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Stress And Intonation With Words And Linguistics British Language Essay

When we pay attention to understand someone talking with us, we understand as much from the way the voice goes up & down once we do from the genuine combinations of vowels & consonants. Certainly your dog trained to respond to certain utterances will continue to answer if the vowels & consonants are slightly altered but all factors held constant. Many of us as children have played out the overall game of talking without words-carrying on a fairly prolonged dialogue of 'Mmmmm?' 'Mmmmmmmmm! & etc. Or we have listened to one end of the telephone conversation the finish audible to us consisting almost exclusively of grunts, & when the loudspeaker finally puts down the telephone we are able to say, "That dint sound too good, whats the problem?" basing our interpretation on the voice patterns rather than on any real words. Again the interpretation of your sentence such as ' John says Mary is a fool ' will depend entirely on tone of voice teams to reveal whether it is John or Mary who is a fool. The tone tunes are sometimes partially represented in the written language by the existence of or lack of punctuation: 'John, says Mary, is a fool' would be an alternative solution written interpretation. But the written language will not always offer even this help. Inside the written terminology, without further framework, 'The dangerous medication cupboard' could be either 'the cupboard where the dangerous drugs are kept' or ' the drugs cupboard which is dangerous, whereas the spoken dialect will almost invariably make enough variation for this is to be quite clear. Similarly, 'He's a good workman, do you say?' is neutral in written words, but may take a number of meanings from question or factual inquiry to incredulity in the spoken language. The two factors which give spoken words greater flexibility are the factors of STESS & INTONATION. They are more complex in English than was realised until a relatively short time before, and even more thorough accounts now publicized are only incomplete and in a few areas, doubtful description.


Technically, it isn't easy to describe stress; nearly few native British speakers have a problem in at least realizing it when they hear I t, so that for occasion they can let you know that in forget the second syllable is stressed and then later the first syllable is pressured. If asked to say that they know most people will say that the relevant syllable is louder that the other, and for present purposes this could very well be enough. A anxious syllable in a word therefore the one that is heard as louder than others. It will, however, be noted that this is not really a wholly accurate account of expression stress, only a convenient short hand as an intro to the subject. Using this, it isn't problematic for the native presenter to mark the stressed syllable in isolated term as is shown below. ( can be used immediately before the stressed syllable).

for get happy better a lone

husband or in longer words

unacknowledged fas tidious agonisingly

adminis tration tele eyesight (television)

Apart from a few words like tv set, controversy(controversy or con troversy) where use tends to range, there is a normal stress in each expression recognized and accompanied by all native speakers. As has been seen in these few samples, however, there is an English no person uniform place for the stress- it may be on the first, last, penultimate or indeed any syllable, so that if we meet an isolated new term with which we are quiet unfamiliar we are likely to be in difficulty over where you can put the strain.

This lack of limitation on the putting of the stress causes considerable challenges to foreigners whose own vocabulary regularly places stress in the same position. Up to now the chapter handled word stress that is where the stress is positioned on isolated words. What is perhaps more important is rhythmic stress, which might be obscure, or even conflict with normal word stress in a stream of speech.


It is necessary to make differentiation between word stress and rhythmic stress. While any phrase pronounced in isolation will have a stress, or stress on particular syllables, it isn't true that in normal running speech any expression will always have a stress at all.

For example:

I (a) heading. Phrase stress on first syllable going.

(b)I'm going whether you prefer it or not. Tonic syllable 'go', stress as on term in isolation.

(c ) I'm not going to tell you. No stress whatsoever on 'go', since tonic is now on 'tell'.

II(a) over. Word stress on first syllable o.

(b) Over you decide to go Tonic syllable o, stress as on expression in isolation.

(c) It's over an hour since we came up. No stress on 'o', since tonic now on 'hour'.

The propensity in British is to select nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives and pro nouns for stressing, according to the degree of importance we wish to attach to them but there is absolutely no invariable rule either these parts of conversation should be pressured. Among the primary characteristics of English conversation however, is the occurrence of rhythmic stress. This means briefly, that British speakers tend to stress syllable at about at equal spaces in time so the decision concerning which syllable have to be stressed depends partly on so this means and partially on timing. One final result is the fact that if the meaning appears to demand two anxious syllable in close proximity, they will tend to be spaced when you are made more slowly and intentionally, whereas if the lot of unimportant syllables happen between two which stress is sensed to be necessary, they will have a tendency to be spoken quickly.

For Example: Compare:

In a short while dear

10 minutes only

Here the four syllables in in several of' will most likely take only as much time tyo say as ten'.

It might take a little practice to choose a pressured a syllables in the longer intonation communities, but it isn't really not difficult. It is simple and obvious in some poetry

humpty dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty dumpty possessed a great fall season,

The rhythms of common speech will be more delicate and less thumping, but obviously are present. The forigeriner who does not learn them will always sound a foreigner how ever impeccable in theory his vowels and consonants; this can be applied particularly to the foreigner who insist upon stressing what are normally unstressed vulnerable syllables since the fact they are stressed distorts the genuine vowel quality.


Given a assortment of words, say 'love', 'John' and 'Mary' and a structural pattern which arranges them as 'John enjoys Mary' you have interpretation. But only, up to now, area of the interpretation. We will, when hearing the speaker, probably be able to ascertain that the speaker:

Thinks that statement reports a fact; or

Is querying whether it's in reality John (or someone else) who is in love with Mary; or

Is querying whether John is in love with Mary (or another person); or

Is querying whether John loves her (or only loves her, or is aware of her); or

Is stating that it is John, (rather than anyone else) who adores Mary; or

Is stating that it is Mary, (not Jane, )that John loves; or

Is stating that it is John loves John adores Mary (doesn't hate her, or just like her).

In addition we may also find out that the speaker:

Disapproves of the complete business; or

Is delighted with the news headlines; or

Is uninterested in the news headlines; or

Is skeptical of the news;

In the situation of (a) to (g) the interpretation is based on the guidelines of the English language that are as consistence and forceful as the guidelines which say that ' love' means one thing and 'hate' another or that 'I' is followed by 'am' rather than 'is'. The fact these tune guidelines have not yet been totally codified or detailed will not invalidate this assertion since it has been realized that in many ways there is absolutely no complete information of any modern English rules, whether of grammar or intonation. The analysis of British intonation is still incomplete. Similar guidelines should be applied to supply the interpretations recommended in (h)-(k) and other utterances like these, but here the interpretation by the hearer will probably rely on other features as well. They are the features may include gesture, cosmetic appearance and other tone features which are occasionally called Paralinguistic's, these features includes specific things like the quality of the voice-creaky, husky, whispery and so on, or even the achievement of other non speech may seem such as giggles, laughter, , sobs or snorts.

As far as (a)-(g) are concerned, it'll be concern seen that the varying interpretations put on 'John loves Mary', were modifications of reality. With (h) - (k) the variants were of the frame of mind of the speaker towards the actual fact. Written language, through punctuation and devices such as italicising can often indicate the variations of factual interpretation, however the attitudinal deviation will normally only be evidently from framework, or by the addition of some such feedback as ' said Philip with a laugh', ' or she said incredulously'. The way in which these variance are damaged in conversation, is by means of voice 'tunes'. The stretch over which any one tune can be used is called an intonation group.

In each intonation group you will see one syllable which, as it were, needs the brunt of the tune. Upon this syllable, which is pressured, the primary change of pitch, growing, falling, growing and falling, falling and increasing, is read, though other syllable near it could lead up to or away from the primary pitch path. This syllable is named the tonic, or nucleus. By varying the choice of tonic syllable within the intonation group, the meaning of the group is changed. It is therefore to say a falling tune tends to sound particular and complete, indicating that the loudspeaker is treating what he says as a self contained, separate item appealing this pertains to low falling, high falling and go up falling tones. Which has a rising music it is less easy to generalize; some low growing tunes invite a response and for that reason incompletes sounding, others sound reassuring. The high increasing tune on the other hand nearly always will suggest a question many European languages. The show up rising tunes has many uses about which it is difficult to generalize. Combinations of these various music are further more possible ' so the number tunes available to express behaviour is very large therefore is the degree of subtlety of attitude which may be indicated by intonations.

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