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Intonation is the music of the language.  In English, we use tone to signal emotion, questioning, and parts of the sentence among many other things.  It's important to recognize the meaning behind the tones used in everyday speech, and to be able to use them so that there are no misunderstandings between the speaker and the listener.  It is generally true that mistakes in pronunciation of sounds can be overlooked, but mistakes in intonation make a lasting impression. Intonation has always been a difficult thing to define. According to traditional descriptions, intonation is «the melody of speech», and is to be analysed in terms of variations in pitch. Intonation is said to indicate the attitudes and emotions of the speaker, so that a sentence like 'I think

it's time to go now' can be said in a happy way, a sad way, an angry way, and so on. While this is certainly true, there is clearly more than just pitch varia­tion involved in conveying such things, so the definition of inton­ation becomes considerably more complicated. It is clear that when we are expressing emotions, we also use different voice qualities, different speaking rates, facial expressions, gestures, and so on. We must indicate what type of information tye are presenting and how it is structured, and at the same time we must keep our listeners' attention and their participation in the exchange of information. Communicative interaction would be much more difficult without intonation: think how many misunderstandings between people arise in the exchange of e-mail

messages, where intonation cannot play a role. In In English, as in many other languages, pitch is an important com­ponent of accentuation, or prominence, both at the level of individual words and at the level of longer utterances. In general, we distinguish between pitches which are relatively steady-state, i.e. which do not change level perceptibly, and those which change by stepping or slid­ing up or down to another pitch level, as illustrated in the figure below. English intonation characteristically slides or transitions gradually from one pitch level to the next rather than stepping up or down abruptly from one pitch level to the next. Thus, English intonation is best repre­sented by "humps" and "waves" rather than by "angles" and

"steps". Sliding contour Stepping contour SHAPE \* MERGEFORMAT If we look at a typical example, we would expect a falling pitch pattern on a statement like this: You are from London SHAPE \* MERGEFORMAT but a rising pitch pattern if the same words are used as a question: You are from London? SHAPE \* MERGEFORMAT Other examples of meaning being changed by differences in intonation are - the difference between She won`t go out with anyone SHAPE \* MERGEFORMAT and She won`t go out with anyone Is the first one (with a falling movement on «any») says that she will go out with nobody, while the second (with a falling-rising pitch movement) says that she is careful about who she goes with. The pitch of the voice is determined by the frequency with which the vocal cords

vibrate., The frequency of vibration of the vocal cords is in turn determined by their thickness their length and their tension. The modal pitch of the voice, i.e. one's natural average pitch level, depends on the size of the vocal cords. In general, men have thicker and longer vocal cords than women and children do. As a result, the modal pitch of a man's voice is generally lower than that of a woman or a child. In addition to its modal pitch, every individual voice has a pitch range which can be achieved by adjustments of the vocal cords. By tightening the vocal cords, a person can raise the pitch of the voice (vocal pitch); by loosening them, one can lower vocal pitch. There is also a natural variation in pitch associated with the amount of air that is expended during speech.