with the help of auxiliary words: prepositions, articles, auxiliary verbs, as well as using of intonation.

The components of intonation are:

- Speech melody, which is carried up or down vote in the phrase (compare the utterance of narrative and interrogative sentence);

- The rhythm of speech, ie, alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables;

- The pace, ie quickness or slowness of speech and pauses between speech segments (compare it delayed and speech patter);

- Voice, ie sound coloration, giving a speech or another emotionally-expressive colors (tone "funny", "playful", "sombre", etc.);

- Phrase and logical stress, employees means isolating individual words in a sentence.

Long sentences are divided into separate semantic groups that depend on the overall meaning of the sentence and its grammatical structure and style of speech.

The theme is relevant since the tone is made up of several components: 1) the frequency of the fundamental tone of voice (a high-rise or a melodic component); 2) The intensity (dynamic component); 3) The duration or pace (time, a temporal component); 4) Pause; 5) Voice. All components of intonation but pauses are always present in the statement, because no element of it can not be pronounced without any pitch of the voice, etc. Therefore, all components of intonation closely interact with each other. However, it is possible, firstly, to establish a hierarchy of Secondly, there is evidence of a division of functions between them.

Hypothesis: work on intonation plays an important role as a link in a single system of speech activity. By forming this element, we affect other parts of speech and dialects in general.

The object of the course work is theoretical phonetics.

The subject of the course work is the English intonation.

Purpose of course work - consider the English intonation.

Based on the goal, you need to solve the following problems:

- Analyze the value of intonation;

- Consider the English intonation;

- Explore the melodies of English and Russian languages.

A General Notion of Prosody

Prosody or prosodic features of language is a term that refers collectively to variations in pitch, loudness, tempo and rhythm. Prosodic features extend over stretches of utterance, they are superimposed on speech sounds/segments and that's why they are also called supra-segmental. They convey information that the words do not consist of.

There is an agreement between phoneticians that on perception level a complex unity formed by significant variations of 1)pitch, 2)loudness(force) and 3)tempo(i.e. the rate of speech and pauzation) is called intonation. Thus, prosody and intonation relate to each other as a more general notion (prosody) and its part (intonation). Many foreign phoneticians restrict the formal definition of intonation to the pitch movement alone. But in fact, in the process of speech all these components function as a whole, though the priority of the pitch parameter is quite evident.

 Prosody is concerned with three matters [Kreidler 1989]:

 1) with the ways in which an utterance is broken into 'chunks'. Compare the utterance~ 'We don't want any' spoken in a single breath and the same sequence of words said in four separate breaths, as perhaps by somebody who is irritated or insistent:

a) We don't want any   b) We| don't | want| any||.

The technical name which we employ for 'chunk' is tone unit. Sentences 1-a and 1-b obviously have the same verbal content but they differ in the number of tone units.  Sentence 1-a consists of one tone unit;

Sentence 1-b consists of four tone units. Other terms in use are 'tone group' or 'intonation group'.

 2) with the position of accent - the emphasis that makes one syllable more prominent than other syllables, and therefore makes one word more prominent that the other words in the tone unit. Each of the sentences below is one tone unit in length and therefore has one accented syllable, indicated by bold face. Notice how the meaning changes when the accent is moved.

a.  We don't want those.  b. We don't want those.

c.  We don't want those.   d. We don't want those.

In a sense each of these four utterances has the same meanings: the meaning of we (whoever 'we' may be), the meaning of those (whatever 'those' are), the meaning of want, and the meanings of negative and Present tense. However, they differ in an important kind of meaning, FOCUS.

3) with the INTONATION or melody - the patterned way in which the pitch of the voice changes in the utterance. Compare the two sentences:

a  You don't  know.   b  You don't know?

 The voice falls or the voices rises, and the hearer know whether the speaker is telling or asking.

 Prosody is more subtle than segmental phonology. As a consequence, numerous languages have writing systems - alphabets or syllabaries - which represent their consonants and vowels more or less adequately, but no language has an orthography which adequately represents the rhythms and melodies of its utterances. Punctuation marks, italics, underlines, and capital letters are crude and inadequate ways of representing effects: pitch and loudness. It follows that one written utterance may correspond to two or more spoken utterances:

A  This is my son John.   B This is my son, John.

 The first utterance suggests that 'John' is the speaker's son, the second, that John is the person addressed. The examples above and others that will follow show that prosodic elements can perform several kinds of functions:

1) Focus - Prosody can highlight one particular word in an utterance and thus make other words less significant by comparison, e.g. We don't want those vs. We don't want those or highlight different numbers of words in what are otherwise identical utterances, e.g. We | don't want those.

2) Role in discourse - Prosodic elements can indicate the role of an utterance within a larger discourse, e.g. The Blakes have a new car, which conveys entirely new information, vs. The Blakes have a new car, which suggests that 'new car' has previously been mentioned.

3) Intention of speaker - Prosody can make a difference in the way the elements of an utterance are to be interpreted, in the grammatical nature of the whole utterance: the question You don't know? vs You don't know or in the way the parts of an utterance are related to one another: This is my son, / John where the name "John" is an apposition with 'my son' or is an address-form added to the sentence.


Phonostylistics came into existence as an attempt to start bridging up the gap between linguistic and extra-linguistic factors in analyzing stylistic differentiation of oral texts.

Phonostylistics is not just a new brand of linguistics, to set side by side on the shelves with all the old brands. It is a whole different way of looking at phonetic phenomena. It is a way of doing phonetic science which includes various extra-linguistic factors, instead of systematically excluding them.

There is no consensus of opinion as to what grounds there are for classifying some factors as linguistic, and some as extra-linguistic (or non-linguistic). The most realistic approach is to introduce the scale of linguisticness, ranging from 'most' to 'least' linguistic. At the 'most linguistic' end would be classified those features of utterance most readily describable in terms of closed systems of contrasts, which have a relatively clear phonetic definition and which are relatively easily integrated with other aspects of linguistic structure, e.g. phonemic distinctions, syllables, stress, nuclear tone type and placement, intonation group boundaries, pause, etc.

At the other, 'least linguistic' end would be placed all phenomena of speech that are not language, i.e. those feature of utterance which seem to have little potential for entering into systemic relationships, which have a relatively isolated function and cannot be easily integrated with other aspects of language structure, e.g. vocal effects lacking any semantic force (such as breathy and raspy voice quality of coughing). Moreover, under the heading of 'least linguistic' would also fall the situational background against which the linguistic features are used. A sub-set of situational factors (or variables) forms the so-called extra-linguistic context, that is, everything non-linguistic which exists at the time of using the linguistic features.

As the term suggests, p h o n o s t y l i s t i c s is concerned with the study of phonetic phenomena and processes from the stylistic point of view. It cropped up as a result of a certain amount of functional overlap between phonetics and stylistics, thereby there is no full agreement as to whether it is to be related to the former or the latter. Another approach is to grant phonostylistics an independent status. Despite the recent dramatic increase of interest in the subject, too little empirical work has been done for any well-grounded 'theory of phonostylistics' to emerge as yet. The attempts made so far have resulted in a general recognition of the existence and the importance of this linguistic domain, but its contours have not been more or less definitely outlined.

In dealing with the objectives of phonostylistics, it should be taken into account that it bears on quite a number of adjacent linguistic and non-linguistic disciplines such as paralinguistics, psychology and psycholinguistics, sociology and sociolinguistics, dialectology, literary criticism, aesthetics, information theory, etc. Since they are confronted with certain overlapping issues and there are no rigorous functional boundary lines to be drawn, it can be inferred that phonostylistics has an interdisciplinary status.

The more one examines speech in its full interactional context, the more one finds examples of utterance where the primary determinants of the speaker's identity and purpose, and of the listener's response, are phonostylistic. 'Say it as if you meant it', 'You don't sound as if you were a diplomat', and the unavoidable 'It wasn't what he said, but the way that he said it' provide a clear insight into essential characteristic of  phonostylistics, i.e. it is concerned with how a person talks about something rather than what he talks about. This person plays a peripheral role in phonetics, but it receives high priority consideration in phonostylistics. To solve the problem one has to describe in minutest detail stylistically marked modifications of vowels, consonants, vowel-consonant sequences, syllabification, stress, intonation, as well as all the non-linguistic features of utterance. However, it should be borne in mind that the problem in its entirely is nowhere near solution.

Now we shall attempt to delineate the range of issues that are integral to phonostylistics.

1.  The Phonetic Norm and Deviation (or Variation). A phonostylistician is usually interested in deviations from norms rather than in norms themselves, although the norms have to be determined before deviations from them can be noted and interpreted. The norm is regarded as the invariant of the phonetic patterns circulating in language-in-action at a given period of time. Deviations from these patterns may be great but they never exceed the range of tolerance set by the invariant, otherwise an utterance may become unrecognizable or misleading, as in the case of a very strong foreign accent.

2.  Phonetic Synonyms, i.e. utterance variations, conditioned by numerous situational (extra-linguistic) factors, for instance, 'lemme - let me', 'gonna - going to',  'c'mon - come on', 'g'by - good-bye', 'awreddy - already', 'don't-cha - don't you', 'prob'ly - probably', 't'day - today', 's'pose - suppose', etc. This involves the study of reduction and assimilation processes, sound elision and ecthlipsis, as well as phonemic distinctions neutralization.

Variants of words, differing in accent placement, should also be classified as phonetic synonyms, e.g. ''hospitable - hos'pitable'', ''formidable - for'midable'', ''interesting - inte'resting'', '',ciga'rette - 'cigarette'', ''kilo,metre - ki'lometre'', ''adult - a'dult'', and the like.

3.  Euphonology ( Greek 'eu' - well: 'phone' - a sound; 'logos' - a word), dealing with characterisation of speech sounds from a euphonic point of view. Euphony presupposes pleasantness or smoothness of sound, assimilation of the sounds of syllables to facilitate pronunciation and to please the ear.

The fact the different sounds may be agreeable or disagreeable to the ear is a matter of common knowledge; it does not take a trained ear to detect that differences exist. For example, it has been noted that in Russian [л] is the most musical sound, [p] is a strident, jerky sound opposed to the liquid [л]; [з] and [c] are dry, sibilant sounds.

Euphonology also treats arrangement of sounds which has a certain aesthetic value, e.g. alliteration, assonance, rhyme and other types of sound repetition.

4. Sound Symbolism. It is based on the assumption that separate sounds due to their specific features are able to evoke certain ideas, emotions, perceptions and images. For instance, it has been suggested that the English vowel [u:] generally conveys sorrow and seriousness, while [i:] produces the feeling of joy. However, it is realistic to generalise only if such information is provided and supported by statistics, otherwise it a matter of individual perception and therefore subjective.

Besides, sound symbolism manifests itself in a combination of speech sounds which aims at imitating sounds produced in nature, by people, by things or by animals, e.g. splash, giggle, bang, purr and so on. It is noteworthy that members of different language communities may perceive and imitate these sounds differently, in accordance with the phonological systems of their languages.

 5.  Stylistic Devices Coded or Carried by Phonetic Expressive Means ( e.g. irony, repetition, climax, inversion, etc.)

The following example illustrates the use of the intonation for emotional climax:

HALI: Then we will drink.

SANDRA: All right - we'll drink - where's your glass?

HALI (delighted): That is GOOD | - that is MAG NIFICENT | - that is  KNOCK-out!

            (N. Coward. "South Sea Bubble")

The emotional tension is produced here at the expense of the gradual increase in emotional evaluation of the words good ,magnificent, knock-out, pronounced on a gradually rising pitch-level (the Low Fall, the Mid Fall and the High Fall respectively).

6.  Genres of Speech in the Context of Oral Literature. For example, the so-called 'folk-tale' style is always phonetically identified, as in the following utterance:

         ("Spindle, Shuttle and Needle")

7. Phonetic Functional Styles. These styles are related to social setting or circumstances in which language is used. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a person speaks differently on different occasions (e.g. when chatting with intimate friends or talking to official persons, when delivering a lecture, speaking over the radio or giving a dictation exercise). In other words, the choice of a speech style is situatiunally determined.

The problem of speech typology and phonetic differences conditioned by such extra-linguistic factors as age, sex, personality traits, status, occupation, purpose, social identity        (or 'class dialect') and the emotional state of the speaker also bear on the issue.

Summing up, phonostylistics is concerned with a wide range or  correlated issues. Our knowledge of many of them is, however, still very defective.

This part focuses on phonetic styles, with the main emphasis being laid on intonation.

Style-forming factors

Admittedly, we are mainly interested in the variation of phonetic means. To analyze and describe them we must single out constant and definite features of the situational circumstances of the language event that are relevant for the phonetic level of analysis. These features, or factors, that result in phonostylistic variety are:

- the purpose, or aim of communication;

- the degree of formality of the situation;

- the degree of spontaneity;

- the speaker's attitude.

We should mention here that the purpose, or aim of communication may be called a style forming factor, while all the others cause modifications within a particular style, which accounts for the existence of different kinds and genres of texts within each phonetic style.

All the above-mentioned factors are interdependent and interconnected. They are singled out with the purpose of describing phonetic phenomena.

Now we shall consider each of the factors and try to explain what sort of phonetic variations may correlate with each of them.

 The aim of communication can be described as the general strategy of the language user. In other words, it is what the language is being used for: is the speaker trying to persuade, to exhort, to discipline. Is the speaker teaching, advertising, amusing, controlling, etc.? The speaker selects a number of functional phonetic means which would make the realization of the particular aim more effective.

For the purposes of this book we consider it adequate to distinguish the following aims of communication:

- giving information

- educating

- producing emotional impression

- influencing a person's mind (persuading)

- conversing.

Inside these basic aims we can distinguish many more minor types, that cause variations of phonetic means.

Among the extralinguistic factors determining the use of phonetic means it is the formality of the situation which is often referred to. It is obvious that the process of speaking is based on the recognition of social roles and relationships. The interaction of individuals depends upon their learning and accepting the roles of social behaviour. Social relationships are reflected in the degree of formality of the discourse. The degree of formality indicates how the speaker interacts with the listener.

As it was already mentioned, formality results from the character of relationships among the participants of language events, ranging from extreme degrees of formality to extreme degrees of informality. So we might say that spoken language shapes relationships, it defines and identifies them, and it is the category of formality which shows if we speak the right kind of language. According to the degree formality speech situations are generally described in terms of formal - informal, official - unofficial.

There is another factor which is often mentioned in connection with the degree of formality. It is number of addresses. Discourse can be public or non-public. Speech is qualified as public when the speaker is listened to by a group of people; non-public communication occurs in face-to-face interaction. It would be fair to mention that there is no direct correlation between the formality of the situation and public - non-public character of communication. Thus, a public presentation may be rather informal, while speech interaction involving two participants may be quite formal.

Another important extralinguistic factor is the degree of spontaneity. If we examine speech situations we can distinguish between those in which people speak spontaneously as opposed to those in which they speak non-spontaneously, as actors and lecturers generally do. The types of speech situations that lead to spontaneous speech are: everyday conversation, sports commentaries of an event actually taking place and so on.

Analyzing the most important characteristics of a spoken spontaneous text we should first of all mention a phenomena called "hesitation". The hesitation phenomenon breaks the regularity and evenness of the phonetic form. There appear pauses of various length and quality, which seldom occur at phonetic juncture, lengthening of sounds within words and in the word final position. A spontaneous text is characterized by a number or relevant features both on segmental and suprasegmental levels: simplification of sound sequences, non-systematic rhythm; incomplete melody contours; abundance of pauses, varying loudness, narrow pitch range, varying tempo (from very fast to very slow).

In teaching English, especially spoken English one should be well aware of specific phonetic markers of natural speech. A student of  English should be specially taught such peculiarities. Otherwise a spoken text would sound unnatural.

 The speaker's attitude is another category which is included into the set of style-forming factors. It is common knowledge that a communication situation is part of human being's life situation. So it is natural for a language user to consider the situation from his/her point of view, revealing personal interest and involvement in what he or she is saying. Obviously, the attitude of the speaker both to the message and to the other participants of communication is reflected in his/her choice of phonetic means.

We should mention that all these extralinguistic factors in their combination determine the choice of phonetic means in different forms of communication. Generally two forms of communication are distinguished according to the number of participants involved in a speech activity: monologue and dialogue. A monologue is the participation of one individual in speech production. A dialogue involves the participation of others. An important feature to be considered here is that in monologuing the speaker does not expect an immediate response, while in a dialogue there is interaction: participants expect each other to respond.

Stylistic Use of Intonation

Phonostyles and their registers

The section sets out to give a detailed description of each phonetic style, to provide and explain a framework for understanding variations of style which match the needs of particular situations.

In our view the conception that the intonational style markers are restricted to certain kinds of situational contexts and above all to the speakers' aim in communication is extremely valuable. Thus the intonational style is seen as some kind of additive by which a basic content of thought may be modified. Style is seen as the variable means by which a message is communicated.

It is already widely accepted that the purpose of communication determines the types of information conveyed in oral texts. They may be intellectual, attitudinal (emotional, modal) and volitional (desiderative). Each of these types is realized by means of specific prosodic parameters.

It may be said that there is a strongly marked tendency for prosodic features to form a basic set of recurrent patterns, which is occasionally accompanied by the introduction of specific prosodic and paralinguistic effects.

The set of stylistically marked modifications of all the prosodic features represents the model of a particular phonetic style.

It should be mentioned here that each phonetic (intonational) style exists in a number of variants which depend on a particular combination of extralinguistic factors. We call these variants registers. Registers can be observed in specific spheres of discourse.

Prosodic characteristics which form the model of a particular style are modified according to the forms of communication (monologue, dialogue, polylogue) and the types of speech production (speaking and reading), the degree of spontaneity and formality and also in some cases methods of delivery ( see Tables        ).

We must admit, however, that any intonational style is an extremely complex and heterogeneous phenomenon. Even a single speech act involves an extraordinary range of factors and could be considered from different, sometimes even conflicting points of view.

Confronted with all these difficulties a specialist in phonostylistics must ask himself/herself what the goal of analysis is and direct his/her attention to the essentials. In this book the description will be focused on those style forming features that may be of interest for would-be teachers of English and find practical application in their work.

The Role of the Degree of Formality in Phonetic Style Formation

Informational style

  Informational informal   Informational formal

Conversational                  Academic

Informational Style

a) spheres of discourse

 This phonetic style is sometimes qualified as "neutral", since it is the best marked kind of situationally influenced English. It is perceived as neutral because the main purpose of the speaker is to convey information without the expressing personal concern and involvement. Evidently, there are theoretical and practical reasons to use it as the starting point of phonetic styles description.

Where is this style manifested in its pure form? First of all, in the written variety of an informational text read aloud. The written speech, the reading, should not be subjected to the contextual variables and the commonest and "ideal" situation for this register is the reading of such texts in class. They may be labeled as informational texts.

Press reporting and broadcasting, especially the reading of the news coverage over the radio is another variant of informational style.

The new bulletin and broadcast talk have both written and spoken existences which are of equal importance for the simple reason that they were written specially to be read aloud. The informational style is realized in other spheres of communication: business and legal intercourse, the reading of administrative documents and so on (see Table   )

The degree of formality in the character of participants' relationship in different variants of the informational style presentation may smooth the borderline between them. Thus it would be wrong to identify this style as formal, because the degree of formality may vary. As it was stated earlier, the contours of the intonational styles in speech reality have not been very definitely outlined yet and there are overlaps of phonetic styles. So the most informal realization of any kind of information in the form of a dialogue may be identified as conversational style, and, respectively, extra formal presentation of information may be attributed to an academic style talk and so on.

We shall limit out description of informational style to two common variants: educational information and press reporting/broadcasting. The table ... shows the correlation between the informational style registers, and speech typology. (see Table   )

Roughly speaking, any variety of the language, both written and spoken, may be presented either by reading or speaking in a prepared or spontaneous way in a formal or informal manner.

We would like to attempt now to suggest certain spheres of discourse in which the informational style could be heard in relation to forms of communication and the number of participants involved (see Table   ).

Now that we have outlined the contours of the style, our next step will be to analyse prosodic  characteristics of this particular intonational style. The following prosodic parameters should be considered: pitch (variations of pitch direction, pitch level, pitch range), loudness, tempo (the rate of the utterance and pausation). It also include rhythm and timbre as they have very specific suprasegmental expression of various emotional, expressive and evaluative overtones.

It would be fair to admit here that when faced with a text of some kind - what appears to be a mass of coordinated data - a starting point for analysis is often difficult to choose.

As it was suggested above, the ideal start is an informational text, most commonly heard in class. The analysis of it here is carried out by the procedure of systematic phonological opposition: the phonostylistic organization of reading will be systematically compared with the spoken version (in the forms of a monologue and dialogue).

The description of the informational phonetic style will proceed in the following order:

1. The phonostylistic analysis of the written informational texts (reading).

2. The analysis of the spoken variety of such texts.

3. Comparative analysis of spoken and written informational monologues.


 b) informational texts (reading)

In recent years it has become fashionable in education to extol the importance of spoken language with a depreciation of the values of reading, consequently the skill in reading now is often inadequate. This situation needs considerations. As was stated, there is a gap between spoken and written varieties of the language appropriate to speech and writing and to assign to each their "proper" sphere. It is perhaps just to say that many teachers and lecturers recognize the gap but are unable to improve this state of affairs because of the lack of materials and methods.

These two varieties of the language are a result of two activities that differ in psychological and intellectual terms.

Talking is easier than laborious solitary acts of reading. The reluctant reader will have to be given more cogent reasons for the efforts required to him. Reading aloud is even harder. In class it has purely educational purposes to stimulate pupils or students for prose and poetry appreciation and comprehension. Needless to say a written passage goes not always coincide with a phonopassage. In reading aloud a written passage may be broken into several phonopassages or, on the contrary, short passages may be combined into one long lasting phonopassage.

As it has been mentioned, reading and speaking differ totally in the speech production activity. In teaching to read we are simply helping to transfer from one medium to another. Reading and speaking each requires differently directed intensive efforts. Obviously, the phonetic features of these varieties of texts will show considerable differences.

We would like to start the phonostylistic analysis of the reading of the text, in which some customs and traditions of Cambridge University life are described.

May Week in Cambridge


The   most  interesting and bi zarre time of the year to visit  Cambridge | is during  May Week. || This is   neither in  May, | nor it is a  week. || For  some  reason  which  nobody now re members |  May Week is the  name  given to the   first  two  weeks in  June, | the     very end of the University  year. |||

The   paradox is   pleasantly  quaint,  |  but is  also  in a way  apt. ||  May Week denotes  not so much a par ticular  period of  time | as the  general  atmosphere of rela xation and

un winding    at the   end of the year's  work. |||

Any phonostylistic analysis falls into several steps. Obviously the first procedure will be the description of the speech situation which comprises the purpose, setting and participants. In reference to this text we may say that the main purpose of the reader is to give information. The speaker sounds dispassionate and rather reserved.

The presenter of the text is a student of Oxford  University who has advanced RP accent. The reading is addressed to a group of students, Russian learners of English.

The next step is to define other extralinguistic factors, the degree of preparedness among them. The analysed text be characterized as half prepared as it was read through beforehand.

Now we shall look at the prosodic characteristics. One should undoubtedly begin with delimitation. The text is split into phonopassages, then into phrases, then into intonation groups, correspondingly, the length of pauses is varied according to the textual units. Pauses are made at syntactical junctures within the phrase and between them.

Among the prosodic features we should mention the following:

 Loudness is relatively stable and normal, but close to the phonopassage boundaries there is a gradual decrease of it. Thus it is to spot the boundaries by loudness contrasts between the final and initial intonation groups of two adjacent phonopassages. The same could be said about levels and ranges: there is a distinctly marked decrease of them within the phonopassage.

 The rate of utterances is normal or rather slow, not noticeably varied. Together with the medium length of pauses the general tempo may be marked as moderate.

 The rhythm may be characterized as systematic, properly organized, interpausal stretches have a marked tendency towards the rhythmic isochrony.

One of the main style differentiating features on the prosodic level is the accentuation of the semantic centres. It is expressed commonly by terminal tones, pre-nuclear patterns, pitch range and pitch level, degree of loudness on the accented syllables, and also by the contrast between the accented and non-accented segments of the utterance. As regards this particular text we may say the following:

The most common terminal tone is a low falling tone. Occasionally expressive high falls are used; in non-final segments mid-level tones and low-rising ones are quite frequent:

 The   most  interesting and bi zarre time of the year to visit  Cambridge | is during

May Week.

 Pre-nuclear patterns are not greatly varied: falling and level types of heads prevail. Several falls within an intonation group are typical:

The   paradox is   pleasantly  quaint | but is   also   in a way  apt. ||

 The contrast between accented and unaccented segments of phrases is not great, which is known to be a marker of any reading in general; the stress is decentralized, i.e. equally distributed on accented syllables of pre-nuclear patterns.

 c) informational monologues (speaking)

 Much has been said earlier about the differences between reading and speaking. Our aim here is to demonstrate them on the prosodic level using concrete examples. Now the text "May Week in Cambridge" was reproduced spontaneously by the same speaker in the form of a monologue. He did it in a rather formal manner and addressed the same group of students.

May Week in Cambridge


As you probably  know | the uni  versities of  Oxford and  Cambridge  |  are the  two  oldest universities in  England  || and be  cause of  that, |  because of their  age | they have   many tra ditions   which to  foreigners   might   appear very  strange. ||  One of these tra  ditions  |   is  May Week in  Cambridge. |||  This is par ticularly  strange | as it   doesn't  happen in  May | and is  not in  fact a week. || It  stretches over two weeks, the  7th and the 8th weeks of the  term. ||  There is  no real  reason for calling it May  Week | and per haps  it is  heralding the  coming of  May | which is till   then  being ig nored   in   favour of  more serious matters   like exami nations. |||  There're many   different ac tivities   which  go on during  May  Week | for the   most  part there are  many  plays | put on by indi vidiual  college so cieties, |   very often  taking place out doors     in   College gardens. |||  There are  also rowing races   with   crews of  eight   competing in  bumping races. ||| What I  mean bumping races   is when the  aim is  to     bump   back of the  boat  in front of you  on the   Cam  river. |||

The purpose of the communication in the setting described accounts for the businesslike, dispassionate, detached, impartial voice colouring. Occasionally, the speaker sounds interested, involved, especially, when he speaks about his own experiences.

Speaking about the delimitation of spoken texts it should be pointed out that it depends on the degree of spontaneity. The basic unit of a spoken monologue is also a phonopassage but its stretch is greatly varied, much greater than in reading. As in oral speech the rules of syntax are not strictly followed, passages are broken into utterances which do not often coincide with sentences. Pauses at the end of the phrase are commonly optional; hesitation pauses often break a syntagm into several intonation groups and occur both intentionally and non-intentionally. They may be filled and non-filled (silent):

 What I  mean  bumping races  is when the  aim is  to   bump    back of the  boat   in front of you  on the   Cam  river.|||

As the speaker addresses a comparatively small group of people the loudness is not greatly varied but for the decrease towards the end of the passage. The increase of loudness is evident at the start of the phonopassage and on its emphatic communicative centres. This may be also referred to levels and ranges.

The rate of utterances is remarkably varied. In the majority of cases it is normal, but increases towards allegro on less significant units and decreases towards lento on on emphatic centres of the phrase or supraphrasal units.

The length of pauses depends on their syntactical and semantic value, the maximum length being at the passage boundaries.

This spoken monologue is characterized by non-semantic rhythmicality; the rhythmicality within the phonopassage is achieved by the alternation of all prosodic parameters.

Terminal tones are final and categoric, the emphasis being achieved by the use of high (medium) abrupt falls, or several falls within one interpausal unit. Low rising and Mid-level tones are common for initial on non-final intonation groups to bind them together into a phrasal unit:

  In  Oxford  |  we don't have a  May Week. ||

 Types of heads are varied: level heads of one accentuated pre-nuclear syllable prevail, sometimes several partially accented syllables occur between them. Descending falling heads are also quite common, they are occasionally broken by the "accidental rise":

 Personally  I come  from  Oxford University,  so   I know  far more about  Oxford. ||

 As the monologue is quite spontaneous the contrast between accented and non-accented segments is great; centralized type of stress helps to underline the semantic centres:

 This is par ticularly  strange |  as it   doesn't  happen in  May | and is  not in  fact a  week. ||

 Now the auditory analysis of various informational monologues and phonetic research allow us to conclude that this description may be applied to the majority of spoken monologues produced within the register and may be treated as a model informational spoken monologue.

Our task now is to compare the prosodic characteristics of the two varieties of the language in this register. The results of the comparison are shown in Table 9.

We can make the following conclusion:

1. Written text (read aloud) and spoken text belonging to the same phonetic style have different prosodic realizations.

2. In oral speech prosodic characteristics are more vivid, expressive and varied.

3. The speaker often uses some hesitation phenomena (hesitation pauses, semantic noises and temporizers) intentionally, which enables him to obtain the balance between formality and informality and establish contact with the public.

4. The speaker uses various hesitation phenomena unintentionally which enables him to gain the time in search for suitable expression or idea and thus not interrupt the flow of speech.

5. In spontaneous speech an intonation group doesn't always coincide with a syntagm. Pauses at the end of the phrase are optional.

6. The reading is characterized by a decentralized stress distribution whereas speaking - by a centralized one.

7. In spontaneous speech communicative centres are more vividly emphasized; the emphasis is achieved by a wider range of terminal tones; greater degree of loudness and prominence of accented segments.

8. The reading is rhythmical, oral speech rhythm is non-systematic, unpredictable, variable.

By way of conclusion we would advise future teachers of English to drift from the traditional, non-stylistic approach to the language teaching in their future practical work and pay special attention to the differences between the two varieties of the language.

 d) informational dialogues

 Now we shall focus on the dialogues within the sphere of the informational style discourse.

It is quite obvious that there are certain things common to all dialogues as opposed to monologues and we would like to describe them here.

Firstly, a dialogue is a coordinated simultaneous speech act of two participants or rather a speaker and a listener. In this form of communication participants expect each other to respond and conversation is controlled by generally accepted rules of speech behaviour. The most important of them is taking conversational turns. It is essential that in any successful conversation "give-and-take" between the sender and receiver should be maintained.

The attention-getting function is established by putting all sorts of questions, agreement questions tags to show the interest and guide the course of the talk towards a given theme and also by using all sorts of response and non-response words and utterances both of verbal and non-verbal character. The speakers sometimes talk simultaneously. The utterances tend to be incomplete since the context can make perfectly plain to them what was being intended thus making redundant its vocal expression.

Hesitation phenomena are of primary significance in dialogues. Voiceless hesitation is very frequent, it tends to occur relatively randomly, not just at places of major grammatical junctions, which is more the pattern of written English read aloud. Voiced hesitation consists of hesitant drawls, verbal and non-verbal fillers such as ei, ehm, mm.

Dialogue is often accompanied by means of non-verbal communication - facial expressions ( a raised eyebrow, a glance towards the partner, etc.), gestures, body movements and noises such as artificial clearing of the throat, snorts, sniffs, laughs and other paralinguistic features of significance.

On the lexical and grammatical there is a comparatively high proportion of errors which do not seem to bother the speakers.

Interpolations are commonly interjectional, their function is primarily to indicate that attention is being maintained.

We should also mention here all sorts of introductions, afterthoughts, parenthetical words.

Dialogues are commonly characterized by a large number of loosely coordinated clauses, the coordination being structurally ambiguous, and loosely coordinated sentence-like structures.

The phonostylistic analysis of a sample of informational dialogue will allow us to single out the prosodic distinctive features, marking this variety of dialogues.

The talk is about two oldest universities of Britain - Oxford and Cambridge. This is a mono-thematic talk, though the speakers display some obvious differences of opinion on the subject matter.

Oxford and Cambridge Universities

A:  I think some    people might be   quite interested  to    know | what  the    principal  differences are  between the   sort of education you  get  at   Oxford and  Cambridge | and    any  other  type of Uni'versity edu cation. ||

B: > Um... ||

A: > What?    What's the  sort of  thing   that you wouldn't  highlight? ||

B:  Naturally   differences   in edu cation... ||

A:  Yes. ||

B:  I sup pose... ||

A:  Well, | what the university offers one. |  Why,   for example one would  choose... ||

B:  Ah, | I  see. ||

A:  Yes... to  go to  one of those uni  versities  or app ly to one of those universities    other to  take the  extra exam. ||

B:  Yes. ||  Er,|  certainlt, |  er. | I think just  this  is  social life in inverted  commas  is    er  a  very   er at tractive thing about the university    which in a way's    certainly a | part of edu'cation you re ceive   when you go to  Oxford or  Cambridge... ||

A: The tu torial  system  I  think   is a par ticularly good system    which been    par ticularly  finely  turned up in Oxford and  Cambridge... ||

B:  Ya. ||

A:  ... though it  does exist in  other universities. ||  You have a  great  deal more freedom | about what you are going  to     what  course of  study you are pre cisely going to  follow. ||

B: Ya.  ||

A:  There's  very much  left  to   one's own  choice. You  have... || In  my course I remember | I could look up  pages and  pages of things that I could potentially  do. ||

B:  Yes. ||

A: It was  really just a question of  one  sitting  out | what I  really wanted to do. |||

 The participants are post-graduates, students of the Russian language of Oxford and Cambridge Universities who know each other quite well. They are in the same age group (mid-twenties) and share the same university educational background as mature students.

They discuss quite spontaneously a serious topic, in which they are competent, interested, but no emotionally involved and concerned.

The subject matter is serious and the speakers sound rather formal, businesslike, but occasionally interested and even involved.

To maintain contact the participants use words like:  yes, right, sure, of course, expressing immediate reaction as well as all kinds of non-verbal sounds and noises like hm, mm, er, um, aha, etc.

The speakers are relaxed and not worried about the impression they are creating unlike a lecturer or a public speaker. Slips and errors grammar occur and do not bother them. Similarly, slight carelessness of pronunciation is common, thus we may speak about occasional deviations from the elaborated code.

As any dialogue is simultaneous act on the part of the sender and addressee, they are both mutually dependent and adapt to each other's strategies. Intonation contributes to establishing and maintaining contact between the participants.

The dialogue falls into coordinated blocks, split into dialogical units (stimulus - response). Each unit is characterized by semantic and phonetic integrity, by certain prosodic interrelated features. The ends of utterance pauses are frequently absent due to the rapid taking up cues:

B:  I suppose

A: Well, what the university offers one. Why, for example one would choose...

B: Oh, I see.

 Occasional emphatic pauses and frequent use of hesitation pauses (both filled and silent) are also characteristic of this talk:

B:   Yes, ||  Er,|  certainly,  | er, |  I think just  this |  social life in inverted commas    is   er   a   very at tractive thing about the university.

Among style-marking prosodic features we should mention the following:

Loudness is normal or reduced (piano), varied at the block boundaries. Important variation in loudness suggests the degree of seriousness of the thematic information. Sometime the speakers lower their voices to an inaudible mumble or simply trail off into silence, which is undoubtedly connected with changes in levels and ranges that are lowered and narrowed for many monosyllabic responses.

The rate is flexible as the speakers wish it to be. A speaks very slowly, B - a bit faster, but for both of them the speed is characteristically uneven.

The rhythm is non-systematic, greatly varied, interpausal stretches have a marked tendency towards subjective rhythmic isochrony; rhythmicality within the block is achieved by  the variation of all prosodic parameters.

The accentuation of semantic centres is achieved by the use of emphatic and compound tones (High Falls, Fall-Rises, Fall + Rises), increase of loudness, widening of the range of nuclei, changes in the rate of utterances and by a great contrast between accented and unaccented segments of phrases.

Pre-nuclear fragments are usually very short - heads with one accented pre-nuclear syllable are most common. High pre-heads occur very often.

The observations made during the auditory analysis of this dialogue and a great number of similar dialogues allow us to sum up the phonostylistic characteristics of informational spontaneous dialogues.

Comparing informational monologue - dialogue phonostylistic characteristics we can make the following conclusions:

1.  The structural hierarchy of a monologue is: phonopassages - phrases - intonation groups; whereas the one of a dialogue is: dialogue blocks - dialogue units - phrases - intonation groups.

2.  In a dialogue there is a wider range of contrasts in prosodic and paralinguistic effects.

3.  In a dialogue there is a strong tendency to keep the utterance short, to break up potentially lengthy intonation groups wherever possible. The average length of units in the majority of cases falls within the range of 1-5 words. Relatively high proportion of incomplete phrasal segments is noticeable. Phrases are commonly short at the beginning, longer as topics are introduced, longer still as argument develops and short again as the end approaches.

4.  In a dialogue there is no stable pattern rhythm.

5.  The tempo (rate+pauses) in a monologue is normally less varied but in both cases it is conditioned by the importance of information, the fluency of speakers, their familiarity with the topic (theme) and experience in speaking. In general in a monologue slower speech is expected.

By way of conclusion we would like to say that informational style is widely used in classroom interaction which makes it a useful model for teaching and learning the production of spoken English.

 e) press reporting and broadcasting

 It has already been stated above that press reporting and broadcasting is a rather complicated non-homogeneous phenomenon and may be varied from the stylistic point of view.

The chief function of a newspaper and news bulletin is to inform, to present a certain number of facts to a reader, a listener, or a viewer with the effect of giving the impression of neutral, objective, factual reporting. All types of discourse in that style share some important prosodic features.

It should be noted, however, that the speech of radio and television announcers is somewhat different, because a TV news reader accompanies vocal expression by non-verbal means of communication (facial expression, gestures). The radio announcer tends to exaggerate certain prosodic features to be better understood by the listeners.

Here is an example of radio news coverage:

  Thirty-five  vehicles    were in volved in a   multiple  col lision   on the  M 1  motorway this  morning. ||  The  accident oc curred | about  three miles south of the 'Newsport' Pagnell  service area | when an ar ticulated  lorry |    carrying a 'load of  steel bars | jackknifed  and over turned. || A   number of 'lorry drivers and   motorists || were un able to pull  up in time | and ran  into the overturned  vehicle |    causing a  major  pile up. |||   Some of the 'steel bars from the   load |  were   flung by the  impact |  across the  central re-serve into the  southbound  carriageway | which was re  stricted to single-lane  working because of re'pairs and re-  surfacing  |   causing     several   minor  accidents. ||| With  both   carriageways  blocked |  police  closed the motorway for a  time  | and di version signs were  posted at the  nearest slip roads. |||   Breakdown   vehicles and  ambulances | had con siderable   difficulty | in reaching the 'scene of the  accident | because of  fog. || This was  dense in  places | and the  flashing  amber  lights signals | had been   switched  on  for   most of the  night. So far  | there are  no re ports | of   anyone  seriously  injured  in the  accident...  |||

 Voice colouring may be characterized as unemotional, dispassionate, reserved, but very resolute and assured, a typical case of a newsreader's "neutral position", deliberately underlying the effect of objectiveness on the part of the newsreader.

Loudness ranges from normal to forte; it is especially varied at passage boundaries.

Levels and ranges are usually normal, but contrasted when each news item is introduced and also at the semantic emphatic centres.

Pauses tend to be rather long, especially when they occur between passages, longer still between the bulletin items. The location of pauses in commonly predictable, syntactically or semantically determined.

Rate is not remarkably varied. It is normally slow, rarely allegro; deliberately slow (lento) on communicatively important centres.

Rhythm exhibits a stable pattern.

Types of heads vary, the most common being descending ( falling and stepping), very often broken by accidental rises.

Another very common phenomenon is the variation of descending and ascending heads of different levels to convey the information in a really interesting way, especially in the enumeration of the events:

  Lane  discipline | was  much worse in this  country | than in A merica ||  and the    habits of  drivers when overtaking  | were par ticularly bad. ||  One  saw  far too much  dangerous  pulling out | without an  adequate  signal   having been  given. ||

 Also the semantic centre of the preceding intonation group may be repeated at the beginning of the next utterance. Lexically it may be the same word or word combination or a related one. This is done to chain the phrases tightly into a phonetic whole (phonopassage). On the prosodic level this close connection is expressed by the use of the Low Rising Tone in the initial intonation group:

 At the  opening  meeting in  London  last  night | Sir  John  Stone... criticized | the  standard of  motorway driving in this  country. He  said that there was  evidence | that  many of the  basic  disciplines of motorway use | had yet to be  learned | by British  drivers. |||

 One can see here that in the text sentences are not long and not complicated in their structure. The intonation groups are quite short so that the listener would not lose thread of what is being reported.

Terminal tones are usually final and categoric, falls prevail. Falling-rising tones (or even Rise-Fall-Rises) are often heard in the initial short intonation groups introduced to draw the listener's attention:

 A   number of  lorry drivers and  motorists | were un able to pull up in time... ||

With  both  carriageways  blocked | police  closed the motorway for a time... ||

Comparing phonostylistic characteristics of the reading of an informational text and a news bulletin we can make the following observations:

1.  News bulletin read aloud conveys mainly factual information,  attitudinal function of information is of secondary importance here.

2. The prosodic parameters are not greatly varied in both registers of the style except for such occasions in news bulletins when pitch levels, types of heads and pauses are alternated to break the monotony of speech and draw the listeners' or viewers' attention to something very important in the message. This often happens when events are enumerated. Marked prosodic variations are also observed at the beginning and the end of each new paragraph or topic.

3.  Voice quality is very important marker of news coverage reading. It is very easily identified, often labelled as "distant", "indifferent", "impartial", "neutral". It is true, of course, for events of routine character. When tragic events are broadcast, for instance, all the prosodic features are changed to convey the meaning.

4.  In the "news bulletin reading" the use of broken descending heads and fall-rises on initial intonation groups is more common.

5.  Pauses tend to longer, the general tempo is faster than in the reading of informational educational texts.

6.  The "broadcast" reading is more properly rhythmically organized. Highly skilled newsreaders are capable of making the meaning clear by careful control of rhythm.

Classification of phonetics styles

All the extralinguistic factors that were described contribute to the information of a particular phonetic style. It should be mentioned that there exist different classifications of phonetic styles. Each of these classifications is based on the criterion, which the scholar who created it considers to be the most reliable. Thus, S.M. Gaiduchick distinguishes five phonetic styles: solemn(урочистий), scientific-business(науково-діловий) , official business(урочисто-діловий), everyday (побутовий) and familiar(невимушений)

(S. Gaiduchick, 1972). As we can see the above-mentioned classification correlates with the system of functional styles of the language. The styles are differentiated on the basis of spheres of discourse. A different principle of classification is suggested by Y.A. Dubovsky who singles out the following five styles: informal ordinary, formal neutral, formal official, informal familiar and declamatory. The division is based on different degrees of formality or rather familiarity between the speaker and the listener. Within each style subdivisions are observed. But as the author himself writes, it is rather a principle of presenting texts for description and analysis because "no theory has yet created a completely symmetrical classification of speech acts" ( Y. Dubovsky, 1978)

We think that the classification of phonetic styles should be based on the purpose of communication,  which is the most significant extralinguistic factor. However, when choosing an adequate criterion for the classification we should take into consideration the difference between the segmental und suprasegmental levels of analysis. The point is that stylistic variations of sounds and intonation result from different combinations of extralinguistic factors. Thus, stylistic modifications of sounds are caused primarily by the degree of formality, while variations of intonation are basically determined by the aim of communication. The degree of the influence of each factor is also different as regards segmental and suprasegmental units. So in the classification of phonetic styles presented here we tried to combine both segmental and suprasegmental characteristics of oral discourse not only for the purpose of phonostylistic analysis but also for the purpose of teaching English pronunciation. Further on we are going to look in more detail at the stylistic modifications of sounds and intonation and specify the particular extralinguistic factors which bring about these modifications.

Five phonetic styles can be signed out according to the purpose of communication:

1. Informational style;

2. Academic (scientific) style;

3. Publicistic (oratorical) style;

4. Declamatory (artistic) style;

5. Conversational (Familiar) style.

Classification of Phonetic Styles

Purpose of communication

informational        conversational             academic     publicistic  declamatory

      style      style     style                 style        style

We could add that any style with very few exceptions is seldom realized in its pure form.

Each text is likely to include phonetic characteristics of different styles. In such cases we talk about overlapping or fusion of styles.

We might conclude by saying that we hope this will be a useful piece of knowledge for a learner of English because to able to communicate effectively it is necessary to develop the awareness of different phonetic styles of the language. He or she should learn to discover the patterns which differentiate style varieties to understand why people speak in a certain way and to determine what form of phonetic expression they may choose, because the style should be as natural as dress and fit the time, the place and the person. The awareness of phonostylistic variations of speech is essential both for the correct interpretation of spoken discourse and for the adequate speech production, in fact it is a basic component of speech culture and communicative competence.


Attention is focused here on a lecture on a scientific subject and reading aloud a piece of scientific prose, that is to say, the type of speech that occurs in the written variety of language, in one-sided form of communication (monologue), in prepared, public, formal discourse.

The lecturer's purpose is threefold: (a) he must get the 'message' of the lecture across to his audience: (b) he must attract the attention of the audience and direct it to the 'message'; (c) he must establish contact with his audience and maintain it throughout the lecture. To achieve these goals he makes recourse to a specific set of intonational means. The most common pre-nuclear pattern (i.e. that part of the tune preceding the nucleus) is (Low Pre-Head +) Stepping Head.

The Stepping Head makes the whole intonation group sound weighty and it has a greater persuasive appeal than the Falling Head. Occasionally the High Head may occur as a less emphatic variant of the Stepping Head. This enables the lecturer to sound categoric, judicial, considered and persuasive.

As far as the terminal tone is concerned, both simple and compound tunes occur here. The High Fall and the Fall-Rise are the most conspicuous tunes. They are widely used as means of both logical emphasis and emphasis for contrast. A succession of several high falling  tones also makes an utterance expressive enough, they help the lecturer to impress on his audience that he is dealing with something he is quite sure of, something that requires neither argument nor discussion. Thus basic intonation patterns found here are as follows:

(Low Pre-Head +) (Stepping Head +) Low Fall (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (Stepping Head +) High Fall (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (Stepping Head +) Low Rise (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (High (Medium) Level Head +) Low Fall (+Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (High (Medium) Level Head +) Fall-Rise (+Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (High (Medium) Level Head +) Low Rise (+Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (High (Medium) Level Head +) Mid-Level (+Tail)

Variations and contrasts in the speed of utterance are indicative of the degree of importance attached to different parts of speech flow. Less important parts are pronounced at greater speed than usual, while more important parts are characterised by slower speed. Besides, the speaker makes use of alternating rhythmic patterns, differing in length.

Diminished or increased loudness that contrasts with the normal loudness helps the listeners to perceive a word as being brought out.

Internal boundaries placement is not always semantically predictable. Some pauses, made by the speaker, may be explicable in terms of hesitation phenomena denoting forgetfulness or uncertainly (e.g. word-searching). The most widely used hesitation phenomena here are repetitions of words and filled pauses, which may be vocalic |ə(ɜ:)|, consonantal |m| and mixed | əm (ɜ:m)|. Intentional use of these effects enables the lecturer to obtain a balance between formality  and informality and thus to establish a closer contact with his listeners who are made to feel that they are somehow involved in making up the lecture.

Moreover, a silent pause at an unexpected point calls the listeners' attention and may serve the speaker's aim to bring out some words in an utterance.

The following oral text may be assumed to serve as a model for an academic kind of lecturing:

Well  >NOW   I'd like to  turn  now to AS SESSMENT,  and I  hope you won't MIND    if I   use this OPPOR TUNI TY  to  try to give  some  INDI CATION   of    || a   more MODERN,  | more  RECENT     AP PROACH   TO the as sessment  PROBLEM   than per haps  I my self was  brought    brought   UP on. | And I  WANT    very  ARBITRARILY if I   MAY   to DI VIDE this   into  THREE  HEADINGS | and to  ask | ɜ:|  three   three  QUESTIONS:    as  sessment  WHY  |  as sessment  WHAT,  |  and as  sessment  HOW.   So   this really  MEANS    I   want to  talk a bout   first of all the   PURPOSES of AS SESSMENT       WHY we are as sessing   at  ALL, |ɜ:m|  SECONDLY    the    kind of  FUNCTIONS    and   processes that are   BEING AS SESSED, | and    thirdly I want to  talk about TECH NIQUES. | And I shall      I shall    have to  go  through THIS       FAIRLY  RAPIDLY,     and I   HOPE   that    if it's   TOO  RAPID      you'll     pick me up in  question   time    AFTERWARDS. ||

Well    first of all the  PURPOSE of as sessment. |||  Now I    think there are   FOUR      ROUGHLY  SPEAKING     FOUR   PURPOSES | ɜ:| which I   want to dis  cuss very  BRIEFLY. || The  FIRST  purpose of AS SESSMENT      IS | if I may    use  a  DE ROGATORY  TERM       purely  AD MINISTRATIVE .     Now I   don't want to 'cause  any OF FENSE that we  >HAVE       in this    >COUNTRY     and    elsewhere  STILL       much too    MUCH     psycho logical    TESTING,     much too much  AS SESSMENT    the    purpose of  which is AD MINISTRATIVE. | ɜ:| And  BY AD MINISTRATIVE   I   MEAN | ɜ:|  the   children are  >TESTED    in  order to  make a DE CISION  a  bout the  kind of EDU>CATION   that   they should   HAVE |  and  GENERAL LY [əm]  the as  sessments are  DONE  | in  ORDER to DE CIDE    whether children  ARE   as the  TERM now   IS     suitable for edu cation  in  SCHOOL. ||

    (D. Crystal and D. Davy. "Investigating English Style")

In the case of reading aloud scientific prose the most widely used pre-nuclear pattern is also (Low Pre-Head +)  Stepping Head. Sometimes the broken Stepping Head is found, if an accidental rise occurs on some item of importance. The Stepping Head may be replaced by the so-called heterogeneous head, i.e. a combination of two or several heads. The most frequently used types of the Heterogeneous Head here are as follows: (a) the Stepping Head combined with the Falling Head; (b) the broken Stepping Head combined with the Falling Head; (c) the Stepping Head combined with the Sliding Head; (d) the broken Stepping Head combined with the Sliding Head.

Occasionally the Scandent Head is employed which is an efficient means of making a sentence or an intonation group more emphatic. In this connection it is important to note  the use of a succession of falls ( both low and high) within any kind of head described above.

Final intonation groups are pronounced predominantly with the low or the high falling tone. Non-final intonation groups exhibit more possibilities of variations. In addition to the simple tunes found in final intonation groups the following compound tunes are used: the Fall-Rise and Rise-Fall. But the falling nuclear tone ranks first, the Low Rise or the Mid-Level being much less common. It should be borne in mind that the falling-nuclear tone in non-final groups in most cases does not reach the lowest possible pitch level.

Compound tunes make the oral representation of a written scientific text more expressive by bringing out the most important items in an utterance. Moreover, they secure greater intonation cohesion between different parts of a text.

Thus the following intonation patterns may be added to the ones listed above:

(Low Pre-Head +) (Stepping Head) + Rise-Fall (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (Heterogeneous Head) + Low Fall (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (Heterogeneous Head +) High Fall (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (Heterogeneous Head +) Fall-Rise (+Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (Sliding Head or High Falls +) High Fall (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (Sliding Head or High Falls +) High Fall + Rise (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (Scandent Head +) Low Fall (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (Scandent Head +) High Fall (+ Tail)

The temporal component of intonation displays the following regularities. The speed of utterance fluctuates from normal to accelerated, but it is never too fast. The accelerated speed of utterance is accounted for by the greater length of words and the greater number of stressed syllables within an intonation group. It can be also explicable in terms of the number of  communicative centres (the principal points of information in a sentence). The matter is that a communicative centre is brought out by slowing down the speed of utterance. Since communicative centres are fewer in number as compared with other less important words, which are pronounced at greater speed than usual, the general speed of utterance is perceived as accelerated.

Reading scientific prose is characterised by contrastive rhythmic patterns (arhythmic utterance). This is predetermined by the correlation of rhythm and speed of utterance. It is generally assumed that slow speed entails regular rhythm while in a accelerated speech rhythm is less regular.

Pauses are predominantly short, their placement and the ensuing internal boundaries are always semantically or syntactically predictable. Hesitation pauses are to be avoided.

The following extract instances the use of intonation in reading scientific prose:

The    various   MEANINGS  |  may be   classified under    two  general  HEADS |  - the  operative SUB>JUNCTIVE     and the PO TENTIAL sub junctive. || The  OPTARIVE sub junctive       represe sents  something as DE SIRED,  DE MANDED,    or RE QUIRED  (by a    person or by  CIRCUMSTANCES). ||  The PO TENTIAL sub junctive     marks  something as a    mere  con ception of the  MIND,    but at the     same     TIME        repre'sents it as   something that may  PROBABLY  or   POSSIB LY   BE   or BE COME a reality        or on the   OTHER   hand       as >SOMETHING       that is     contrary to  FACT. ||

    (G. O . Curme. "A Grammar of the English Language")



The term 'declamatory' server for many kinds of linguistic activity. We shall not attempt to compile an exhaustive list of all the imaginable types with their subsequent description, but rather discuss two varieties of oral representation of written literary texts, namely: reading aloud a piece of descriptive prose (the author's speech) and the author's reproduction of actual conversation (the speech of the characters).

The intonation of reading descriptive prose has many features in common with that of reading scientific prose. In both styles the same set of intonational means is made use of, but their frequency of occurrence is different here.

In the pre-nuclear part of the Low Pre-Head may be combined with the Stepping Head, the broken Stepping Head, the heterogeneous head or a descending sequence of syllables interrupted by several falls. However, the frequency of occurrence of the heterogeneous head is greater in reading scientific texts, whereas the other three prevail in reading descriptive texts. It is interesting to note that the Scandent Head is not found in reading descriptive prose, it is confined to scientific style.

The nuclear tone in final intonation groups is generally the Low Fall or, less frequently, the High Fall. This is due to the fact that both in scientific and descriptive prose the prevailing sentence type is declarative, necessitating the use of the falling tone. The principal nuclear tones in non-final intonation groups are the Low Fall, the High Fall and the Fall-Rise. The simple tunes are more frequent in descriptive texts while the compound tunes are more typical of scientific texts. The Low Rise, the Rise-Fall and the Mid-Level are rarely used as means of intra-phrasal coordination when reading a piece of descriptive prose; the Low-Fall, especially the one which does not reach the lowest possible pitch-level, is preferable here.

The speed of utterance in reading descriptive prose is relatively slow and as a result there are no market variations in rhythm. Pauses may be different in length but, as distinct from reading scientific prose, long pauses are more common. Internal boundaries are related to semantic or syntactic categories.

The following oral texts may serve as examples of reading descriptive prose:

"The  door of the  dining-room was  OPEN      the    gas 'turned  LOW; | a   SPIRIT-urn  'hissed on a  TEA-tray,    and  CLOSE to, it    a    cynical-'looking  CAT   had    fallen A SLEEP on the  DINING-table. ||   Old 'Jolyon ''shoo'd' her  OFF at once." ||

       (J. Galsworthy. "The Forsyte Saga")

When reading aloud a dialogical text, representing the speech of the characters in drama, novel or story, it should be borne in mind that it is different in the matter of intonation from a descriptive text, representing the author's speech (monologue).

The information adequate for reading dialogic texts is remindful of actual conversation, but there is no one-for-one correlation between them. It is not a pure and simple reproduction of the intonation that might be heard in the natural speech of living people (spontaneous dialogues). Before being used in reading dialogic texts the intonation of actual conversation is subjected to some kind of reshaping, that is to say, the intonation representing the speech of the characters is always stylized. The stylization of colloquial intonation implies that only the most striking elements of what might be heard in actual conversation are made use of. For example, the 'Irish accent' which an actor might adopt on stage is usually a stylization, as it would not be a minutely accurate rendering of any one Irish accent, but would simply select a sufficient number of phonetic features to give the impression of Irish accent.

The intonation of the natural conversation speech will be described under the heading of  'Familiar (Conversational) Style'. We shall confine ourselves here to some hints on the use of intonation in reading dialogic texts.

As far as the pre-nuclear pattern is concerned, it should be noted that the Low or High Pre-Head may be combined with any variety of descending, ascending or level heads. In the terminal tone both simple and compound tunes are widely used. Special mention should be made of the falling-rising tone which has a greater frequency of occurrence in reading dialogic texts than in actual conversation. The pitch-level in most utterances is generally high and the range is wide, unless the conversational situation and the speaker's purpose necessitate the reverse.

The overall speed of utterance in reading is normal or reduced as compared with natural speech, and as a result the rhythm is more even and regular. Pauses are exclusively either connecting or disjunctive, thereby internal boundaries placement is always semantically or syntactically predictable. Hesitation pauses do not occur, unless they are deliberately used for stylization purposes.

To select an intonation pattern for a particular utterance once has take into account the author's suggestion as to how the text should be read (e.g. the playwright's remarks, and stage directions in drama). Moreover, one has to consider the character's social and educational background, the kind of relationship existing between him and other characters as well as the extralinguistic context at large. This is especially important for novels and stories where the author's directions are generally few and far between.

Here is an example of reading aloud a dialogic literary text:

"  Let's have some  TEA," said  Emma. ||

"LOOK.     This has to be  taken  SERIOUSLY," said  Louis. |  " I  don't think  people know  HOW to  take things   SERIOUSLY  any  more.  |  The world is a  great  big  JOKE: | they    want a LAUGH,    a   bit of A MUSEMENT,     and    not to  WORRY about  anything. | But  YOU aren't  like  that." ||

"   How do you   KNOW?" asked  Emma. ||

"I  DO know. | And    nor am  I. | I can  OFFER you something. | I'm  OLD enough   and  RES PONSIBLE enough  to  MARRY;  |     I'm not an   ORDINARY under graduate,    PLAYING at af fection." ||

" PLEASE   DON'T," said  Emma. ||

" I   don't think you >REALISE my ...      WELL,   my FEELINGS a bout  this. | , EMMA..." ||

" NO," said  Emma. |  "  Don't say  any   MORE."

" But I'm   sure we could >MAKE each  other        very  HAPPY," said  Louis des pairingly. ||

        (M. Bradbury. "Eating People is Wrong")


The term "publicistic style' is a very broad label, which covers a variety of types, distinguishable on the basis of the speaker's occupation, situation and purpose. We describe one of the uses which might be subsumed under this heading, namely, the type of public speaking dealing with political and social problems (e.g. parliamentary debates, speeches at rallies, congresses, meeting and election campaigns.)

Any kind of public oration imposes some very important constraints on the speaker. Normally, it is the written variety of English that is being used ( a speech may be written out in full and rehearsed). The success of a political speech-maker is largely dependent on his ability to manipulate intonation and voice quality. In accordance with his primary desire to convince the listeners of the merits of his case he has to ensure a well-defined progression of ideas combined with persuasive and emotional appeal.

The intonation adequate for political speeches is characterised by the following regularities. In the pre-nuclear part the main patterns are:

(Low Pre-Head +) Stepping Head;

(Low Pre-Head +) Falling Head.

The heads are often broken due to extensive use of accidental rises to make an utterance more emphatic. The High Level Head is less frequent and the Low-Level Head here is indicative of tonal subordination. By tonal subordination we refer to cases when pitch-level of an intonation group is dependent on its neighbours, semantically and communicatively more important intonation groups being pronounced on a higher pitch-level.

The nuclear tone of final intonation groups is generally the Low Fall; the High Fall is much less common. The direction of the nuclear syllable pitch-movement in non-final intonation group is more varied. Both simple and compound tunes are found there, namely, the Low Fall, the Low Rise, the Mid-Level and the Fall-Rise. The High Fall and the High Rise are very rarely used for purposes of intra-phrasal coordination. It is interesting to note the Low Rise and the Mid-Level are typical of more formal discourse, whereas the Fall-Rise is typical of less formal and more fluent discourse, especially if the falling and the rising parts of the tune are separated by some stressed or unstressed syllables.

Here is a list a basic intonation patterns which may be found in publicistic style:

(Low Pre-Head +) (Falling Head +) High Fall (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (Falling Head +) Low Rise (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head ) (Falling Head +) Fall-Rise (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (Stepping Head +) Low Fall (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (Stepping Head +) Low Rise (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (Stepping Head +) High Fall (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (Stepping Head +) Low Fall (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (High or Medium Level Head +) Low Fall (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (High or Medium Level Head +) Low Rise (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (High or Medium Level Head +) High Fall (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (High or Medium Level Head +) High Fall + Rise (+ Tail)

(Low Pre-Head +) (High or Medium Level Head +) Mid-Level (+ Tail)

The speed of utterance is related to the degree of formality, the convention being that formal speech is usually slow, less formal situations entail acceleration of speed. Variations in rhythm are few (rhythmic utterance). Pausation and the ensuing internal boundaries are explicable in semantic and syntactic terms. Intonation groups tend to be short and as a result pauses are numerous, ranging from brief to very long. Hesitation pauses are avoided, still silent hesitation pauses occasionally do occur. It is interesting to note that some of the best ripostes during a political speech come at a point when the speaker is trying to gain maximum effect through a rhetorical silence.

Moreover, an utterance is often emphasized by means of increased sentence-stress and the glottal stop.

We illustrate the use of publicistic style by the following extract from a political speech:

You  can't have in formed O PINION    on this  VITAL  MATTER    with   out being kept VERY much up to  DATE with the   LATEST  FACTS of DE FENCE. | Now    what  IS  WRONG    with a coa   lition  GOVERNMENT?  Of    course you  NEED a coalition  GOVERNMENT    in     time of   CRISIS, |  but the    dreadful  PART of a coa lition  government, you  KNOW,     is that to    keep it A LIVE   you    have to go in for  one  COMPROMISE   after  A NOTHER. |  You     have to see  people     sitting  ROUND   the  CABINET room    with     different   VIEWS      and un   less there can be a 'shifting of O PINION    to   wards   some  FORM if  COMPROMISE  be  tween those  different  VIEWS the coa   lition  government  FALLS     and     we be come  a nother  FRANCE. Now    I    DO BE LIEVE    that the    whole  QUESTION of DE FENCE, | the   whole  question of a 'stand upon 'summit  TALKS,   the   whole re action as to  whether  Britain ought to  take a  LEAD   in this    question of the  H-bomb | as to    whether we  >OUGHT to |     have that  MORAL  LEADERSHIP   and    give that  moral  E XAMPLE      by  saying  NOT,    we    uni laterally DIS ARM.  |      That I have  NEVER  said    and    that many  members  of my   own  PARTY,       MOST  members of my  own PARTY   have    never BE LIEVED in |       What we  DO say at this  MOMENT as the  oppo sition     is  THIS:     for  ^HEAVEN'S  sake    give a  LEAD  |  and  TRY and  BREAK  DOWN    this     dreadful  sui cidal  WALL     where    no one will  yield an  INCH,  |     say that you  do  not in  fact IN TEND     over the    next  six  MONTHS,    if you  LIKE     to    have any more  TESTS,    |    say  SOMETHING   that can  start the DIS ARMAMENT talks  GOING.    Now     if you  FIRMLY  believe in  THAT     don't go in for a COA LITION       BE CAUSE as I've  SAID         that's a  very    vital  contri bution I BE LIEVE     to  wards the 'peace of the  WORLD     and to wards our own de fence POLICY. ||

     (D. Crystal and D. Davy. "Investigating English Style")


Here we are concerned with dominant features of relatively informal conversation between educated people (spontaneous dialogic texts). We have been guided by the belief that for a pedagogically orientated book spontaneous informal conversation provides the best example of the intonational style in question, since this is the kind of English everyone makes use of every day. Thereby, it is the most useful and least artificial kind of English to teach foreign students as a means of everyday communication.

Generally speaking, familiar (conversational) style, unlike other styles, will allow the occurrence of the entire range of intonation patterns existing in English. This is due to the fact that there seem to be no social restrictions on the range of emotions and attitudes which might be displayed in a conversational situation. However, it is to be noted that within any given stretch of utterance very little occurs.

Relatively unexcited conversational situations are characterised by low pre-heads, falling or stepping heads and simple low falling or rising tones. Monosyllabic response utterance display standardised, narrowed pitch patterns. Degrees of increasing intensity of excitement correlate with increased pitch height. As a result widened pitch patterns are typical of more excited situation. In this connection one should note the high proportion of intonation with the high falling nuclear tone. The flow of conversation much depends on these patterns, as the High Fall implies, among other things, the effect of personal participation or involvement in the situation. It is extremely important for the participants in conversation to show an active interest in what is going on. Besides, mention should be made of the high frequency of compound tunes and heterogeneous heads. There is also the occasional completely unexpected placement of nuclear tone.

In spontaneous informal conversation there is marked tendency for intonation to form a basic set of recurrent patterns. The precise nature of these patterns varies to a certain extent depending on such situational factors as the relationship of the speakers to each other the chosen subject-matter, the fluency of an individual, his emotional state and so on. The essential patterns are exemplified in the following micro-dialogues.


Pattern One: (Low Pre-Nucleus +) Low Fall (+Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: final, categoric, detached, cool, dispassionate, re-served, dull, e. g:

Stimulus: Can you see him now?

Response: You  KNOW I  can't.

S p e c i a l   Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: detached, flat, unsympathetic, even hostile, e. g:

Stimulus: Alec won't help.

Response: And WHY ,won't he?

G e n e r a l    Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: uninterested, hostile, e. g:

Stimulus: I think you'll like it.

Response:  WILL I?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: unemotional, calm, controlled, cold, e. g:

Stimulus: It's my pen.

Response: Well  TAKE it, then.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: calm, unsurprised, reserved, self-possessed, e. g:

 Stimulus: He refuses to go there.

 Response: The  CHEEK of it!

Pattern Two: (Low Pre-Head+) Falling Head + Low Fall (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: final, categoric, complete, definite, dispassionate, e. g:

 Stimulus: When can you come?

 Response:  I      think I shall be 'free on  TUESDAY.

S p e c i a l  Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: categoric, serious, dispassionate, e. g:

Stimulus: I've missed the last train.

 Response:   How are you 'going to 'get  HOME?

G e n e r a l   Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: insistent, dispassionate, e. g:

 Stimulus: He explained the new method to me.

 Response: But    do you 'really UNDER STAND it?

I m p e r a t i v e

 Attitude: firm, serious, dispassionate, e. g:

 Stimulus: How much practice shall I do?

 Response:     Do as 'much as   POSSIBLE.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: unemotional, e. g:

 Stimulus: They asked us to tea.

 Response:    How 'perfectly  CHARMING of them!

Patten Three: (Low Pre-Head +) High (Medium) Level Head + Low Fall (+Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: categoric, judicial, considered, e. g:

 Stimulus: Why did they run away?

 Response: They just      couldn't face up the financial  DIFFICULTIES.

S p e c i a l   Q u e s t i o n

 Attitude: searching, serious, intense, urgent, e. g:

 Stimulus: Sorry I wasn't able to come.

 Response: But     why didn't you say you were  BUSY?

G e n e r a l   Q u e s t i o n

 Attitude: serious, urgent, e. g:

 Stimulus: It was quite an experience.

 Response: But can you      really say you EN JOYED the performance?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: very serious and strong, e. g:

 Stimulus: Do you think he's serious?

 Response: Take the     whole thing with a pinch of  SALT.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: very strong, e. g:

 Stimulus: He's won the first prize.

 Response: What's an as   tounding bit of   LUCK!

Pattern Four: (Low Pre-Head +)  Low-Level Head + Low Fall (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: cool, calm, phlegmatic, reserved, grim, surly, e. g:

 Stimulus: What would you like for lunch?

 Response: I     can't make 'up my 'mind  WHAT to have.

S p e c i a l   Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: detached, reserved, flat unsympathetic, hostile, e. g:

 Stimulus: I've lost my invitation.

 Response:    How did you 'manage to 'do  THAT?

G e n e r a l   Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: detached, phlegmatic, reserved, e. g:

 Stimulus: I can't find my key anywhere.

 Response: Have you    looked in the  DINING- room?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: unemotional, calm, controlled, cold, e.g:

 Stimulus: Peter was very rude to me.

 Response:  Don't take 'any  NOTICE of him.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: calm, unsurprised, reserved, self-possessed, e. g:

 Stimulus: I'll give it to you next month.

 Response: A    lot of 'use it'll 'be  THEN!

Pattern Five: (Low Pre-Head+) Stepping Head + Low Fall (+Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: categoric, considered, judicial, weighty, edifying, often impatient, e. g:

 Stimulus: What would you do?

 Response: I'm afraid I've    nothing 'more to SU GGEST.

S p e c i a l   Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: searching, serious, intense, responsible, weighty, impatient, irritable, e. g:

 Stimulus: Give me your pen please.

 Response:    Why don't you 'buy 'one of your  OWN?

G e n e r a l   Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: very insistent and ponderous, e. g:

 Stimulus: Let's go now.

 Response:      Don't you 'think it would be 'better to  WAIT a  bit?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: firm, serious, considered, weighty, pressing, edifying, often impatient, e. g:

 Stimulus: Here's cheque from them.

 Response:    Send it 'back to those 'awful' people IM MEDIATELY.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: very weighty and emphatic, e. g:

 Stimulus: He's just made another appointment.

 Response: What a    pity we  'didn't  'ring him  YESTERDAY!

Pattern Six: (Low Pre-Head +) Sliding Head + Low Fall (+Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: concern, personal involvement, e. g:

 Stimulus: You never lose your temper, do you?

 Response: I'm    not in the     habit of  DOING  so.

S p e c i a l   Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: interest, personal participation, e. g:

 Stimulus: The meeting is very important.

 Response:    When is the    meeting     due to take  PLACE?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: personal concern, e. g:

 Stimulus: You've a lecture at five.

 Response: Well     don't for get to RE MIND a bout it.

Pattern Seven: (Low Pre-Head +)  Scandent Head + Low Fall (+ Tail)

Attitude: self-satisfied, playful, joyful, delighted, e. g:

 Stimulus: What do you think of it?

 Response:    This is 'simply  WONDERFUL.

 Stimulus: He agreed to the scheme.

 Response: Well,    how did you ex'pect him to RE ACT?

E x c l a m a t i o n

 Stimulus: This is where I live.

 Response:   What a 'pretty  'little  HOUSE!

Pattern Eight: High Pre-Nucleus + Low Fall (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: very emotional and emphatic, e. g:

 Stimulus: Do you think he can do it?

 Response:  I'm  SURE he can

S p e c i a l   Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: very emotional, emphatic, serious, e. g:

 Stimulus: They won't go there.

 Response:   Why  NOT  for  heaven's  sake?

G e n e r a l   Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: insistent, serious, doubtful, e .g:

 Stimulus: I've forgotten to tell her.

 Response:   Does it   MATTER   all that   much?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: insistent, serious, e. g:

 Stimulus:  Hurry up, please.

 Response:    Don't  RUSH me.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: very emotional and emphatic, e. g:

 Stimulus:  Here's a letter from him.

 Response:     Good  GRACIOUS!


Pattern One: (Low Pre-Nucleus +) High Fall (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: personal concern or involvement, interested, e. g:

 Stimulus: You ought to write him a letter.

 Response: I IN TEND to.

S p e c i a l   Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: interested, business-like, e. g:

 Stimulus: I'm sure I brought my umbrella.

 Response: Where  IS it, then?

G e n e r a l   Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: mildly surprised acceptance of the listener's premises, e. g:

 Stimulus: He's seventy.

 Response:  IS he?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: warm, often with a note of critical surprise, e. g:

 Stimulus: I'm very sorry.

 Response: FOR GET it.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: rather emotional and emphatic, e. g:

 Stimulus: He says it's your fault.

 Response: What  NONSENSE!

Pattern Two:  (Low Pre-Head +)  Falling Head + High Fall (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: final, categoric, complete, definite, involved, e. g:

 Stimulus: It's his turn now.

 Response: I     quite 'thought it was  MINE.

S p e c i a l   Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: categoric, serious, interested, e. g:

 Stimulus: He came to London yesterday.

 Response:    How long is he 'staying  UP here?

G e n e r a l   Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: insistent, willing to discuss, e. g:

 Stimulus: No that's quite the wrong one.

 Response: Does it     really 'make 'very much  DIFFERENCE?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: firm, serious, concerned, e. g:

 Stimulus: I'm going to put "Othello" on.

 Response:  But     think of 'all the  DIFFICULTIES.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: rather emphatic, e. g:

 Stimulus: I can't play. I've hurt my knee.

 Response:   Better  'luck next  TIME!

Pattern Three: (Low Pre-Head +)  High (Medium) Level Head + High Fall (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: conveying a sense of involvement, light, airy, e. g:

 Stimulus: What was the weather like?

 Response: I    thought it was going to  RAIN.  |  But it    turned out  FINE ,after ,all.

S p e c i a l   Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: brisk, lively, interested, not unfriendly, e. g:

 Stimulus: I walked there.

 Response:    Why didn't you go by  BUS?

G e n e r a l   Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: willing to discuss but not urgently, e. g:

 Stimulus: We should have invited Alice.

 Response: Isn't that e   xactly what I   TOLD you?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: suggesting a course of action and  not worrying about being obeyed, e. g:

 Stimulus: I'll be too busy to phone you.

 Response:    Drop me a  LINE then.

E x  c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: mildly surprised, e. g:

 Stimulus: He's sold his car.

 Response: What an extra    ordinary thing to  DO!

Pattern Four:  (Low Pre-Head +) Rising Head + High Fall (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: querulous or disgruntled protest, e. g:

 Stimulus: He says he knows nothing about it.

 Response: I dis   tinctly re'member  TELLING him.

S p e c i a l   Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: unpleasantly surprised, e. g :

 Stimulus: It's his turn to pay.

 Response:   How did you 'make  THAT out?

G e n e r a l   Q u e s t i on

Attitude:  Willing to discuss though somewhat impatient that such discussion should be necessary, e. g:

 Stimulus: I can't meet you this week.

 Response:   Shall  we 'leave it till  NEXT week?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: conveying a note of critical surprise, e. g:

 Stimulus: What I am to do?

 Response:    Tell him e'xactly what you  THINK.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: affronted surprise, e. g:

 Stimulus: I can take you out tonight.

 Response:   What a      pity you 'didn't  'say so  SOONER!

Pattern Five: (Low Pre-Head +) Stepping Head + High Fall (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: personal concern or involvement, warm, rather weighty and edifying, e. g:

 Stimulus: How far is it?

 Response:   All de'pends 'which way you  GO.

S p e c i a l   Q u e s t i o n s

Attitude: interested, brisk, business-like, considerate, e. g:

 Stimulus: Here's single third-class ticket.

 Response:    What's the  'difference between 'that and a 'FIRST  class?

G e n e r a l    Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: mildly surprised acceptance of the listener's premises. willing to discus, sometimes sceptical, e. g:

 Stimulus: I don't think we can do it today.

 Response:   Couldn't we 'leave it till  FRIDAY,  then?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: suggesting a course of action, weighty, edifying, e. g:

 Stimulus: I've got a splitting headache.

 Response: Then for    heaven's sake 'go and lie  DOWN.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: mildly surprised, rather weighty, e. g :

 Stimulus: I've got hold of a crib.

 Response:    Much 'good may it  DO you!

Pattern Six: (Low Pre-Head +)  Sliding Head (High Falls) + High Fall (+ Tail)

 The attitudes are basically the same as those conveyed by Pattern Five but emphasis is intensified.

S t a t e m e n t

 Stimulus:  I'm afraid, this is beyond me.

 Response: It's   not as   complicated as you'd  THINK.

S p e c i a l   Q u e s t i o n

 Stimulus: I'm leaving tomorrow.

 Response: How    long d'you in tend being A WAY?

G e n e r a l   Q u e s t i o n

 Stimulus:  I can't find my books anywhere.

 Response: Are you   sure you didn't    leave them, at  HOME?

I m p e r a t i v e

Stimulus: How many can I take?

 Response:    Take as 'many as you  LIKE.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Stimulus: It's my birthday today.

 Response:     Very many    happy RE TURNS!

Pattern Seven: (Low Pre-Head +)  Climbing Head + High Fall (+Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: protesting, as if suffering under a sense of injustice, e. g:

 Stimulus: What's the matter?

 Response: I      haven't the     foggiest  NOTION.  |  I'm     just as sur  prised as  YOU are.

S p e c i a l    Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: unpleasantly surprised, protesting, e. g:

 Stimulus: They won't be able to do it.

 Response: But     what are your      reasons for     thinking  THAT?

G e n e r a l    Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: willing to discuss but protesting the need for settling a crucial point, e. g:

 Stimulus: I'll write to him tomorrow.

 Response:    Can't you   write to him  TO DAY?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: recommending a course of action but with a note of critical surprise, e. g:

 Stimulus: What shall I say?

 Response:    Don't say    anything at  ALL.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: protesting, surprised, e. g:

 Stimulus: He says he won't agree.

 Response: What an ex   traordinary    thing to  DO?

Pattern Eight: (Low Pre-Head +)  Scandent Head + High Fall (+Tail)

S p e c i a l    Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: smug, very playful, enthusiastic, e. g:

 Stimulus: I'm going to try again.

 Response: What     ever do you 'hope to 'gain  by  'THAT?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: smug, very playful and lively, e. g:

Stimulus: The thing's useless.

Response:    Take it 'back there and  CHANGE it,  then.

Pattern Nine: High Pre-Nucleus +High Fall  (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: personal concern or involvement, interested, light, warm, lively, e. g:

 Stimulus: Would you like to join us?

 Response:    I'd simply   LOVE to.

S p e c i a l     Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: lively, interested, brisk, business-like, e. g:

 Stimulus: I said nothing of the kind.

 Response:    What  DID you say then?

G e n e r a l    Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: mildly surprised acceptance of the listener's premises willing to discuss, sometimes sceptical, e. g:

 Stimulus: He said he knew nothing about it.

Response:    Oh   DID he?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: suggesting a course of action, warm, e. g:

 Stimulus: I can't do it.

 Response:   Try once  MORE then.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: mildly surprised, very emotional. e. g:

 Stimulus: She's won the bet.

 Response:  HUR`RAY!


Pattern One: (Low Pre-Nucleus +) Rise-Fall (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: impressed, awed, complacent, e. g:

  Stimulus: You can take any book you like.

 Response: I ^KNOW I can.

S p e c i a l    Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: challenging, e. g:

  Stimulus: You must do it.

  Response: Why ^ME?

General Question

Attitude: impressed, e. g:

 Stimulus: He knows all about it.

 Response: Oh ^DOES he?


 Attitude: disclaiming responsibility, e. g:

 Stimulus: May I take this chair?

  Response: Yes, ^DO.


Attitude: impressed, e. g:

 Stimulus: He is coming home tomorrow.

 Response: How ^MARVELLOUS!

Pattern Two: (Low Pre-Head +1 Falling Head + Rise-Fall (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

 Attitude: impressed, awed, complacent, self-satisfied. smug, e. g:

 Stimulus: What about his apples?

 Response: I've    never seen 'anything  ^LIKE them.

S p e c i a l    Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: challenging, disclaiming responsibility, e. g:

 Stimulus: I don't think he knows yet.

 Response:    Why not 'write and  ^WARN him?

G e n e r a l     Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: impressed, challenging, e. g:

 Stimulus: Shall we go now?

 Response:    Wouldn't it be 'wiser to ^WAIT a while?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: shrugging off responsibility, refusing to be embroiled, e. g:

Stimulus: We must ask Jim.

Response: Well  go a'head and ^ASK him.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: greatly impressed, e. g:

 Stimulus: Many happy returns of the day!

 Response: How    very 'nice of you to RE ^MEMBER!

Pattern Three: (Low High Pre-Head +I High (Medium) Level Head + Rise-Fall (+ Tail)


Pattern Four: (Low/Pre-Head +) Stepping Head + Rise-Fall (+Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: impressed. complacent, challenging, censorious, disclaiming responsibility, e. g:  Stimulus: I'm sure he'll agree.

Response:    That's what ^YOU think.

S p e c i a l    Q u e s t i o n

 Attitude: challenging, antagonistic, disclaiming responsibility, e. g:

 Stimulus: I think, it's worse than useless.

 Response:     Who 'asked for ^YOUR advice?

G e n e r a l    Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: impressed, challenging, antagonistic, e. g:

Stimulus: You are not going to help him, are you?

 Response: Is there     any 'reason 'why I  ^SHOULD?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: refusing to be embroiled, sometimes hostile. e. g:

Stimulus: I'm going to risk it anyway.

Response:    Don't 'say I 'didn't ^WARN you, then.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: greatly impressed by something not entirely expected; sometimes a hint of accusation, e. g:

Stimulus: She's just had triplets.

Response:    Good ^HEAVENS!


Pattern One: (Low Pre-Nucleus +) Low Rise (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: encouraging further conversation, guarded, e. g:

 Stimulus: Can he play chess?

 Response: He  CAN.

S p e c i a l    Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: wondering, mildly puzzled, e. g:

 Stimulus: He lives in that house.

 Response: In  WHICH house?

G e n e r a l     Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: somewhat sceptical. e. g:

Stimulus: It's going to rain.

Response: Do you  THINK so?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: encouraging further conversation; appealing to the listener to change his mind, e. g:

Stimulus: I've a confession to make.

Response: Go  ON.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: calm, casual acknowledgement. e. g:

 Stimulus: Shall we meet at five?

 Response: All  RIGHT!

Pattern Two: (Low Pre-Head +) Falling Head + Low Rise (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: non-final, non-categoric, lacking definiteness and completeness. e. g:

Stimulus: When will they be back, do you think?

Response: They'll be     back by 'nine O CLOCK.

S p e c i a l    Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: non-categoric, interested, mildly puzzled, e. g:

Stimulus: I'll never be ready by Sunday.

Response:    Why don't you 'let  ME  give you a  hand?

G e n e r a l    Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: conveying polite interest, e. g:

Stimulus: He has just published a new book on physics.

Response: Can you    tell me the e'xact 'title of this BOOK?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: non-final, non-categoric, friendly, e. g:

 Stimulus: What a delicious cake!

 Response:    Let me 'give you A NOTHER one.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: light, friendly, e. g:

Stimulus: He'll be home at five.

Response:    Thank you for 'letting me  KNOW.

Pattern Three: (Low Pre-Head +) High (Medium) Level Head + Low Rise (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: soothing, reassuring, e. g:

Stimulus: I am sorry about it.

Response: It      doesn't   MATTER.  |  We       all make mistakes   SOMETIME.

S p e c i a l     Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: establishing a bond with the listener, showing that it is a friendly enquiry and not an attempt to pry, e. g:

Stimulus: Alfred is on the phone.

Response: Who does he want to  SPEAK to?

G e n e r a l    Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: interested, e. g:

Stimulus: My sister lives in Scotland.

Response: Does she    ever come to   ENGLAND?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: non-purposeful, non-insistent, encouraging, e. g:

Stimulus: How shall I do it?

Response:     Let me   SHOW you.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: airy, casual, e. g:

Stimulus: I'll see you tomorrow.

Response:     Right you  ARE!

Pattern Four (Low Pre-Head +) Low Level Head + Low Rise (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: encouraging further conversation, guarded, reserving judgement, appealing to the listener to change his mind, reprovingly critical, resentful, deprecatory, e. g:

Stimulus: You simply must go.

Response: I     don't  'see why I   SHOULD.

S p e c i a l    Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: wondering, mildly puzzled; very calm but disapproving and resentful, even menacing, e. g:

Stimulus: Get out of here.

Response: Just    who do you 'think you are  TALKING to?

G e n e r a l     Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: disapproving, sceptical, e. g:

Stimulus: But what will Peter say?

Response: Do you       think I 'care what  HE says?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: reprovingly critical, deprecatory, resentful, calmly warning, exhortative, e. g:

Stimulus: How much can he give you?

Response: Mind your 'own   BUSINESS.

E x c l a m a t i on

Attitude: reserving judgement; calm, casual acknowledgement, e. g:

Stimulus: I pulled it off.

Response:    Good for   YOU!

Pattern Five: (Low Pre-Head +) Stepping Head + Low Rise (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: soothing, reassuring, hint of great self-confidence and self-reliance, e. g:

Stimulus: When will you give it back?

Response: I'll re    turn it without 'fail at the 'week-  END.

S p e c i a l    Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: sympathetically interested; puzzled; disapproving, e. g:

 Stimulus: I used to live here.

 Response: And     where do you 'live   NOW?

G e n e r a l    Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: genuinely interested, e. g:

Stimulus: It was her birthday party.

 Response:    Did you 'bring her a  PRESENT?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: soothing, encouraging, calmly patronising, e. g:

 Stimulus: I can't carry all that.

 Response: Well then,    carry as 'much as you  CAN.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: airy, encouraging, bright, friendly, e. g:

 Stimulus: In going to the party.

 Response:     Have a 'good   TIME!

Pattern Six: (Low Pre-Head +) Scandent Head + Low Rise (+ Tail)


Pattern Seven: High Pre-Nucleus + Low Rise (+ Tail)

The attitudes are basically the same as those conveyed by Patterns 1-3, but the meaning is intensified.

S t a t e m e n t

 Stimulus: I'm afraid to fall.

 Response: You'll be     safe e'nough if you 'don't look  DOWN.

S p e c i a l     Q u e s t i o n

Stimulus: I wouldn't dream of doing there.

Response: Why  NOT?

G e n e r a l      Q u e s t i o n

Stimulus: She'll be back later.

Response:    Could I 'leave a   MESSAGE for her?

I m p e r a t i v e

 Stimulus: What a nasty cold day.

 Response:     Cheer   UP.

E x c l a m a t i o n

 Stimulus: I've lost my invitation.

 Response:     IN  DEED!



Pattern One: (Low Pre-Nucleus +) High (Medium) Rise (+ Tail)

S p e c i a l      Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: calling for a repetition of information already given, e. g:

Stimulus: He'll meet us at five.

Response: At   WHAT time?

G e n e r a l      Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: echoing the listener's question, e. g:

Stimulus: Do you want to do it?

Response: Do I  WANT to do it?

Pattern Two: (Low or High Pre-Head +) High (Medium) Level Head + High (Medium) Rise 1+ Tail)

S p e c i a l       Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: calling for a repetition of information already given; tentative, light, e. g:

Stimulus: He is sitting on the carver.

 Response:    On   WHAT?

G e n e r a l       Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: echoing the listener's question, more airy and bright, e. g:

 Stimulus: Could she help do you think?

 Response:     Could she   HELP?

Pattern Three: (Low Pre-Head +) Rising Head + High (Medium) Rise (+ Tail).

S p e c i a l     Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: unpleasantly surprised, puzzled, sometimes disapproving, e. g:

 Stimulus: They behaved like a couple of stuffed dummies.

 Response: They be    haved like a 'couple of    WHAT?

G e n e r a l      Q u e s t i o n

Attitude: unpleasantly surprised, puzzled, often disapproving, disbelieving and threatening,

e. g:

 Stimulus: Shouldn't he go there immediately?

 Response:     Shouldn't he 'go there IM MEDIATELY?

Pattern Four: (Low Pre-Head +) Climbing Head + High (Medium) Rise (+ Tail).

The attitudes are basically the same as those conveyed by Pattern Three but the meaning is intensified.

S p e c i a l      Q u e s t i o n

 Stimulus: Why didn't you write to the ministry?

 Response:     Why didn't I        write to the   MINISTRY?

G e n e r a l      Q u e s t i o n

 Stimulus: He says he'll never come back.

 Response: You      think he      really   MEANS it  this  time?


Pattern One: (Low Pre-Nucleus +) Fall-Rise (+ Tail).

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: contradicting, correcting, grudgingly admitting, e. g:

Stimulus: It didn't take you long.

Response: It    DID.

S p e c i a l    a n d     G e n e r a l     Q u e s t i o n s

Attitude: interested, surprised, e. g:

Stimulus: Let's walk to the station.

Response: How   FAR   is it?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: warning, e. g:

Stimulus: I'm going to talk to her.

Response: Oh,    DON'T.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: correcting, scornful, e. g:

Stimulus: He'll probably give him the money.

Response: Not  LIKE  LY!

Pattern Two: (Low Pre-Head +) Falling Head +Fall-Rise (+ Tail) 

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: grudgingly admitting, reluctantly or defensively dissenting, concerned, reproachful, hurt/ reserved, tentatively suggesting, e. g:

 Stimulus: I'm sure he won't do it.

 Response: He     hasn't  'definitely RE  FUSED.

S p e c i a l     a n d      G e n e r a l    Q u e s t i o n s

Attitude: greatly astonished, interested, concerned, e. g:

 Stimulus: It'll never be ready in time.

 Response: But     why didn't you 'tell him   EVERY THING?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: urgently warning with a note or reproach or concern, e. g:

 Stimulus: But I must go.

 Response: Well     don't say I 'didn't   WARN    you.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: correcting, scornful, e. g:

 Stimulus: The weather was terrible, I'm sorry to say.

 Response:     What a disap'pointment for your    SON!

Pattern Three: (Low Pre-Head +) High (Medium) Level Head + High Fall + Rise (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: appealing to the listener to continue with the topic of conversation; expressing gladness, regret, surprise, e. g:

 Stimulus: What about approaching Tom?

 Response: I     hadn't   THOUGHT of   asking   HIM.

S p e c i a l     a n d      G e n e r a l      Q u e s t i o n s

Attitude: very emotive, e. g:

 Stimulus: What does he really think about it?

 Response:     How am I to   KNOW what he 'really  THINKS?

 Stimulus: What about Monday then?

 Response:     Haven't  I AL  READY said I'm booked   UP on Monday?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: reassuring, pleading, e. g:

 Stimulus: I'm sorry about it.

 Response: Now     don't take it   TOO much to  HEART.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: sympathetic, encouraging, e. g:

 Stimulus: He said he'll ruin them.

 Response:     What a   TERRIBLE   thing to   SAY!

Pattern Four: (Low Pre-Head +) Sliding Head (High Falls) + Low or High Fall + Rise (+ Tail)

S t a t e m e n t

Attitude: persuasively reassuring, plaintive, pleading, apologetic, regretful, appreciative, e. g:

 Stimulus: Why are you in such a hurry?

 Response: I'm     due to meet my      mother at VICTORIA in   ten    minutes'   TIME.

S p e c i a l     a n d      G e n e r a l     Q u e s t i o n s

Attitude: plaintive, pleading, despairing, long-suffering, warm, e. g:

 Stimulus: He knows what happened.

 Response:     Who on    earth could have   TOLD him the   STORY?

 Stimulus: What are you looking for?

 Response:     Have you     seen my   CHEQUE book   ANYWHERE?

I m p e r a t i v e

Attitude: plaintively or reproachfully pleading, persuading, e. g:

 Stimulus: What's all that fuss about?

Response: For   heaven's   sake   DON'T just   SIT there.

E x c l a m a t i o n

Attitude: intensely encouraging, appreciative, protesting, e. g:

 Stimulus: This is from my Uncle John.

 Response: How     kind of him to     give you such a MAG  NIFICENT   PRESENT!

Pattern Five: High Pre-Nucleus + High Fall + Rise (+ Tail)

The attitudes are basically the same as those conveyed by Pattern One, but the meaning is intensified.

S t a t e m e n t

 Stimulus: This is mine, isn't it?

 Response:       The    BLUE one's   YOURS.

S p e c i a l     a n d      G e n e r a l     Q u e s t i o n s

 Stimulus: He's always late.

 Response:    Yes   WHAT'S the   TIME, please?

 Stimulus: Perhaps I could do it.

 Response:     Well  DO you  think you   COULD?

I m p e r a t i v e

 Stimulus: I'm sorry.

 Response:      Now   SAY it as if you   MEANT it.

E x c l a m a t i o n

 Stimulus: He's failed again.

 Response:      Oh,    POOR old  Peter!


Pattern One: (Low Pre-Nucleus +) Mid-Level (+ Tail) or

Pattern Two: (Low Pre-Head +) High (Medium) Level Head + Mid-Level (+ Tail) 

Attitude: conveying the impression of non-finality, expectancy, hesitation; sometimes calling out to someone as from a distance, e. g:

S t a t e m e n t

 Stimulus: I thought they all knew.

 Response: >JOHN says  |  he knew     nothing A BOUT it.  

S p e c i a l    Q u e s t i o n

 Stimulus: What a horrible situation!

 Response: As a >FRIEND  |     what do you ad vise me to   DO?

G e n e r a l     Q u e s t i o n

 Stimulus: It doesn't matter.

 Response: D'you  >MEAN that |  or are you      just being   NICE a bout it?

I m p e r a t i v e

 Stimulus: What about Peter?

 Response:      Ring him >UP  |  and     tell him we shan't be   NEEDING him.

E x c l a m a t i o n

 Stimulus: He's gone at last.

 Response: Yes    good-> BYE and     good   RIDDANCE!

Intonation groups may be any length within normal physiological limits. But there is a strong tendency to keep them short, to break up potentially lengthy intonation groups wherever possible. This tendency is carried to the extremes when the intensity of excitation is the greatest. For instance, in the attitudinal con-text of 'irritation' optional internal boundaries are introduced starting at clause level and continuing downwards, depending on the degree of irritation present, up to and including the morphemic level.

| We gave him | a lift | on Sunday |

| We | gave him | a lift | on Sunday |

| We | gave | him | a | lift | on | Sunday |

Informal conversation is characterised by the frequency of silence for purposes of contrastive pause, as opposed to its being required simply for breath-taking. Pauses are brief and there is a large number of cases when intonation groups and sentences are not separated by any kind of pause, tonal differences being the only indications of their boundaries. The frequent absence of end-of-utterance pause can be interpreted in terms of inter-sentence linkage or it may be due to nature of the interchange, i.e. the rapid taking-up of cues.

This style of speech is also characterised by the absence of stable pattern of tempo and rhythm. Generally, the speed of utterance is quite fast, but there is no conventional pressure for conversational speed to be regular. It depends to a large extent on the fluency of a speaker, on his familiarity with the topic being talked about, on his experience as a 'conversationalist', and so on.

One of the most essential distinctive features of informal spontaneous conversation is the occurrence of the entire range of hesitation phenomena. Eight types of events fall in this category: (a) hesitation pauses, comprising unfilled (silent, voiceless), filled (voiced) and mixed varieties;

(b) hesitant drawls, i. e. lengthening of sounds, syllables and words;

(c) repetitions of syllables and words;

(d) false starts to words, followed by self-corrections;

(e) re-starting a construction or a sentence to conform more to what the speaker wants to say;

(f) unfinished intonation groups, often accompanied by reduced loudness of the voice;

(g) fillers-in, such as well, and, you see, you know, in fact, etc.;

(h) random vocalisations and such 'phonetic oddities' as clicks, trills. intakes of breath, etc.

Hesitation phenomena with the co-occurring facial expressions, gestures and so on are of primary significance in determining the acceptability or otherwise of conversation. Perfect fluency tends to produce the wrong effect. These features, however, are regularly omitted in written representation of conversation, that is, in novels or dramatic dialogue.

 Phonetics of conversation also involves attention to such phenomena as sound symbolism (eg brrr, bo, whoosh), artificial clearing of the throat or coughing for purposes of irony, various snorts and sniffs to communicate disgust and other attitudes.

As a specific type of linguistic activity spontaneous conversation is characterised by randomness of subject-matter and a general lack of conscious planning. This results in a high proportion of 'errors', involving hesitation features of all kinds, frequent switches in modality, apparent ambiguities, incompleteness of many utterances. Deficiencies of conversation are made up for by the co-occurring situational information and by the permanent possibility of recapitulation upon request of the listener.

Moreover, when studying this type of dialogue, it should be borne in mind that all levels of analysis provide important information about the character of the variety. At the grammatical level informal conversation displays the following characteristics. Sentence length is relatively short and the structure is pre-dominantly simple. However, the grammatical delimination of sentences presents certain difficulties, especially due to the frequent absence of intersentence pauses and loose coordination. So the term 'utterance' is preferable here. The notion subsumes any stretch of speech preceded and followed by a change of speaker. Thus, conversation progresses more in a series of loosely coordinated sentence-like structures than in a series of sharply defined sentences. The most noticeable aspect of informal conversation is its vocabulary. Words tend to be very simple in structure, specialised terms and formal phraseology are generally avoided, and when they are used, their force is usually played down by the speaker through the use of hesitation. The lack of precision in the matter of word-selection is not important, any lexical item may be re-placed by words like what-do-you-call-it, you-know-what-I-mean, thingummy, which function as nouns.

 The following dialogue, obtained through the technique of surreptitious recording, provides a reliable sample of spontaneous informal conversation:

 A: You got a 'COLD?

 B:  NO,    just a    bit 'SNIFFY,     cos I'm | I 'AM  COLD    and I'll     be all 'right 'once I've 'warmed  UP. | Do I  LOOK as  though I've  got a 'COLD?

 A No I     thought you  SOUNDED as if you were.

 B:  M.  

 A:    Pull your  CHAIR up  close if you  WANT.    >Is it...

 B:  YES,      I'll be all      right in a MINUTE     it's >just that I'm...

 A:   What have you  GOT?

 B: STUPID, I had   a    about    five 'thousand BOOKS  | to     take  'back to  'senate  HOUSE  YESTERDAY | and I got     all the 'way through the  COLLEGE    >to          where the  CAR was     at the      parking meter at the  OTHER end     and I    realised I'd 'left my 'COAT   in my  LOCKER      and I >just couldn't...

A: M.

  B: FACE      going     all the way  BACK again     with > this great...   you know my  ARMS were  aching.

 A: M.

 B: And I  >thought   WELL     I'll    get it on  TUESDAY | it's a bit  SILLY,    'cos I  NEED it.

  A:  M    it's    gone very  COLD      HASN'T it?

B:  M |||  it's   FREEZING.

  (D. Crystal and D. Davy. "Investigating English Style")

We shall conclude the discussion of spontaneous informal conversation by examining the kind of dialogue occurring in a telephone situation, in which the participants are not visible to each other. To begin with, there is a very close linguistic similarity between telephone and non-telephone conversational situations in the sense that the kind of linguistic features is essentially the same. However, the range of these features is considerably diminished in a telephone conversation. This is due to the fact that the participants cannot rely on extralinguistic context to resolve ambiguities in speech. Moreover, the quality of the medium of transmission necessitates greater explicitness, for example, having to spell out words because of the distortion of certain sounds. There is also a tendency to avoid long unfilled pauses, since anything approaching silence can be interpreted as a breakdown of communication with the resulting 'Hello?' or 'Are you there?'. But the percentage of filled hesitation pauses, and hesitation phenomena in general, is higher here than elsewhere. Besides, it is typical of the telephone situation that the listener is expected to confirm his continued interest and his continued auditory presence. As a result long utterances are avoided. Here is an extract to illustrate an informal telephone conversation: ( Only speaker 'B' was aware that a recording was being made.)

    A:    Highview double three for  FIVE.

    B: Good  MORNING.



A:  YES,    good  MORNING.

B:  Thi This is  ARTHUR  SPEAKNG.


B:   ^ SORRY,    I've   been so 'long in 'getting in  TOUCH  with you     I    rang a   COUPLE of time  YESTERDAY     and you   weren't  IN.

A:  No,    I was in  COLLEGE  yesterday.

B: You  WERE.

A:  YES and I...

B: A HA.

A:    Thought that might  HAPPEN   but     not to    WORRY.      What I wanted to say to you  REALLY    was  [əm]  I    didn't know  whether you were >going to say   that you    could come or  COULDN'T    but  I was   going to 'say 'could you 'make it the  FOLLOWING  Saturday.

B:     ɜ:       YES, well |  ONE    I was   going to >say that I     that we  WERE  COMING.

A:  Yes,      SPLENDID.

B: And  TWO    we  CAN make it the following   Saturday.

   (D. Crystal and D. Davy. "Investigating English Style")

Lastly, it is noteworthy that both the joke and the short story may include spoken monologue to be uttered as if dialogue, various stylized devices such as different accents, tonal connectives, pauses and vocal effects being adopted to indicate the change of speaker, transitions from scene to scene or act to act, etc.

Intonational styles and modification of sounds in connected speech

Although intonation is superimposed or phonemes, there is no one-for-one correlation between intonational styles and modification of sounds in connected speech. The difficulties correlating the occurrence of stylistic variants of phonemes with intonation has hindered up to the present a satisfactory description of phonetic styles as such.

With reference to the degree of carefulness with which words are pronounced, distinction can be made between elaborated (explicit) and restricted (elliptical) codes in English. The temporal component of intonation is primarily responsible for the differences. The elaborated code is characterized by a tendency to avoid vowel reduction, loss of consonants and non-obligatory assimilations, that is to say, strong forms of words are preferred. However in certain types of linguistic activity the less extreme of the available weak forms and some of the commoner elisions may be found, e.g. reading aloud dialogic literary texts. In restricted code no strong forms are used where weak forms are possible and some extreme weak forms occur, elisions and assimilations abound.

Informational, scientific, declamatory and publicistic styles are invariably associated with the elaborated code, while familiar style is related to the restricted code. However within the scope of declamatory style sometimes both codes may be found, as in the case of stage speech.

It is to be remembered that, although the elaborated code is to be mastered first by foreign students, the restricted code is not to be neglected. The over-precise manner of articulation in a conversational situation tends to produce the wrong effect as it may be suggestive of irritation or pedantry.


1. Теоретическая фонетика английского языка: Учебник для студ. ин-тов и фак. иностр. яз./ М.А. Соколова, К.П. Гинтовт, И.С. Тихонова, Р.М. Тихонова. М.: Гуманит. изд. центр ВЛАДОС, 1996 - С. 135-246

2.Gimson A. Ch. Gimson's Pronunciation of English. Sixth Edition./Revised by Alan Cruttenden. - London, New York: Edward Arnold, 2001. - 339 p.

3. Pennington, Martha. Phonology in English Language Teaching: An International Approach. - London and New York: Longman, 1996.

4. Roach, Peter. English Phonetics and Phonology: A Practical Course. - Cambridge: Cambridge university press, 1995. - P. 133-178

5. Vassilyev, V.A. English Phonetics : A theoretical course. - Moscow: Higher School Publishing House, 1970. - P. 286-320.

 6. Антипова А.М. Система английской речевой интонации. М.: Высшая школа, 1985ю

7. Crystal D. Prosodic Systems and Intonations in English. Cambridge, 1969.

8. O'Connor J. D. Phonetics. London: Penguin, 1997.

9. Shakhbagova D. Varieties of English Pronunciation. M., 1982.

10. Wells, J.C. English Intonation. An introduction. Cambridge University Press, 2006..

11. Соколова М.А. Практическая фонетика английского языка. М.: Гуманит. изд. центр ВЛАДОС, 2001. - 384 с.


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