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Among the various ways in which the whole intonation-group can be made livelier and more emotional is the so-called Irregular Prehead.

Two of them can be further subdivided:

§ High Irregular

§ Low Irregular

In the High Irregular Prehead all the syllables are said on a very high pitch (higher even than the onset syllable). The effect produced by the High Prehead is the following: the higher the pitch the greater the emotional colouring. In the text it is normally indicated by a high pitch mark: ¯m

e.g. ¯It was amazing.

The emphatic role of the High Irregular Prehead is increased when it is used before a Low Head or a low nuclear tone (Low Fall, Low Rise, Low Fall-Rise).

e.g. ¯The ‚‚Rovers, ˙Robert? ¯We ˌdid what you ‚‚told us to.


In tunes with the emphatic High, Mid or Low Fallthe High Irregular Prehead is used to express disapproval, indignation, or insistence.

e.g. – You don’t find it exciting, don’t you?

¯It will be awfully ˌdull.

In tunes with the emphatic Low Rising nuclear tone the High Irregular Prehead often adds a feeling of disagreement and impatience.

e.g. – Find his address and let him know.

¯It’s no ˌˌgood ‚‚writing ˙to him.

When followed by the High Rising emphatic tone the High Irregular Prehead gives a feeling of extreme surprise.

e.g. – Nobody could manage it.

¯Did ˝you do ˙this?

In the Low Irregular Prehead all the syllables are said on a very low pitch (lower even than the syllables at the end of a falling tune).It is normally indicated by a low pitch mark: _me.g. _I told you to go.

The Low Prehead is most commonly used before the High Static tone and before Kinetic tones which begin on a higher pitch.

e.g. _But it’s incredible.





In a normal utterance the syllable bearing the nuclear tone has more prominence than the prenuclear stresses. This difference in prominence is not really visible because the nuclear word just indicates the centre of new information but doesn’t stand out as a special item of information. When it is desired to give extra prominence to the nuclear word it can be done:

§ by reducing the prenuclear stresses, thus giving the Nucleus greater relative prominence. Compare:

e.g. I ˈcan’t iˈmagine what he looks like. I can’t imagine what he looks like.

§ by using the so-called nuclear tone-shift, which means displacing the nuclear tone from its normal position to a word at the beginning or in the middle of an utterance.

e.g. – I ˈsimply ˙can’t manage it.

– Then let’s all get down to work.

The effect of a contrastive tone-shift is always greater when the nuclear stress is given to a functional word.

e.g. It’s the ˈlast ˈparty I shall ˌgo to ˌwith him.



Expressiveness of speech is often the result of using more than one kinetic tone in an intonation group. Intonation groups having more than one kinetic tone are called Compound Tunes.

e.g. I’ve ˈdone nothing but worry.

The most common types of compound tunes are:

High Rise + High Rise

Low Rise + Fall

Fall + Fall-Rise

Fall-Rise + Fall

Fall + Fall

High Rise + High Rise – typically occurs in General questions. It gives them a feeling of surprise or incredulity. The same feeling can be expressed by the High Irregular Prehead before the Emphatic High Rise, but this compound tune has a rather more friendly effect.

e.g. Compare: ¯Aren’t you ˝ready yet? ˊAren’t you ˝ready yet?

A compound tune may contain more than one High Rising tone in the Head. This intonation pattern is often used in questions addressed to children. e.g. ˊWon’t you ˊwait for your ˊsister?

Low Rise + Fall – usually gives a feeling of:

ü mystification and puzzlement to questions; Why didn’t he wait?

ü persuasiveness to statements and imperatives; Go and see him.

ü wonderment to exclamations. How annoying!

Fall + Fall-Rise – usually serves to give special emphasis. The Fall-Rise in the Nucleus is very often of a low emphatic variety, which has a more apologetic note than the High Fall-Rise, especially in statements. e.g. I don’t think he ought to be ‚angry.

Imperatives with this compound tune often have a suggestion of reproachfulness.

e.g. Don’t make so much ‚fuss about it.

Fall-Rise + Fall – serves to emphasize and to give a sense of contrast to some word or words coming earlier than the Nucleus. Such compound tunes are milder in feeling because of the Fall-Rise in the Head.

e.g. – Will you make another attempt?

– I’d `ˊrather not.

Fall + Fall – gives emphasis to or expresses a contrast on some prenuclear items. This compound tune often imparts a feeling of:

· insistence to special and general questions;

· dogmatism to statements;

· energy to imperatives;

· extra emphasis to exclamations.

e.g. Why ever didn’t you say so before?

We must tell him and worn him immediately.

Don’t ever do that again. What a wonderful surprise!

Date: 2015-12-11; view: 3340

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