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  1. #1
    symaa is offline Member
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    Question Tone, Intonation, and stress.

    Hello,


    I am a little bit confused about those suprasegmental features(tone, Intonation, and stress), because they may appear similar for me.


    As far as I know, Intonation may affect the whole sentence, whereas the tone affects only the syllable. Stress is described as the rhythm, intonation as the melody, and the tone is actually musical.

    Tone languages (Chinese for example) are those languages in which differences in tone might make differences in meaning (I don’t know whether English is included or not because stress also serves to distinguish meanings).




    Would you please tell me how I can distinguish between them?




    Thank you so much in advance.

  2. #2
    symaa is offline Member
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    Default Re: Tone, Intonation, and stress.

    Any idea or elucidation even if it doesn't exactly answer the question, please?
    Last edited by symaa; 25-Jun-2012 at 14:59.

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Tone, Intonation, and stress.

    Quote Originally Posted by symaa View Post
    Any idea or elucidation even if it doesn't exactly answer the question, please?
    NOT A TEACHER


    Hello, Symaa:

    1. A book entitled The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar by Ms. Sylvia Chalker and Mr. Edmund Weiner has the

    answers. I have the 1994 edition. Surely, there must be a newer edition. Maybe you can find a copy in a good library.

    Or online? I should credit Clarendon Press in Oxford, England.

    2. In a short post, I cannot report everything that it says. Furthermore, American and British copyright laws are very strict. But I

    think (and hope) that I can repeat a few things. Here goes.

    3. STRESS

    a. "Force or energy used in articulation of a syllable."

    b. Some words are distinguished by stress.

    i. EXports (noun) rose in the first quarter. But we still need to exPORT (verb) more.

    c. Secondary stress involves less energy and is heard as less loud.

    i. MICROcomputer. (primary stress + secondary stress)
    ii. antiAIRCRAFT (secondary + primary)

    4. INTONATION

    a. "The pitch variations and patterns in spoken language."

    i. Pitch = the perceived "height" of the human voice, depending on the rapidity of the vibrations of the vocal cords.

    b, [MY NOTE: this is very interesting] "Intonation plays a part in speech not unlike punctuation in the written language."

    c. You don't be[falling pitch]lieve me. = statement.
    You don't be[rising pitch]lieve me? = question.

    5. TONE

    a. a distinctive pitch.

    b. Different tones (pitch patterns) on an identical syllable can produce words of totally different meanings, as in

    Mandarin.

    c. English is a non-tone language. That is, objective meanings are not affected by intonation, ALTHOUGH different tones

    can convey different ATTITUDES.

    i. The book's example is "All right." It could mean many things, depending on how you say it.

    *****

    A personal note: I know a little (VERY little) Mandarin. Chinese language teachers often give this humorous example of

    how important tones are:

    Ma ma ma ma? Each "ma" has a different meaning depending on which of the four Mandarin tones you give it. In English,

    it means something like "Is Mother angry with the horse"? Whenever I TRY to speak Chinese, everyone laughs because

    I cannot remember the correct tones.

    *****

    Thank you for your question. I learned a lot.


    HAVE A NICE DAY!

  4. #4
    BrunaBC's Avatar
    BrunaBC is offline Member
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    Default Re: Tone, Intonation, and stress.

    I have to say, TheParser, that your explanations are always very clear and complete.

    You encourage students to ask, and not to be shy of their doubts. I believe we share the same thought that the one who

    possesses knowledge should never look down on the ones who are in search of it.

    Have a nice day you too.
    Last edited by BrunaBC; 25-Jun-2012 at 18:51.
    Not a teacher.

  5. #5
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Tone, Intonation, and stress.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    4. INTONATION

    a. "The pitch variations and patterns in spoken language."

    5. TONE

    a. a distinctive pitch.
    Hi, TheParser. I'm not sure I understand the difference between "the pitch variations and patterns in spoken language" and "a distinctive pitch". Does the book explain it?

  6. #6
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Tone, Intonation, and stress.

    Hello, Birdeen's call:


    Maybe I can quote a little more. After all, it is for academic purposes. And I did credit the authors and publisher.
    Here goes.

    INTONATION


    "The total meaning of a spoken utterance derives not only from the actual words and patterns of STRESS, but also from the PITCH patterns used (the rises and falls in pitch).

    "Intonation also has the important function of conveying attitude."

    TONE

    "In any complete utterance, however short, there is one particularly prominent syllable, prominent not only because it is stressed, but because it carries a change of pitch, usually a FALL or RISE ... but usually a LEVEL pitch."

    *****

    I really think that serious advanced students of English should seriously consider buying a copy of this book for
    their libraries. It is really so helpful as a general reference.



    HAVE A NICE DAY!

  7. #7
    symaa is offline Member
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    Default Re: Tone, Intonation, and stress.

    Thank you so much for such an illuminating answer. I highly appreciate all your answers as they are very well-detailed and really informative.

    Ma ma ma ma? Each "ma" has a different meaning depending on which of the four Mandarin tones you give it. In English, it means something like "Is Mother angry with the horse"?
    I've heard a chinese speaker prounoucing 'ma' in different tones. That was really amazing and unusual!
    Likewise the English language, if one misplaced the stress, s/he might be misunderstood (unlike French).
    I really think that serious advanced students of English should seriously consider buying a copy of this book for
    their libraries. It is really so helpful as a general reference.
    I wish I could , but as English is a foreign language in my country, it's really very difficult to find English books : (


    Much obliged and sorry for taking your time.

    Best regards,

  8. #8
    CarloSsS's Avatar
    CarloSsS is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Tone, Intonation, and stress.

    Quote Originally Posted by symaa View Post

    I wish I could , but as English is a foreign language in my country, it's really very difficult to find English books : (
    I'm sure there's a lot of e-shops where you can buy it. There's no need to restrict yourself to the stores and libraries in your country. Or is there?
    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

  9. #9
    raindoctor is offline Member
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    Default Re: Tone, Intonation, and stress.

    Quote Originally Posted by symaa View Post
    (I donít know whether English is included or not because stress also serves to distinguish meanings).
    Stress determines whether some two syllable word is a noun or verb. In some other two syllable words, the vowel quality (not the stress) determines whether it is a noun or verb.

    EFL and accent reduction materials discuss the first phenomena. Let me list words from the second category: segment, fragment, regiment, implement, etc. In this set, /-mɛnt/ is a verb, and /-mənt/ a noun. The hypothesis offered to account for both sets is this: when new nouns are derived from old verbs, the stress shifts; when new verbs are derived from old nouns, the vowel quality changes. This is from a paper, appeared in American Speech. I don't have it handy.

    English has tones: high fall, low fall, high rise, low rise, rise-fall, fall-rise. One can apply these tones on tonic syllables; these syllables are said to be nuclear accented then. The concept of nuclear accent is not used by British school. However, those British phoneticians, influenced by Americans, do use that: for instance, Robert Ladd and Geoff Lindsey.

    One can also spread these tones beyond the tonic syllable: that's where you hear concepts like head, onset, tail.

    The paper "Prosodic description: an introduction for fieldworkers" by Bob Ladd and others can shed some light on tone languages, pitch accented languages, intonationally pitch accented languages.

  10. #10
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Tone, Intonation, and stress.

    Quote Originally Posted by raindoctor View Post
    ...
    English has tones: high fall, low fall, high rise, low rise, rise-fall, fall-rise...
    Unarguably true. But that doesn't make English 'a tone language' in the sense that Chinese is. I can give, say, 'plough' any number of different tone patterns, but no tone pattern can ever make it mean 'bread' (as it does with ma - or is it ba...?)

    b

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