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INTONATION

Some of the singularities of intonation, as an aspect of language (not as a music aspect), play an important role to the right interpretation of what we say or hear. Daily, intonation is perceived, understood and used, in many cases, in an unconscious way by us. A specific intonation would be enough to express attitude, views, doubts, and requests, for example. But intonation could be a useful tool in order to make deductions without the slightest doubt and ask permission, too. There are countless definitions for intonation, and all of them coincide at some aspects, but this time, as prelude to a better understanding of some singularities of intonation, let`s form our own intonations definition from two previous ones. In this respect, Gerald Kelly (2000) states that the term intonation refers to the way the voice goes up and down in pitch when we are speaking (p. 86). This author (ibidem) explains that intonation is a fundamental part of the way we express our own thoughts and it enables us to understand those of others, too. This explanation emphasizes the essential importance of intonation to reach both a good understanding and communication when we are speaking. In a similar way to the Kellys definition, the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines intonation as the rise and fall of the voice in speaking, especially as this affects the meaning of what is being said (p. 626). So far, by means of comparison and integration from these two previous definitions we can deduce, by ourselves and for good that intonation is: The changing intensity or degree of our voice at the moment of speaking, which has a significant influence upon how is interpreted what we say or what we are said. Additionally, according to Kelly (ibidem), Although certain aspects of intonation may be common to many languages, some of the ways in which intonation is used may be specific to particular ones (p.87). Among some comparison examples mentionated by Kelly, supporting this said above, we can find that, Scandinavian languages, for example, tend to

pronounce unstressed syllables on a higher pitch than stressed ones, whereas we usually do the reverse in English. With a certain degree of resemblance, this author carries on with an example of the particular Italian intonation when he explains: Italian tends to change the order of words in a sentence to stress a particular word where we would do this through intonation. And his examples finish explaining that Spanish intonation tends to have a noticeably narrower range than English. Kelly (ibidem) provides more details about the singularities of intonation, explaining that More recent theories, particularly by David Brazil, analyze how intonation relates to the surrounding discourse, rather than specifically to grammar o attitude. This means that intonation could depend on (in some cases) the particular context of a conversation being it expressed in a falling or in a rising way at the time of conveying ideas and information. Some instances of this, taken from the Kelly`s work are: For Information questions with Who, what, where, etc:-Falling intonation (if being asked for the first time), e.g. What`s your name? What`s the time? Where do you live? For Questions expecting a yes/no answer: Rising intonation (Is it the blue one? Have you got a pen?) For Statements: Falling (He lives in the house on the corner. It`s over there.) For Imperatives: Falling (Sit down. Put it on the table.) For Question tags expecting confirmation: Falling (Youre French, arent you? Hes very tall, isnt he?) For Question tags showing less certainty: Raising (Youre French, arent you? Your train leaves at six, doesnt it?) For Lists of items: Rising, rising and finally falling (You need a pen, a pencil and some paper. The stall sells ribbon, beads, elastic and buttons.) (p.89). All these examples by Kelly (ibidem) show us that intonation has connections between patterns and particular types of grammatical structure, but these are generalizations rather than rules

Our final singularity of intonation to be considered is the close relationship between attitude and intonation. This bond deserves to be mentioned because intonation varies according to the speaker`s attitude towards a situation. A clear example of this is the simple sentence That would be nice proposed as an example by Kelly in the case of a response to an invitation. Kelly explains that the range of what attitude this sentence could express is pretty extensive, going from enormous enthusiasm, mild pleasure, surprise, relief, sarcasm and boredom to amongst other possibilities. In this case we must deduce that intonation contributes, in a sort of alliance with our attitude, to how a message is delivered and understood, setting a possibility of misunderstanding it or not. Therefore, in order to conclude, we must not forget intonation is an important aspect of our communication, which we have to consider if we want to interpret or produce a message without neither misunderstanding nor bearing disastrous consequences.

REFERENCES -Kelly, Gerald (2000). How to teach pronunciation. Pearson Education Limited. -Oxford University (1995).Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary. Fifth edition. Oxford University Press.