The tunes of longer sense groups containing only one important word.
In the examples above, the word Two, being the only word in the sense group, must naturally be important (otherwise there would be no point in saying it) and therefore prominent. Now suppose that Johnís response was not Two but Twenty. This is still a sense group of a single prominent word, but there are now two syllables instead of one. The first of these syllables is stressed, i.e. said with the greater general effort than the second, which is unstressed. Our six tunes will now be as follows (and here we use large dots to represent the stressed syllable and smaller ones to represent the unstressed syllable):
Low Fall: Twenty.
High Fall: Twenty.
Rise-Fall: Twenty. Twenty.
Low Rise: Twenty.
High Rise: Twenty.
The similarities with the treatment of Two are obvious, but there are some differences which must be noticed. In the two rising tunes the stressed syllable is level in pitch and there is no upward glide as there was in Two, but rather a jump from the pitch of the stressed to that of the unstressed syllable; in other words the rise is not complete before the end of the sense group. In the same way the Fall-Rise is spread over the two syllables and not completed on the first. Whether or not, in the falling tunes, the fall is completed within the stressed syllable depends on the structure of that syllable: if the stressed vowel is short and followed by a voiceless sound (having no vocal cord vibration and therefore no pitch) there is often not time to complete the fall within the stressed syllable, and the effect is of a jump from the higher to the lower pitch level.
E.g. Fifty. Sixty.
If, on the other hand, the stressed syllable contains a long vowel or diphthong, or short vowel followed by a voiced sound, then the fall is usually completed within that syllable.
E.g. Forty. Eighty. Twenty.
The Rise-Fall may be said in either of the two ways shown above.
Below are six more examples, this time of sense groups containing one prominent word followed by other words which are not prominent.
1. PETER: Will you have one packet, or two?
JOHN: Two, Peter.
2. PETER: How many shoes in a pair?
JOHN: Two, you silly chap.
3. PETER: Did you know Richard has two wives?
JOHN: Two, indeed! Two, indeed!
4. PETER: How many cigarettes have you got?
JOHN: Two, I think.
5. PETER: Iíve only got two pounds.
JOHN: Two, did you say?
6. PETER: Youíve got one brother, havenít you?
JOHN: Two, you mean.
These examples show that when the single prominent word is followed by other words which are not prominent, the pitch patterns remain very similar to the patterns in the examples Two and Twenty. In the Low Fall and High Fall the fall of the voice to the lowest pitch level takes place during the stressed syllable of the prominent word or from that syllable to the next, whether in the same word or not, and any subsequent syllables are all on the same low level. The Rise-Fall is spread over either two or three syllables, as shown above, both patterns being commonly heard; once the voice has reached the low pitch, on either the second or third syllable, it continues on this pitch during any other following syllables. In the Low Rise and High Rise the stressed syllable of the prominent word does not itself rise in pitch, but each of the following syllables is a step higher than the previous one, and the final pitch, medium in the case of the Low Rise and high in the case of the High Rise, is reached on the last syllable of the sense group. So whereas in the Low and High Fall the fall must be completed not later than the syllable immediately following the stressed syllable of the prominent word, in the Low and High Rise the rise is not complete until the end of the sense group. It may be noticed too that in the rising tunes, when the final syllable of the sense group is stressed (and only then), there is a tendency to slide upwards in pitch during the syllable, whereas there is no parallel tendency in the falling tunes. In the Fall-Rise the fall takes place during the stressed syllable of the prominent word (or from that syllable to the next) and the rise takes place on or from the last stressed syllable of the sense group.
E.g. I donít want it.
If there is no stressed syllable following the fall, then the rise takes place between the last two syllables.
Nucleus and tail.
The case we have just been discussing are important because all tunes, and not merely those with a single prominent word, must end in one of the ways described above. No matter how long or how short the sense group is, no matter how many or how few prominent words it contains, the pattern of its tune from the stressed syllable of the last prominent word onwards will correspond to one or other of the six general patterns. In the examples below all the prominent words are italicized and it can be seen that, although the tunes differ in various ways, the ending conform to the patterns already laid down.
Low Fall ending: I want to be absolutely sure about it.
High Fall ending: What on earth did you do that for, Peter?
Rise-Fall ending: I quite agree with you, my dear chap.
Low Rise ending: Would you like to come to the theatre with us?
High Rise ending: Itís not fair, did you say?
Fall Rise ending: I doubt whether that would be any good.
If, then, we know in general terms what tune we wish to use in saying any sense group, and if we can identify the stressed syllable of the last prominent word, we now know the exact pattern of the tuneís ending. Clearly the stressed syllable of the last prominent word is a landmark of the highest importance, and it is on this syllable that the whole tune centres. This syllable is called the nucleus of the tune, and syllables following the nucleus are called the tail. In our last example above the nucleus is that and the tail contains all the words would be any good.
The rises and falls which take place on the nucleus or start from it are known as nuclear tones, of which there are six, corresponding to the six tune endings already described. By definition there can be no prominent word in the tail, but the tail may contain stressed words; stress alone therefore, after the nucleus, does not imply accent. The last prominent word is accented, that is, made to stand out, not by stress alone, but by combination of stress and pitch features.
So far, in order to give a fairly complete picture of the intonation of our examples, we have used a graphic method of large and small dots. It is more convenient in practice to use a shorter and more economical method of marking the intonation. This consists of placing a single symbol immediately before the nucleus to indicate the nuclear tone; this symbol tells us, by its position and its shape, which syllable is the nucleus of the tune and which of the six main endings is to be used.
\ / Two.
\ / Twenty.
\ / Seventy.
Unstressed syllables in the tail have no separate symbol, but stressed syllables are marked, not because they make any difference to the intonation, but because they contribute to the rhythmical pattern of the sense group. The symbol [ ] is placed immediately before each stressed syllable on, or beginning on, the lowest pitch level, and the symbol [ ˙ ] before any stressed syllable which is higher than the lowest pitch.