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Thread: Intonation

  1. #1
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Talking Intonation

    A British friend told me that I should try to speak English with stress.

    For example, I never like smoking.

    I would read it out rather average with each word. He suggested me that I read it out with stressing certain word of the sentence, such as 'never'.

    I never like smoking.

    --------------------------------

    My question is whether it sounds odd if I speak to my boss in English like this. My boss is not a native speaker of English, but from a Western country. His pronunication of English is clear for me. He doesn't stress any word when he speaks English. I think this is interesting so I bring it out here.
    Last edited by thedaffodils; 19-Sep-2009 at 06:42. Reason: fixed the title. tone -->intonation

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tone

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post
    My question is whether it sounds odd if I speak to my boss in English like this. My boss is not a native speaker of English, but from a Western country. His pronunication of English is clear for me. He doesn't stress any word when he speaks English. I think this is interesting so I bring it out here.
    I would say that it would sound very odd to your boss, unless you have co-workers who speak English with intonation. In any case, if your boss is used to hearing you speak monotonically, you will sound odd when you're practicing intonation.
    Why not try it, and let us know the outcome?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Tone

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I would say that it would sound very odd to your boss, unless you have co-workers who speak English with intonation. In any case, if your boss is used to hearing you speak monotonically, you will sound odd when you're practicing intonation.
    Why not try it, and let us know the outcome?
    Thank you for your reply.

    English is main language in our office in China. My boss doesn't require we must speak perfect English like native speakers do. Chinglish is okay for our foreign coworkers, if we understand each other.

    I guess my boss would not comment on my intonation, even if he felt it odd.

    I like British accent. I hope to imitate it.

    Do you think most native speakers speak English with intonation? Would it sound better for you too if I speak English with intonation?
    My British friend said most Chinese speak English monotonically. That makes people feel boring. I think it is due of the charactistics of Chinese language. When I tried to speak English with some intonation after his advice, my British friend said it sounded better with intonation.
    Last edited by thedaffodils; 19-Sep-2009 at 06:45.

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    Default Re: Tone

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post

    Do you think most native speakers speak English with intonation?
    All native speakers use intonation.It is not as crucial to meaning as the tones in a tonal language like Mandarin, but emphasis, stress, intonation, prosody - whatever you call it - is very important in communicating attitude and context.
    The only native speakers who wouldn't use intonation are people with autism, or some amount of brain damage, or laryngeal disease, or other condition causing a speech impediment.

    Do any native Chinese speak Mandarin without tones?

    Would it sound better for you too if I speak English with intonation?

    Yes, you should try to emulate English intonation.

    My British friend said most Chinese speak English monotonically. That makes people feel boring. I think it is due of the charactistics of Chinese language. When I tried to speak English with some intonation after his advice, my British friend said it sounded better with intonation.
    You should certainly use intonation. It is part of the language. It's not an accessory that you can add on or leave off, although it may be in Chinglish, which I have little experience of.

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    Default Re: Intonation

    Thank you for replying my question.

    I also appreciate that British friend pointed out this problem of my English. I will try to imitate British intonation.


    P.S. I misused 'tone' as I referred to intonation. Mandarin has tones, but doesn't have intonation in conversation except people read out a poem or are very excited, angry, etc.

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    Default Re: Intonation

    We certainly do use intonation inflections. We usually use a tonic accent on the word signifying the least obvious part, the part most in question, the part that is newest to the listener.

    I stole your ipod. (Everyone knew your ipod had been stolen, we just didn't know who did it."

    I stole your ipod. (Everyone can see I stole someone's, we just didn't know whose."

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    Default Re: Intonation

    If I don't want to stress anything, I simply told peple a piece of info.

    For example, I am leaving soon. See you tomorrow.

    How do I apply innotation in the sentences as above?

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    Default Re: Intonation

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post
    P.S. I misused 'tone' as I referred to intonation. Mandarin has tones, but doesn't have intonation in conversation except people read out a poem or are very excited, angry, etc.
    I know. I was trying to say that an English native speaker speaking without intonation would be something like a native Mandarin speaker not using tones while speaking Mandarin.

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    Default Re: Intonation

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post
    ____________________________
    I am leav\ing so/on. See you to\morrow.
    There's one way. You really need sound files for this.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Intonation

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I know. I was trying to say that an English native speaker speaking without intonation would be something like a native Mandarin speaker not using tones while speaking Mandarin.
    I got your point finally. Thank you.

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