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  • Today I'm going to talk about intonation. I've touched on this subject in various other

  • videos without ever explicitly defining it. And today, that's what we're going to do.

  • But I'm also going to reference these other videos, and I really encourage you to go watch

  • those as well. If you've seen my videos on word stress, then you've already heard me

  • talk a little about pitch. Stressed syllables will be higher in pitch, and often a little

  • longer and a little louder than unstressed syllables. And there are certain words that

  • will have a stress within a sentence, content words. And certain words that will generally

  • be unstressed, and those are function words. For information on that, I invite you to watch

  • those videos. Intonation is the idea that these different pitches across a phrase form

  • a pattern, and that those patterns characterize speech. In American English, statements tend

  • to start higher in pitch and end lower in pitch. You know this if you've seen my video

  • questions vs. statements. In that video, we learned that statements, me, go down in pitch.

  • And questions, me?, go up in pitch at the end. So these pitch patterns across a phrase

  • that characterize a language are little melodies. And the melodies of American English will

  • be very different than, for example, the melodies of Chinese. If you haven't already seen the

  • blog I did on the podcast Musical Language, I encourage you to take a look at that. It

  • talks about the melody of speech. Understanding and using correct intonation is a very important

  • part to sounding natural. Even if you're making the correct sounds of American English, but

  • you're speaking in the speech patterns, or intonation of another language, it will still

  • sound very foreign. Intonation can also convey meaning or an opinion, an attitude. Let's

  • take for example the statement 'I'm dropping out of school' and the response 'Are you serious?'

  • Are you serious? A question going up in pitch conveys, perhaps, an open attitude, concern

  • for the person. Are you serious? But, are you serious? Down in pitch, more what you

  • would expect of a statement, are you serious? The same words, but when it is intoned this

  • way, it is conveying a judgement. Are you serious, a negative one. I don't agree that

  • you should be dropping out of school. I'm dropping out of school. Are you serious? I'm

  • dropping out of school. Are you serious? With the same words, very different meanings can

  • be conveyed. So intonation is the stress pattern, the pitch pattern, of speech. The melody of

  • speech. If you've read my bio on my website, you know melody is something I'm especially

  • keen on, as I studied music through the master's level.

  • Yes, that was yours truly, thinking a lot about melody. Now, you know that in American

  • English, statements will tend to go down in pitch. Let's look at some examples. Here we

  • see two short sentences. Today it's sunny. I wish I'd been there. And you can see for

  • both of them, that the pitch goes down throughout the sentence. Here we have two longer sentences,

  • and though there is some up and down throughout the sentences, for both sentences, the lowest

  • point is at the end. I'm going to France next month to visit a friend who's studying there.

  • It's finally starting to feel like spring in New York. The software I used to look at

  • the pitch of those sentences is called Praat, and there's a link in the footer of my website.

  • So it's at the very bottom of every page. I hope you're getting a feel for how important

  • intonation is to sounding natural and native in American English. I hope you'll listen

  • for this as you listen to native speakers, and that if you haven't already done so, that

  • you'll go to my website and do some of those imitation exercises which loop patterns of

  • speech. So you hear them several times to get the melody in your ear before you're asked

  • to repeat. That's it, and thanks so much for using Rachel's English.

Today I'm going to talk about intonation. I've touched on this subject in various other

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美語發音:語調練習 American English Pronunciation: Intonation

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    Joanne Chang 發佈於 2013 年 08 月 15 日
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