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  1. #1
    franorfulang is offline Newbie
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Rising, falling etc intonation


    I'm planning my oral classes for this semester (Chinese uni. students) and came across this as a good way to help with intonation - basically using humming, (or maybe la la la la) so students can forget pronunciation and focus upon intonation instead (student A hums a sentence, and student B chooses the correct reply)...

    Student A
    Student B
    I like pizza, pickles, and chips.
    (list intonation)

    Not all together, I hope.
    Would you prefer coffee or tea?
    (choice intonation)

    Tea, please.
    Would you like some ice cream and cake?
    (double-rising intonation)

    No, thank you. I'm not hungry.
    Next week we are flying to Rome.
    (falling intonation)

    Really? How long will you be there?
    Is he going to the dentist?
    (rising intonation)

    Yes. He has a toothache.

    Sounds of English

    But having read all of these sentences out myself (as an English native speaker) I don't feel that my intonation matches the tones that are given above. Maybe it's based more upon American intonation patterns, and English is pretty different. More-over I am unable to say exactly what my tones are...

    Is there anywhere to hear examples of rising/falling etc..

    And can anyone think of (or know where to find) examples of other common intonation patterns? I'm attracted to the above exercise due to it's simplicity, sometimes I can read realms about intonation, but little is applicable in class (not if the students want to do any talking anyway)...

    Any help on this would be really appreciated! I've got to plan all 17 weeks in detail before next weekend is over!! Thanks

  2. #2
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Re: Rising, falling etc intonation

    I think this is a great idea - music uses the other side of the brain, and to "hear" any language that way will help show nuances.

    I just think your sentences are too long.

    Keep them short and obvious.

    Imperative, declarative, interrogative, exclamatory - all can be demonstrated by sound!

    What is your name?
    My name is John.
    His name is John.
    His name is John!

    Good luck

  3. #3
    franorfulang is offline Newbie
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Re: Rising, falling etc intonation

    Thanks for your reply. I would like to work on longer utterances with my students, after 8 years of study they should be able to.. in real life they have to use longer sentences too. But I agree that shorter ones are a better starting point and can demonstrate more clearly. However, to teach some kind of 'choice' intonation, it needs to be a bit longer..

    The problem I'm having though is deciding how to describe the intonation that will be modelled. Taking your example of an exclamatory 'his name is john!', should I just model it myself, without description, and have this as a model for all exclamatory utturances, or is there actuallly another model/ a range of models for exclamatory intonation, that I should teach. When I read 'is he going to the dentist' out loud, this doesn't sound like a "rising" intonation (whatever that means).

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