The Main Attitudes Conveyed by These Intonation Contours
Intonation Contour 3
Intonation Contour 3a
- (Low Pre-Head+) Stepping Head+ High Fall (+Tail)
- (Low Pre-Head+) Falling Head+ High Fall (+Tail)
- (Low or Rising Pre-Head+) High Fall(s)+ High Fall (+Tail)
(Low or Rising Pre-Head+) Low or Rising Head+
High Fall (+Tail)
It is very common in ordinary colloquial speech;
conveys personal concern and involvement;
it can sound lively, interested, airy and can express vigorous agreement or contradiction very efficiently.
E.g. Itís very ex pensive. I can hardly be lieve it. Iíve never been there in my life.
With the Stepping Head it sounds light and warm. However, in some contexts it may have some edifying, scolding and instructive effect.
E.g. We must stay and do some work. I havenít had time to read the text.
Conveys a feeling of querulous or disgruntled protest.
E.g. You didnít ask me to.Weíve been waiting for ages.I sent a message to you three days a go.
Short comments of the Type ďIs it?Ē, ďIsnít it?Ē
It shows the speakerís willingness to discuss thesituation;
sometimes it can sound sceptical.
E.g. Must we tell the parents a bout it?Did you notice how thin sheís be come?
This contour shows a mildsurprise but acceptance of thelistenerís premises (ideas, arguments). It is more or less equivalent to a surprised repetition of the listenerís statement.
E.g. A: Sheís thirty- five. B: Is she?
It indicates that the speaker is willing to discuss the situation, though sometimes impatient or protesting that such discussion should be necessary.
E.g. Need we do anything about it? Will it be open to day?
It makes a special question sound interested, brisk, business-like.
E.g. How long do you in tend being a way?Then why are you so angry with me?
With a low or rising head the question sounds as if the speaker were somewhat unpleasantly surprised or displeased.
E.g. Why didnít you say so be fore?But when did you see her? Why should I do that?
It gives a ring of warmth, suggesting a course of action to the listener.
E.g. Come in. Buy yourself a sports car.
IC 3a is essentially the same as IC 3, but often adds a noteof critical surprise.
E.g. A: I donít know this word B: Look it up in the dictionary.
It renders the exclamation (or interjection) moreemotional but less weighty than when said with IC 1.
E.g. How awkward! Well done! What a shame!
It can sound with a note of unpleasant, critical or affronted surprise.
E.g. A: Did you call him a liar?
B: Good heavens, no!
Occasional Emphatic Usage:
1. The Sliding Head + High Fall
It has all the above-mentioned attitudes of IC 3 but the emphasis is still more intensified.
E.g. Iím afraid the task was rather difficult.
Why are you so angry with him?
Donít be so smug.
2. The Scandent Head + High Fall sounds playful, self-satisfied, smug, awed and delighted.
E.g. Iíve never been known to fail.
Tell him to come to my office.
What an ex traordinary thing to do.
3. (Low Pre-Nucleus+) High Fall (+Tail) sounds light, airy, brisk and interested; conveys personal concern or involvement.
E.g. A: Did you like the film? B: It was wonderful.
High Pre-Nucleus + High Fall has the same attitudes but the meaning is intensified.