Basic Intonation Patterns. The Main Attitudes Conveyed by Them
Different combinations of the components of a tone-unit (pre-heads, heads and nuclei/tonic syllables) may result in more than a hundred intonation patterns (or contours) conveying attitudinal meaning. However, it would be confusing to learn such a great variety of intonation contours. Besides, it is not necessary to deal with all of them because some of them are used very rarely. So focus will be made on the most common ones.
Since the nucleus is the most important component of a tone-unit on which the whole pitch pattern centres, intonation contours are grouped according to the main nuclear tones.
4. Intonation Contour 2a: encouraging further conversation, casual, or calmly disapproving, warning, critical, menacing.
5. Intonation Contour 3: lively, interested, personally concerned, emotional, with some warmth.
6. Intonation Contour 3a: the same as IC3, but with less warmth and often with surprise, displeasure, protest.
7. Intonation Contour 4: interrogatory, light and casual; in non-final groups, tentative.
8. Intonation Contour 5: implicatory; hardly ever used in questions and interjections.
9. Intonation Contour 5a: highly emotional, warm, sympathetic; in special questions, plaintive, weary.
10. Intonation Contour 6: highly emotional; the speaker is impressed and sometimes even awed challenging and censorious in the case of negative emotions.
It should be pointed out that none of the intonation contours given above is used with a particular sentence (communicative) type. Thus, any sentence type (a statement, a question etc.) can be pronounced with any tone group.
Another important point to remember is that the meaning of every patternmust be studied only in a certain context and with reference to a particular style and type of speech.
Mention should also be made of the fact that the use of intonation patterns expressing attitudes and emotions are accompanied by and associated with certain facial expressions, gestures and body movements.