Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Teaching Intonation

Students love rules and want the 'rules' for intonation. However there are only guidelines for intonation patterns as intonation and meaning are closely linked.

Falling intonation is suppposed to be used at the end of a statement but what about the dreaded Australian high-rising terminal. "Wh" questions have a falling tone but then again it rises if you are clarifying information.

What's the time? (falling)


What's the time? ( rising)

Tag questions, for example "You're going to the movies tonight, aren't you?" can have a rise or a fall on the tag. The meaning completly changes.

Students can sound too aggressive or too passive or tentative if they are not using the right intonation pattern. It makes a huge difference to their rhythm and the intended meaning of their speech and is much easier to learn and embed in their everyday speech than 'th'