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Stylistic use of Intonation.

Intonation plays a central role in stylistic differentiation of oral texts. Stylistically explicable deviations from intonational norms reveal conventional patterns differing from language to language. The intonation system of a language provides a consistently recognizable invariant basis of these effects from person to person.

The uses of intonation in this function show that the information so conveyed is, in many cases, impossible to separate from lexical and grammatical meanings expressed by words and contructions in a language (verbal context) and from the co-occuring situational information (non-verbal context). The meaning of intonation cannot be judged in isolation. However, intonation does not usually correlate in any neat one-for-one way with the verbal context accompanying and the situational variables in an extra-linguistic context. Moreover, the perceived contrast with the intonation of the previous utterance seems to be relevant. In the following example a connecting phrase in the appropriate intonation conditions the stylistic force of the accompanying sentence, and contrasts with the 'literal' meaning of the words:

You 'KNOW I I think he's ,RIGHT (= let me tell you, I think...)

You ,KNOW I think he's right (= you are aware that I think...)

¹ 3 Functional styles.

Functional Style is a system of interrelated language means, which serves a definite aim in communication. Each style is recognised as an independent whole. The peculiar choice of language means is primarily dependent on the aim of the communication, on the func-

tion the style performs.

As a matter of fact there exist a number of classifications of functional styles, but the most common one was introduced by I. R. Galperin. It includes the belles-lettres style, the publicistic style( Essays, Oratory and Speeches) the newspaper style, the scientific prose style, and the style of official Documents(Legal Doc, Doc of Diplomacy, Military Doc, Business Doc), . All of them, though, can be further subdivided.

Intonational Styles.

Intonational style – a system of interrelated intonational means which is used in a social sphere and serves s definite aim of communication.

There is no universally recognized classification of styles. Vinogradov distinguishes 3 styles:

4. 1) Colloquial (COMMUNICATION)

5. 2) Informing (scientific styles are included)

6. 3) Emotive (publicistic, belletrestyle).

This classification was criticized. There are 2 next marginal layers:

- formal – suggests careful articulation of styles, relatively slow speed of the pronouncing

- informal – everyday communication, rapid, colloquial, conversational

The choice of an intonational style is determined by the purpose of communication and the number of the other exralinguistic factors. They single out following styles:

1) Informational– in press reporting, educational descriptive texts. Loudness normal or increased; pauses arerather long; rhythm is stable, properly organized; falling tones on the semantic centers, falling-rising or rising in the initial intonation groups;

2) Academic (scientific) – style of lectures (conferences, seminars). Loudness increased; pauses are rather long; rhythm is properly organized; high proportion of compound terminal tones (high fall + low rise, fall-rise, rise-fall-rise), a great number of high categorical falls;

3) Publicistic (oratorical). Characteristics: Loudness enormously increased; pauses are definitely long between the passages; rhythm is properly organized; tones mostly emphatic, especially emotionally underlined semantic centers, in non-final intonational groups falling-rising tones are frequent;

4) Declamatory (artistic). This is a highly emotional and expressive intonational style. Attitudinal, volitional and intellectual functions of intonation are of primary importance here and serve to appeal to the mind, will and feelings of the listener. This style can be heard on the stage, on the screen, in a TV studio, thus we see that it is always a written form of the language read aloud or recited. Characteristics: Loudness varied according to the size of the audience and to the emotional setting; pauses are long especially between the passages, prolonged emphatic pauses are used to underline the emphasis; rhythm is properly organized; common use of categorical low and high falls in final and initial intonation groups and on semantic centers;

5) Conversational (familiar) – this kind of English is a means for everyday communication, heard in natural conversational interaction between speakers. This style occurs mainly in informal external and internal relationships in speech of relatives, friends. This is spontaneous, colloquial, informal, everyday speech.


¹5 Intonational Styles and Modification of Sounds in Connected Speech.


Sound modifications are observed across morpheme and syllable boundaries, as well as within morphemes. Such changes in the articulation of sounds in speech can be grouped in the following way: assimilation, accommodation, vowel reduction and elision.

The modification of a consonant by a neighbouring consonant in the speech chain is known as assimilation. The term accommodation is used to denote the modification of consonants under the influence of the neighbouring vowels and vice versa. One of the most wide-spread sound changes is vowel reduction, that is weakening (either qualitative or quantitative) of vowels in unstressed positions. Elision or complete loss of sounds, both vowels and consonants, is also often observed in English.

Cases of consonant modifications in a speech. Phoneticians usually identify assimilation of place, manner and voicing in consonants. The most common sounds which undergo assimilation of place are plosives and nasals:

The manner of articulation also changes as a result of assimilation. We observe:

  • loss of plosion as in glad to see you, great trouble
  • lateral plosion as in settle, at last
  • nasal plosion as in not now, at night

Assimilation of voice is also found in English. Only regressive assimilation of voice is found across word boundaries and then only of one type: if the following consonant is voiceless fortis it influences the preceding voiced lenis consonant and makes it devoiced (as in of coursefˈkɔ:s].

In English we can speak about the quantitative and qualitative modification of vowels. The quantitative modification is the shortening of the vowel length when it occurs in an unstressed position (as in ˈwindow, ˈphoneme, etc) or before a voiceless consonant (as in heat, past, etc.).

Qualitative modification of most vowels occurs in unstressed positions. In these cases the quality of the vowel is reduced to the neutral sound as in statesman [ˈsteɪtsmən], economic [ˌi:kəˈnɒmɪk].

In rapid colloquial speech elision or complete omission of the unstressed vowel can take place as in perhaps [pʰˈhæps], today [tʰˈdeɪ],

Comparison with Russian. In Russian as well as in English reduction is both quantitative and qualitative but at the same (line it depends on the place of the unstressed syllable in the word. The farther the syllable is away from the stressed one, the wl'aker it is, eg roAoBa [I"bMBa]. Vowels of full value do not IHeur in the unstressed position. as a rule. Elision is rather II'mmon in Russian.


¹6 Formal and Informal English

Formal language, even when spoken, is often associated with the conventions expected of written standard English. Formal English

- follow rules of grammar

- longer and more complex centence.

- The vocabulary tends to be elevated, using big words and avoiding colloquial or slang vocabulary. - It avoids split infinitives and prepositions at the end of sentences.

Informal language is characterized by a

- simpler grammatical structure (i.e. loosely-connected sentences and phrases), and personal evaluation.

- - make use of slang and colloquialisms, employing the conventions of spoken language.

Ex: They did an experiment-inf/ The experiment was carried out / performed

The difference between formal and informal English is not a difference between correct and incorrect, but a difference of what is known as register. A register is a variety of language related to a particular subject matter or area of activity, a set of words and expressions as well as syntactical features that may be said to characterise that specific area of language. There are many registers: technical, academic, mathematical, scientific, etc. Very broadly speaking, we can also speak of a “formal” and “informal” register in English. In writing academic reports and the like, it would be normal to draw most of the vocabulary and expressions from the formal register, and few, if any, from the informal. This entails avoiding colloquial (everyday) or slang expressions in your writing assignments.


Date: 2015-12-18; view: 1820

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