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The System of Scales

The Scale is a phonetic unit that begins with the head group and extends to the terminal tone.

Scales can be classified as follows:

1) According to the arrangement of unstressed syllables within stress-tone groups can be:

• Stepping

e.g. Our"classes be"gin at "three o’°clock.||

• Sliding

e.g. Our Ìclasses beÌgin at Ìthree o’°clock.||

• Scandent

e.g. Our Ëclasses beËgin at Ëthree o’°clock.||

2) According to the direction of the pitch movement the scales can be classified as:

The Descending Scale (Stepping, Sliding, Scandent)

e.g. He"promised to "be in°time.||

HeÌpromised toÌbe in°time.||

HeÍpromised to Íbe in°time.||

The Ascending Scale (Stepping, Sliding, Scandent)

e.g. He%promised to %be in°time.||

HeÌpromised toÌbe in°time.||

HeÍpromised to Íbe in°time.||

The Level Scale (Low, Mid, High)

e.g. He%promised to %come in°time.||

He%promised to"come in °time.||

He"promised to"come in°time.||

3) According to the regularity of their pitch movements scales can be:

• Regular

• Broken

e.g. He"promised to"come in ↑half an °hour.||

HeÌpromised toÌcome in ↑half an °hour.||

The function of the scale lies in the fact that it helps to convey different emotions. We can call this function attitudinal.

Scales in Detail

The Stepping Scale

1. The Regular Descending Stepping Scale is characterised by steplike descend of all stress-tone units. The head-unit of the contour takes the highest pitch. The unstressed syllables within every stress-tone unit are said on a level sequence.

The Regular Descending Stepping Scale is commonly used in descriptive prose and in monologue parts of a conversation. It can serve any communicative type of utterance. It sounds formal, businesslike, matter-of-fact.

e.g. I¤m a "first-year "student of the "English de°partment.||

The Regular Descending Stepping Scale can be combined with any of the six terminal tones.

2. The Broken Descending Stepping Scale

The Descending Stepping Scale can be broken on any important word (except the head one), which takes a higher pitch than the preceding stressed syllable. Then the step-like descend continues. This rise is called SPECIAL or ACCIDENTAL. It is used for several reasons:

• to avoid the monotony of a long syntagm:

e.g. I’m a "first-year "student of the ↑English de°partment.||

• to join short syntagms into longer ones:

e.g. To"morrow "morning we ↑ leave for °Kyiv.||

• to give special emphasis to an important word. There is a number of emotionally coloured words which are liable to take the Special Rise, they are: all, always, very, every, best, many, quite; all the numerals and so on.

e.g. Our "classes be"gin at ↑three in the "after°noon.||

NOTE. If the Special Rise is produced during the second accented word, the preceding stressed word takes a low-level or a mid-level pitch.



e.g Our can%teen is ↑always over°crowded.||

3. The Ascending Stepping Scale is characterised by the step-like ascend of all stress-tone units. The head-unit of the utterance takes the lowest pitch. The unstressed syllables within every stress-tone unit are said on a level sequence.

The High Level Prehead often precedes it. It can be used on any communicative type of utterance. It conveys displeasure, disgruntled protest, critical surprise.

e.g. I %thought per%haps you "might stay "up to Îsee her.|| (displeasure)

¯Are you %sure you %don’t "want to be a ælawyer, John?|| (critical surprise)

The Sliding Scale

In the Sliding Scale every stress-tone unit is said on a sliding sequence, the accented syllables take level pitches.

e.g. He Ìwrote a Ìletter on ÌMonday Îmorning.

Note. In monosyllabic stress-tone units the pitch slides during the syllable.

e.g. ÌMike Ìknows Îbetter.

The Slidindg Scale is often used in conversation.

It gives additional prominence to every accented word and sounds weighty and excited. It can be used in any communicative type of utterance, and can be combined with any terminal tone, but the preference is given to the Low Fall, High Fall and Fall-Rise. The High Descending Prehead often precedes it.

e.g. ÌMike Ìknows it °better.||

ÌMike Ìknows it Îbetter.||

ÌMike Ìknows ëbetter.||

According to its direction the Sliding Scale can be:

· The Descending Sliding Scale.

e.g. I had Ìsuch an exÌciting Ìafter°noon.||

· The Ascending Sliding Scale.

e.g. As a Ìmatter of Ìfact I’m Ìnearly Îsixty.||

· The Level Sliding Scale.

e.g. I Îdidn’t Ìfind the Ìshoes Îanywhere.||

According to its regularity the Sliding Scale can also be of two types:

· Regular

· Broken

e.g. ÌLong eÌnough to ↑soak us to the Îskin.||

He’s a Ìfirst-year Ìstudent of the ↑English de°partment.||

The Scandent Scale

In the Scandent Scale every stress-tone unit is said on an ascending sequence, the accented syllables taking level pitches. The high pre-head often begins it.

e.g. ¯It’s Ëreally Ëvery °funny.||

Note. In monosyllabic stress-tone units the pitch rises during the syllable.

e.g. ËI Ëhate Ëdoing °nothing.||

The Scandent Scale is used in colloquial speech. It sounds lively, playful, encouraging. Yet it may also convey surprise, irritation and even irony (together with the intensified stress and widened temporal range).

The Scandent Scale is used in any communicative type of utterance, giving it an emotional colouring. It can be combined with any terminal tone except for the Fall-Rise, but the preference is given to the Falling Tones. The High Level or High Ascending Pre-Heads often precede it.

e.g. ËThere is no Ëneed to Ëlose your ^temper.||

¯WherËever ™had it Îcome from.||

According to its direction the Scandent Scale can be:

· Descending

· Ascending

· Level

According to its regularity the Scandent Scale can be also of two types:

· Regular

· Broken

 

The Level Scale

The Level Scale according to its pitch can be of three types:

· The Low Level

· The High Level

· The Mid Level

According to the arrangement of unstressed syllables within every stress-tone unit the Level Scale can also be Sliding and Scandent.

In the Low Level Scale all the stress-tone units are said on a Low Pitch-Level. The unstressed syllables take the same pitch. The Low Level Scale can be combined with any simple terminal tone, but the preference is given to the Low Fall, the Low Rise, the Low Level Tone. It can be used in any communicative type of utterance. This Scale is characteristic of colloquial speech.

The Low Level Scale combined with the Low Fall sounds uninterested, phlegmatic or sometimes cool, and reserved (supported by the intensified stress and slowed tempo).

e.g. He %promised to %come in °time.|| (phlegmatic)

%Did he %promise to %come in °time?|| (reserved)

%Did he %promise to °come?|| (cool)

The Low Level Scale followed by the Low Rise sounds disapproving, skeptical and sometimes perfunctory.

e.g. %I can’t %give per%mission for ,that.|| (disapproving)

%Can you %give per%mission for ,that?|| (perfunctory)

%Who can %give per%mission for ,that? | (disapproving)

%Very %nice per,mission!|| (skeptical)

The Low Level Scale followed by the Low Level tone sounds pathetic (when it is supported by the increase in stress and a slow tempo). It is used in recitation.

In the High Level scale all the stress-tone units are said on a high pitch level, the unstressed syllables taking the same pitch. The High Level Scale can be combined with any simple terminal tone but the High Fall is most frequent. This intonation pattern is characteristic of emotional speech. It can be used in any communicative types of utterance. It sounds decisive, joyful or even irritable.

 

Terminal Tones

Nuclear tones that finish any syntagm according to their function can be terminal or non-terminal.

The terminal tone is variation in pitch produced during the final stress-tone unit of the terminal intonation groups.

The terminal tone is an inseparable part of any intonation contour, because its main function is to distinguish the communicative types of utterances.

According to their structure the terminal tones fall into two types:

· Consisting of the nucleus only:

e.g. He is °free.||

· Consisting of the nucleus with the tail:

e.g. He is °busy.||

According to the direction of the pitch change they fall into three principal groups:

· The group of falling tones:

The Low Fall /°m/ (simple tone)

The High Fall /Îm/ (simple tone)

The Rise-Fall /^m/ (complex tone)

· The group of rising tones:

The Low Rise /, m/ (simple tone)

The High Rise / æm/ (simple tone)

The Fall-Rise / ëm/ (complex tone)

· The group of the level tones:

The Low Level /%m/ (simple tone)

The Mid Level /"m/ (simple tone)

The High Level /"m/ (simple tone)

 

The Low Fall

The nucleus of the Low Fall starts at or a bit below the mid pitch level of the normal range and falls to the normal range and falls to the bottom, the tail syllables take the low pitch. As any falling tone it is final and chategorical in character. Besides, the Low Fall conveys some attitudes of its own, it sounds formal, serious, firm or calm, cool, reserved, phlegmatic, depending on the prehead and scale that precede it.

The Low Fall can be combined with any type of scale and the scale adds much to the attitudinal meaning of the pattern.

The Low Fall preceded by the Descending Stepping Scale is used in categorical statements, basic special questions, basic commands and exclamations.

Descending Stepping Scale + Low Fall

· Categorical statements (businesslike, formal)

e.g. My "friend is a "student of °English.||

"John is "Mary’s °brother.||

"Mary is "writing a °letter.||

· Basic Special Questions (businesslike, serious)

e.g. "When do you "get to the °office?||

"What do you "usually "do in the °evenings?||

· Basic commands (businesslike, firm)

e.g. "Try to "do it °now.||

"Go and "fetch some °chalk.||

· Basic exclamations (businesslike, formal)

e.g. "Many "happy re"turns of the °day.||

"Thank you "very °much!||

· In insistent general questions this pattern sounds serious and urgent.

e.g. Do you "really "leave to"morrow °morning?||

Low Level Scale + Low Fall (phlegmatic, detached).

e.g. He %leaves to%morrow morning.||

 

The Low Rise

The Low Rise consisting of the nucleus only starts at or near the bottom of the normal voice range and rises to the mid pitch level.

e.g. , Yes,Åhe was a,way.||

If there is a tail to it the nuclear syllable takes the low level pitch and the tail-syllables carry the rise.

e.g. ,Certainly,Å he was ,busy yesterday.||

The Low Rise sounds non-final, non-categorical, encouraging further conversation. Preceded by the Low Level Scale the Low Rise gives the utterance a perfunctory ring. That is why it is often called a perfunctory tone.

It can be used in all communicative types of utterances.

1. Non-categorical statements

· Descending Stepping Scale + Low Rise – encouraging further conversation

e.g. He "knows it much ,better.||

"John’s "Mary’s ,brother.||

· Low Level scale + Low Rise – perfunctory

e.g. He %knows it much ,better.||

%John’s %Mary’s ,brother.||

2. Special Questions

· Descending Stepping Scale + Low Rise –interested

e.g. "What do you "usually "do in the ,evening?||

· Low Level scale + Low Rise – perfunctory

e.g. %What do you %usually %do in the ,evening?||

%What if we %meet to,night?||

3. Basic General Questions

· Descending Stepping Scale + Low Rise – really interested

e.g. Is "anyone a,way from the lesson?||

"Haven’t you "been at the ,library?||

Is he "studying ,science?||

· Low Level scale + Low Rise – perfunctory

e.g. Is %anyone a,way from the ·lesson?||

%Haven’t you %been at the ,library?||

4. Imperatives

· Descending Stepping Scale + Low Rise –encouraging

e.g. I’m "so up°setÅ – "cheer ,up, Å don’t ,worry.||

"Come a,long, Å "hurry ,up.||

5. Exclamations

· Descending Stepping Scale + Low Rise –airy, encouraging

e.g. "Sorry I must be °off.||– "So ,long, my dear. "See you ,later.||

 

The Fall-Rise

The Fall-Rise is a complex tone. It consists of two elements: the falling part and the rising part. The Fall-Rise can be high (emphatic) and low (neutral), but the fall is always higher than the rise.

It is realised in speech in two allotones the use of which depends on the structure of the word that takes it.

We speak about the Fall-Rise:

· Compressed into one syllable (undivided)

ëYes.||

· Spread over a number of syllables or words (divided).

°Real,ly…||

As a °matter of ,fact.||

The Fall-Rise is often called an implicatory tone. It may convey different attitudes, such as warning, hesitation, concern, correction, contradiction, contrast, apology.

The Fall-Rise is mostly used in:

1. Implicatory statements.

2. Requests.

3. Apology.

4. Non-terminal intonation groups, often tempo rises.

It is usually preceded by the Sliding Scale, though the Stepping Scale is also possible.

Sentence Stress

Sentence stress is greater prominence given to one or more words in a sentence. In emotionally neutral speech sentence stress is more or less equally distributed among all the notional words of the sentence. The normally accented words are:

1. Nouns.

2. Pronouns: demonstrative, indefinite, interrogative, emphatic, absolute.

3. Notional verbs.

4. Adjectives.

5. Numerals.

6. Interjections.

The unstressed elements as a rule are:

1. Pronouns: personal, possessive, reflexive, relative.

2. Auxiliary verbs.

3. Prepositions.

4. Conjunctions.

5. Articles.

6. Particles.

Sentence stress, to a greater degree, is determined by three factors:

1. By the relative semantic importance of words in the sentence which results in logical stress.

2. By the rhythmical structure of the sentence.

3. By the style of speech.

 


Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1981


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