The definition of intonation in its problematic character.

Intonation is a language universal. It is a powerful means of communication process. Some linguists define intonation as variations of melody, others as variations of stress and melody. From our point of view, intonation is a complex unity of melody, stress and tempo, which are closely related. Nowadays there is another term “prosody” which embraces the three prosodic components and substitutes the term “intonation.” It is widely used in linguistic literature .Each syllable of the speech chain has a special pitch colouring. Some of the syllables have significant moves of tone: up and down. Each syllable bears a definite amount of loudness. Together with the tempo of speech they form an intonation pattern which is the basic unit of intonation. An intonation pattern contains one nucleus and may contain other stressed or unstressed syllables normally preceding or following the nucleus. Intonation patterns serve to actualize syntagms in speech, which are called intonation groups. Each intonation group may consist of one or more syntagms. The nuclear tone is the most important part of the intonation pattern without which it cannot exist at all. According to R. Kingdon the most important nuclear tones in English are: Low Fall- No; High Fall – No; Low Rise – No; High Rise – No; Fall Rise – No. With the help of intonation groups intonation may convey different emotions and feelings, it exists in grammatical categories. Intonation manifests itself by means of prosodic units: a syllable, a rhythmic unit, an intonation group, an utterance. The smallest possible prosodic unit is a syllable. It may consist of one or two sounds.The syllable has no meaning of its own. The next prosodic unit is a rhythmic unit. The stressed syllables of a rhythmic unit form peaks of prominence, they tend to be pronounced in such Germanic languages as English and German, as well as in Russian, at regular intervals producing” beats” between every two stressed syllables. Such languages are called to be stressed- timed. Form words are usually unstressed ( prepositions, conjunctions, auxiliary and modal verbs, personal and possessive pronouns are pronounced in their weak forms). Notional words, such as nouns, notional verbs, adjectives, adverbs. The rhythmic unit also contains a number of unstressed syllables, which are called clitics. The initial unstressed syllables that precede the nucleus are called proclitics, those that follow the nucleus are called enclitics. The enclitic tendency is more typical of English. The rhythmic groups are not meaningful. The next prosodic unit is intonation group, which is very often referred as a “syntagm” or “sense- group” as it is meaningful. The intonation group is a stretch of speech which may have the length of the whole phrase. The boundaries of an intonation group may be marked by stops of phonation,(temporal pauses). Utterance, being the next group, is perceived as a rhythmically organized segment of speech. Minimally, the utterance may consist of a nucleus only, maximally, it consists of a Pre- Head, Head, Nucleus and Tail. All prosodic units are arranged taxonomically, while Pre- head, Head, Nucleus and Tail are autonomous. Prosodic subsystems are the components of intonation. The pitch (melody) is the main component of intonation. It manifests itself through the pitch variations upwards and downwards. The leading role in differentiating communicative types of utterances belongs to the terminal tone. Various combinations of the characteristics of the Pre-head, Head, (scale) and the terminal tone (Nucleus) form complicated and numerous melodic structures (intonation patterns). In English there are ten basic melodic tone – groups (O.Connor, G. Arnold ) A special prominence given to one or more words in an utterance is called u. stress. The distribution of stresses in an utterance depends on several factors. G. Torsuev points to the following factors: semantic, grammatical and rhythmical. The semantic centre of the utterance is singled out by the nuclear stress, where notional words are stressed and form- words are unstressed. The grammatical structure of the utterance also determines its accentual structure. The distribution of stresses in an u. is also affected by the rhythmical laws of the English language. All these factors are closely connected with one another, the semantic factor being the main one. Rhythm has been defined as regularity of stressed and unstressed syllables. As it has already been mentioned English has a stress –timed rhythm, it performs important linguistic functions, and it is the most important organizing factor. The tempo of speech is the rate at which utterances and their smaller units are pronounced. Tempo of speech may be determined by different factors. It may depend on the size of audience, the acoustic qualities of the room, the individuality of the speaker and extra linguistic factors. It also depends on changes in meaning. The tempo can also be used to express the speakers’ attitude or emotions. Everybody’s speech has some norms of tempo, duration, which affect the meaning. The speech is divided into units of different length and by means of pauses. Its function is to segment connected speech into utterances and intonation groups to delimit them from one another. Pauses are closely related with tempo. Phoneticians distinguish 3 main types of pauses: silent pauses, pauses of perception and voiced p. Intonation perform a number of functions. 1. The constitutive function. Intonation forms utterances as communicative units. It forms all communicative types- statements, questions, imperatives, exclamations and modal types. 2. The distinctive function manifests itself in several particular functions, depending on the meaning. These functions are: communicative- distinctive, modal – distinctive, culminative, syntactical- distinctive. 3. Identificatory function is to provide a basis for the hearer’s identification of the communicative and modal type of an utterance.

The notation systems.

Notation systems of prosodic phenomena are equally important both for research work and language teaching. There is a wide variety of notations that are used in printed matter ( paper, articles, textbooks….). Any system of notation is a generalization of a great variety of important sound phenomena, depending on which the notation may be broad or narrow. A broad notation reflects only the most important prosodic features by using the fewest possible symbols. A narrow notation is intended for a more detailed and precise analysis. There is a number of means to denote prosodic features: the musical notation(J.Fonagy and I.Magdics), interlinear staves with dots, dashes and arrows (L.Armstrong and I. Ward, D. Jones), the head and nucleus system (H.Palmer), the tonetic stress-mark system (R.Kingdon), the intonation-mark system (G.Trager and H.Smith, M. Halliday). Until recently intonation was defined as pitch movement (or melody) alone. Musical symbols are used even now. But such a notation is unsatisfactory for practical aims because it is difficult to read. The next important system was a notation within the lines of the text (H. Palmer), who used arrows to mark the pitch change in the nucleus. Small dots correspond to unstressed syllables and thick dots to mark the stressed syllables. H. Palmer’s tonetic system reflects his so-called | head- nucleus| approach to intonation, in which the central unit is the tone group consisting of pre-head, head, nucleus and tail. His notation system was accepted by many English scholars ( D. Jones, L. Armstrong, I.Ward and others. A rather accurate system was developed by R. Kingdon. It is known as the tonetic stress-mark system. R.Kingdon considers stress to be a very important factor. He distinguishes stressed syllables of two kinds: Static Tones and Kinetic Tones (the High Rising Tone, the Low Rising Tone, the High Falling Tone, the Low Falling Tone, Undivided- the Falling-Rising Tone, Divided- the Falling—Rising Tone, the Rising-Falling Tone, the Rising- Falling- Rising Tone.). The tonetic stress-mark system is economical, convenient and rather precise. An interlinear system uses a minimum of symbols (every syllable is represented by a dot, or a line or an arrow.). A notation system devised by D. Crystal Includes symbols to mark various degrees of pitch variation, pitch range, pause, loudness, speed, rhythmicality and tension. The symbols can be grouped into features noted in the text and features in the margin. But it is rather complicated. The American linguists have different notation systems. (K. Pike presents American English intonation in terms of 4 pitch levels, 3 terminal contours |kontuez| and 4 stress phonemes. D.Bolinger considers that the configurations of pitches are linguistically relevant.

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