Variations of pitch at the end of a sentence delimit it from a following sentence.
12.19. A change of pitch at the junction of two sense-groups or sentences is called a terminal tone or a clause-terminal.
In RP such terminal tones are the falling tone, the rising tone, the rising-falling tone, the falling-rising tone.
All terminal tones perform their delimitative function together with other phonetic means of delimitation.
19.21. The first of these is open juncture, which always occurs between two actual sense-groups or sentences.
19.22. The second is a pause of different durations: a long pause always separates two sentences, while a short one may occur between two sense-groups within a sentence.
(20) Stresses and tones
12.20. The delimitative function of tones is performed by a change of pitch direction; these tones are called kinetic (by R. Kingdon).
§ In English, there is also the so-called even, or level, tone, which R. Kingdon calls static. In the case of this tone the delimitation of sense-groups or sentences is effected by a change of pitch level: the following sense-groups or sentence begins at a different (usually higher) pitch level.
12.23. The last stressed syllable of a sense-group or sentence is often called accentual nucleus.
The degree of stress often depends on the kind of the nuclear tone used. For instance, the use of a falling-rising tone usually entails a very strong stress.
12.24. The use of this or that nuclear tone determines the duration of the nuclear syllable.
• A syllable containing a high fall is longer than one with a low fall, whereas a syllable with a falling-rising tone, or rising-falling-rising tone is much longer than one with other nuclear tone.
12.25. Pitch is inevitably connected with voice-tamber, whose variations give different emotional colourings to a sentence.
(21) Classification of clause terminals by American descriptivists
12.26. American descriptivists distinguish clause terminals of three kinds:
• /١/ fading: a rapid trailing away of the voice into silence. Both the pitch and volume decrease rapidly.
• /ر / rising: a sudden, rapid, but short rise in the pitch. The volume does not trail off so noticeably, but seems to be comparatively sharply cut off.
• /→/ sustained: a sustention of the pitch accompanied by prolongation of the last syllable of the clause and some diminishing of volume. (Gleason, H.A. An Introduction to Descriptive Linguistics. NY, 1961)
A. Hill considers clause terminals as kinds of juncture. (Hill, A.A. Introduction to Linguistic Structures. NY, 1958)
(22) Classification of clause terminals by British phoneticians
12.27. British phoneticians distinguish more terminal tones in English than their American colleagues do and use different graphical means of representing both these tones and intonation in general.
In the existing systems of representing intonation graphically only its pitch and force components can so far be indicated.
• These can be shown either by placing special signs on an interlined scale, or stave, between or beside the line of text or by inserting tone and stress indicators in the line of the text itself, which may be written or printed both in conventional spelling or in phonetic transcription.
(23) Signs of tonetic transcription
12.28. In representing intonation on the staves the following signs are used in different systems of tonetic transcription.
In the system introduced by L. Armstrong and I. Ward and most widely used in countries where RP is taught:
Ø a dash (─) represents a stressed syllable pronounced with a static tone,
Ø a curve (۱), (ر) represents a stressed syllable with a kinetic tone,
Ø a small dot (∙) represents an unstressed syllable.
In the system used by D. Jones, A.C. Gimson, J. O’Connor and G. Arnold:
o a stressed syllable with a static tone is denoted by a large dot (•),
o a stressed syllable having a kinetic tone is denoted by a large dot with a tail-like curve attached to it (ﻭ), (۹), and
o An unstressed syllable is denoted by a small dot (∙).
In R. Kingdon’s system wedge-like signs are used instead of dashes and curves: (▼) ( ►) (▲)
(24) The function of intonation
• Although none of the components of intonation can be separated from any of the others in actual speech, it is possible to single out each component for the sake of analysis.
• Then it will be see that an individual component of intonation plays a decisive role in expressing this or that function of intonation while the other components play only a subordinate and auxiliary part in expressing this particular function.
(25) I. The functions of speech melody
The chief functions of the pitch component of intonation are
(1) to determine the so-called communicative type of sentence, and
(2) to divide a sentence into sense-groups and show their relative semantic importance.
(1) The communicative type of sentence is a linguistic category differentiated in speech according to the aim of the utterance from the standpoint of communication, i.e. in order to show that the sentence is meant to express the statement of fact, a question, a command, a request, etc.
Ø It is the use of this or that tone at the end of a sentence that determines its communicative type. Thus the words “Shut the door” pronounced with a fall in the word “door” express a command, whereas the same words pronounced with a rise in “door” denote a request. Cf.
Shut the door.
(a command) [‘∫ʌt ðә ↘dͻ:]
(a request) [‘∫ʌt ðә ↗dͻ:]
(26) Continuation -1
(2) Besides determining the communicative type of sentence, melody is also the principal means of dividing a sentence into sense-groups and of showing the degree of their semantic importance.
Ø A sense-group is a word or a group of words forming the shortest possible unit in a sentence from the point of view of meaning, grammatical structure and intonation. This can be illustrated by analysing the following sentence:
In an adjoining room | a woman was cooking supper.
[in әn ә‘ʤͻiniŋ ↗rum | ә ‘wumәn wәz ‘kukiŋ ↘sʌpә]
Pronounced with this intonation this sentence contains two sense-groups.
v The sense-group as a unit from the point of view of intonation means that it has certain intonational characteristics without which it cannot exist, which usually shape and at the same time delimit each sense-group and show the relative semantic importance.
All the components of intonation take part in shaping a sense-group, but it is a change in pitch at the end of a sense-group (a rise, a fall, etc) that is the principal means of delimiting it and of showing its relative semantic importance.
(27) Continuation -2: function of the TONE
• This terminal change in pitch is called the tone. It is the most significant change of pitch within a sentence.
• The use of this or that tone at the end of a sentence determines its communicative type.
• The use of this or that tone at the end of a non-final sense-group (i.e. at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence) shows the degree of the semantic independence, completeness and importance of this sense-group.
For example, the rising tone at the end of the first sense-group in the above sentence [in әn ә‘ʤͻiniŋ ↗rum] shows that the sense-group is semantically dependent on the following sense-group, it is semantically incomplete by itself, it implies continuation, and for all these reasons it is of lesser importance than the following sense-group.
Besides determining the communicative type of the sentence, and the degree of the semantic importance of its individual sense-groups, the TONE is the principal means of delimiting these sense-groups.
Ø Thus, the sense-groups in the above sentence are delimited chiefly by a rise at the end of the first sense-group ([in әn ә‘ʤͻiniŋ ↗rum]) and by a fall at the end of the second ([ә ‘wumәn wәz ‘kukiŋ ↘sʌpә ]).
(28) Continuation -3: Pause
There is a short pause at the end of the first sense-group and a longer one at the end of the second.
• The use of a pause at the end of a sentence is obligatory: it is another means of separating the final sense-group of one sentence from the initial sense-group of a following sentence, or, in other words, a means of delimiting two sentences.
• But a pause between two sense-groups inside a sentence is not obligatory and is often imperceptible or actually absent.
(29) Characteristics by SCALE
Besides characterizing a sense-group by a definite tone, speech melody characterizes each sense-group also by a certain SCALE.
Ø Thus in the above sentence pronounced with unemphatic intonation, each sense-group has a gradually descending scale:
[in әn ә‘ʤͻiniŋ ↗rum| ә ‘wumәn wәz ‘kukiŋ ↘sʌpә]
The gradually descending scale is used here to show that the speaker attaches more or less equal importance to all the words he stresses in the sense-group and does not wish to express any special emotions.
(30) Characteristics by pitch-level and range
The pitch characteristics of a sense-group also include its pitch-level and range.
Ø The pitch-level of a sense-group is determined by the pitch of the first stressed syllable. The higher is the pitch of the first syllable of the scale, the higher is the general, or average, pitch-level of the sense-group.
The higher is the pitch-level, the wider is the range of a sense-group. This is due to the fact that the first stressed syllable in a sense-group of an unemphatic sentence has the highest pitch as compared with the pitch of the other syllables of the same sense-group.
(31) Ranges of tones
Tones may have different ranges too.
Ø The range of a tone is the pitch interval between its beginning and its end.
Ø A fall or a rise of different ranges may begin at different pitch-levels, e.g. [↗jes]
A low-level rise
A mid-level rise
A high-level rise
Ø Variations in the pitch-levels and ranges of sense-groups and their tones are very numerous.
Very high (raised) or very low (lowered) pitch-levels and usually accompanying them very wide and very narrow ranges are typical of emphatic intonation. (p. 138)
(32) Other components of intonation
• A sense-group cannot exist without a sentence-stress: each sense-group must contain at least one stressed word.
• The temporal component of intonation helps to delimit sense-groups by means of pauses.
• Besides, each sense-group is characterized by a certain tempo and rhythm.
• A sense-group is sometimes called an intonation group.
(33) Grammatical wholeness of a sense-group
Ø A sense-group is defined not only as an intonational unit, but also as the shortest possible semantic and grammatical unit in a sentence.
Ø This means that a sense-group constitutes a certain morphological, syntactical and semantic whole which cannot be divided any further without being destroyed as a sense-group.
Ø The grammatical wholeness of a sense-group manifests itself in that words which syntactically are closely connected usually belong to one and the same sense-group, for example:
• an article and a noun
• an adjective and a noun
• a preposition and a noun or pronoun
• a verb and its object, etc.
Therefore, the first sense-group in the sentence “In an adjoining room a woman was cooking supper” cannot be further divided like this:
[in әn ә‘ʤͻiniŋ ǀ ↗rum].
• This sense-group is indivisible any further and should be [in әn ә‘ʤͻiniŋ ↗rum].
• For the same reason it is impossible to make the article “a” before the word “woman” into a separate sense-group, although a noun together with the preceding article may form a sense-group when it is the subject of the sentence, e.g. (p.139)
[ә~“wumәn ǀ wәz ‘kukiŋ ↘sʌpә]
Ø In this case the words “a woman” are made into a separate sense-group pronounced with a fall-rise in order to call the listeners’ special attention to the person who was cooking supper (not a young girl, but a woman): [in әn ә‘ʤͻiniŋ ↗rum| ә ~ “wumәn wәz ‘kukiŋ ↘sʌpә] – «Â ńîńĺäíĺé ęîěíŕňĺ óćčí âŕđčëŕ ęŕęŕ˙-ňî ćĺíůčíŕ».
• The words “was cooking” form the predicate of the sentence and cannot be here separated. The word supper is the direct object, which is not usually separated from the verb. Therefore, the words “was cooking supper”cannot be divided into two or more sense-groups in this particular sentence: they form a single sense-group.
However, the division of a sentence into sense-groups is not something fixed once and for all. One and the same sentence may be divided into different numbers of sense-groups according to the number of separate units of communication the speaker wants to express, but there is always a minimum and a maximum number of sense-groupspossible in every sentence.
• Thus, the greatest number of sense-groups possible in the above example is three:
In an a’djoining ↗room ǀ a ~ ”woman was ‘cooking ↘supper.
Ø It is impossible to divide this sentence into a still greater number of sense-groups without destroying its meaning or changing it.
That is why we say that a sense-group is the shortest unit of intonation as well.
Ø But, on the other hand, two or more shortest possible sense-groups may be combined into a single one. Thus, “a woman was cooking supper” may be pronounced as a single sense-group. In this case, the reader or speaker would not call the listeners’ special attention to the person who was cooking supper.
Ø Finally, it would even be possible to pronounce the whole sentence as a single sense-group: (p.140)
[in әn ә‘ʤͻiniŋ ‘rum ә ‘wumәn wәz ‘kukiŋ ↘sʌpә]
But such a sentence would not be very natural.
(35) The shortest unit that can form a sense-group
• The shortest morphological and semantic unit which can form a sense-group is the word, and not any part of it (a morpheme, for example).
• However, not all words can form a sense-group by themselves. A sense-group can usually be formed by a notional word, and not by a form-word. Thus, the preposition “in”, the indefinite articles “an”, “a” and the auxiliary “was” cannot form separate sense-groups in the above sentence.
Ø (It would be unnatural and therefore wrong to pronounce [↗in ǀ ↗әn ǀ ә‘ʤͻiniŋ ↗rum| ei ǀ ↗wumәn ǀ ↗wͻz ǀ ‘kukiŋ ↘sʌpә].)
(36) II. The functions of sentence-stress
q The chief functions of sentence-stress are
(1) to single out words in the sentence according to their relative semantic importance, and
(2) to provide a basis for the rhythmical structure of the sentence, e.g.
The ‘Island seemed ‘very ‘far a۱way.
In this sentence the words Island, very, far, away are stressed because semantically they are the most important, and since they occur at more or less equal intervals of time, they form the rhythm of the sentence.
q Speech melody and sentence –stress are the most important components of intonation, because it is chiefly thanks to them that the meaning of a sentence can be expressed. Their close interconnection can be seen also in that the last stressed word in a sense-group or sentence contains the significant change in pitch determining the semantic importance of the sense-group or the communicative type of the sentence: a fall, a rise, etc., e.g.
I am studying English. [ai əm ‘stʌdiiŋ ۱iŋgliʃ]
The sentence is pronounced with this particular intonation when the speaker considers importance of the name of the language, or answering the question about the language he is studying.
• In the sentence:
I am studying the English language. [ai əm ‘stʌdiiŋ ði۱iŋgliʃ ,læŋgwiʤ]
the last stressed word is also English, and a significant change of pitch (a fall) takes place within that word. The word language is pronounced without any sentence-stress or with very weak stress on a low level pitch.
Ø The last sentence-stress may be combined not only with a fall, but also with another significant change in pitch – with a rise, for example.
• It should be borne in mind, however, that the rising tone is effected in two different ways:
(1) by a rise within the final stressed syllable of the sense-group (ﺭ ) or by (2) a rise in the final unstressed syllable or syllables of the sense-group, the preceding stressed syllable being pronounced on the lowest level pitch. E.g. (p.143)
Are you going home? [′α: ju: ′gouiŋ ﺭ houm]
Are you studying English? [′α: ju: ′stʌdiiŋ ﺭ iŋgliʃ]
Are you studying the English language? [′α: ju: ′stʌdiiŋ ði ﺭ iŋgliʃ læŋgwiʤ]
(38) III. The functions of tamber; IV. The functions of the temporal component of intonation
q Tamber serves to give a sentence an emotional colouring (joy, anger, irony, indignation, etc.), e.g. (p. 143) It was a glorious night! [it wəz ə ′glɔ:riəs ۱nait]
If this sentence is pronounced with some emotion, say, delight, it is the tamber of the voice which will be the principal means of expressing this emotion.
q The chief function of the tempo and rhythm is to serve as an additional means of expressing the speaker’s emotions and the degree of semanticimportance he attaches to different sense-groups in a sentence or to different sentences.
§ Words or sense-groups less important as compared with the other words and sense-groups of the same sentence are usually pronounced more rapidly, e.g. I ′hope you are ۱right, Monty…
In this sentence the most important word is right. It lasts a longer time than the stressed word hope and certainly longer than the unstressed words I, you, are.
(39) V. The role of intonation as a whole
Through the simultaneous functioning of its components intonation as a whole unifieswords in sense-groups and sentences, thus giving the latter final shape, or form, without which a sentence cannot exist.
Intonation differentiates communicativetypes of sentences and the degrees of the semanticimportance of sense-groups within them.
It enables the speaker to express not only his thoughts but also his attitude to what he is saying, his state of mind and emotions.
v Intonation as a whole plays an extremely important role in speech.