english tonality/tonicity

Download English tonality/tonicity

Post on 02-Jun-2018




1 download

Embed Size (px)


  • 8/10/2019 English tonality/tonicity




  • 8/10/2019 English tonality/tonicity



    Intonation is the melody of speech. This means that the study of intonation is mainly concerned with the

    rising and falling of the pitch of the voice. The prosodic characteristics of speech are:

    PITCH (height of voice)



    Intonation is concerned only with the pitch changes within an utterance and is thus a narrower than

    prosody or suprasegmentals. Speech without intonation does not exist (language without intonation sound

    literally inhuman giving a robot-like effect). Intonation is an integral part of any language therefore part

    of the linguistic study. Intonation helps convey linguistic and pragmatic meaning it is a bridge between

    grammar and meaning. It is important in communication because it provides additional meaning to what

    is supplied by the words themselves (It wasnt so much what they said, but how they said it). Intonation

    varies considerably from one language to another.

    Intonation roughly performs 4 functions (has 4 different meanings): Emotional colouring, attitude (pragmatic) - tone Conveys grammatical/syntactic structure of an utterance (e.g. statements vs. questions) Textual function / discourse function (how text, either written or spoken, are structured

    coherence, cohesion. In speech (especially spontaneous speech) intonation adds to theorganisation of a text)

    S i li i i ( h h i i f h k di l )

  • 8/10/2019 English tonality/tonicity


    Milk comes from cows. || Wool comes from sheep. two pieces of information

    Milk comes from cows, | and wool comes from sheep. = two IPs


    WhenIPs occur within a clause, phrase, word, or even syllable


    , orone IP covers more than 1 clause or sentence

    (division into IPs does not followthe division of clauses):

    Milk | comes from cows. I don't | like it. Bor | ing!

    Delicious, | cool | milk. Abso | lutely | de | licious!

    Marked tonality requires some sort of context.

    1.1 Ambiguous syntactic structures

    In certain cases the division into IPs can disambiguate the grammatical structure (the presence or absence

    of intonation breaks signals the syntactic structure of a sentence).

    Help keep the dog off! Help! | Keep the dog off! What's that in the road ahead? What's that in the road? || A head? Do you like paw

    paw? -I'm sorry, || I don't know. I'm sorry, || I don't, || no. You can have cheese, | salad | or quiche. You can have cheese salad | or quiche. This will give teachers time | to prepare and mark work. This will give teachers time to prepare |

    d k k

  • 8/10/2019 English tonality/tonicity



    Tonality varies considerably according to the style of speech. Speakers can insert intonation breaks almost

    anywhere they want in order to make their message as clear as possible. However, there are some strong

    tendencies exerted by the grammar over tonality. Some components of syntactic structure are more likely

    than others to be made into separate IPs, set off by intonation breaks.

    General rule 1

    : intonation break after eachsentence

    || orclause


    When I cough, | it hurts my throat.

    First take the lid off, | and then unscrew the base. I'll tell you, | but you must keep it a secret.

    General rule 2

    : intonation breakanywhere

    to make thegrammatical structure clear

    He was looking up the street. (possibly ambiguous) He was looking | up the street. (direction) He was looking up | the street. (searching)

    2.1 Vocatives

    Vocatives are not an essential part of the clause structure (the clause would be grammatically complete

    even without them). This explains why under some circumstances they are given their own IP. Vocatives

    are treated differently depending on the position theyre in:

  • 8/10/2019 English tonality/tonicity


    Under the circumstances | we've got no choice.Technically | we have to reject it.

    In themiddle

    of a clause:may

    have their ownIP

    Well we could | this year | do something different.The rest of us, | unfortunately, | will have to accept it.

    At theend

    of a clause:

    Adverbs of manner: integrated into the clause structureShe dances beautifully.I just can't take him seriously.I'll pay you back soon.

    Sentence adverbials (adjuncts)

    that modify the whole clause or sentence: their own IPApparently, | she's getting divorced.I'm rather disappointed, | frankly.


    She talked to me honestly.(honestlymodifyingtalked= How did she talk to me?)

    She talked to me, | honestly.(honestlymodifyingShe talked to me= She DID talk to me, I assure you)

  • 8/10/2019 English tonality/tonicity


    2.4 Parallel structures

    With parallel words or phrases, there is likely to be an intonation break after each component if there aremore than two components or if the components are heavy. The decision whether to treat eachenumerated item on a list as a separate IP is to a large extent left to the speakers perception of the contextof interaction. If the parallel words or phrases are placed in contrast by the speaker, then they too are likelyto be separated by an intonation break.

    Parallel words and phrases:separate IP if emphasized

    I come on Mondays, | Wednesdays | and Fridays. (emphasis)

    I want to buy some fruit | some milk | and some bread. (emphasis)I can see a sort of tree | and the outline of a person. (emphasis)Im not going to repeat the mistake I made last time | this time. (contrast)

    Ambiguous; some coordinated structures are potentially ambiguous, and can optionally bedisambiguated by the insertion of an intonation break:

    old men and women (ambiguous: who is old?)old | men and women (= both are old)

    old men | and women (= men are old)

    Strings ofletters or numbers: one IP unless explicit/very clearA: How do you spell to seize?B: S, E, I, Z, E.

    A: What was that again?B: S, | E, | I, | Z, | E.

    With a string of letters or numbers there are equally two possibilities. If we think they will befamiliar with the hearer, or if there is no need to be particularly explicit, we run them together inthe same IP. If we think they may be unfamiliar to the hearer or need to be made especiallyclear, we can make the message easier for the hearer to process by placing an intonation breakafter each item,

  • 8/10/2019 English tonality/tonicity


    London and the southeast | will have showers. || The rest of the country | will be dry.

    2.7 Topics

    English has a fixed SVO (subject, verb, object) order of sentence elements. In this sequence the subject is

    the topic or theme, while the rest of the clause is the comment or rheme. Sometimes the context of

    interaction requires topicalization of other sentence elements, such as objects ot complements, which

    means that they occur in the initial position of the clause preceding the grammatical subject. All such

    instances require their own IP. In other words, a marked theme is always followed by an intonation break.

    Topical status of the subject & other sentence elements is signalled:

    In various syntactic ways

    By choosing an appropriate tone

    By giving it a separate IP

    Cleft & pseudo cleft structures

    As for Jeremy, | he can do what he likes. (subject)Martha | will have to wait. (subject)His rudeness | I shall ignore. || But his actions | I cannot forgive. (objects)More important | is the question of what we do next. (complement)I chose Veronica. (not cleft)

    It was Veronica that I chose. (cleft)It was Veronica | that I chose. (cleft, with focus on I for contrast between my and someone elses choice)

    Wh h d d l k | h ( d l f )

  • 8/10/2019 English tonality/tonicity


    Within each intonation break, we select one word as particularly important for the meaning. This is wherewe place the


    (or nuclear accent), the syllable that is more prominent than others and bear the

    nuclear tone. The syllable is made prominent thoughpitch change, extra length and loudness. The nucleus isthe syllable where one of five English tones is realized.

    The most important decision the speaker makes in selecting an intonation pattern is to decide where thenucleus goes: which is the word to be accented. In doing this the speaker chooses the tonicity of theintonation phrase. In an IP there may be other accents besides the nuclear accent. If so, the nucleus is thelast

    accent in the IP. Any other accents come earlier in the IP and are called prenuclear.

    Tonicity can be either: NEUTRAL tonicity means that the nucleus is places within the last lexical item in an intonation

    unit. This also implies, that the information of the whole intonation unit is in focus (=broadfocus)

    MARKED tonicity means that the nucleus is not placed within the last lexical item but within anitem which comes earlier in the intonation focus. In this case, only the section up to the nucleus is

    in focus (=narrow focus).


    In order for an IP to be neutral in tonicity, the nucleus should occur on the last lexical item. Content words: adjectives, lexical verbs, nouns, adverbs

    l l b d l b

  • 8/10/2019 English tonality/tonicity


    Im very annoyed with her.Ask her what that noise is.

    Function words

    : no N (=general