The term intonation implies variations of pitch, force of utterance and tempo. Variants of pitch are produced by significant moves of the voice up and down. The force, component of intonation, is measured by the degree of loudness of syllables that determines the prominence of the words. The tempo is determined by the rate of speech and the length of pauses.
Intonation is a complex unity of variations in pitch, stress, tempo and timbre.
- The pitch component of intonation, or melody is the changes in the pitch of the voice in connected speech.
- Sentence stress or accent is the greater prominence of one or more words among other words in the same sentence.
- Tempo is the relative speed with which sentences and intonation groups are pronounced in connected speech
Speech timbre is a special colouring of voice, which shows the speaker's emotions, i.e. pleasure, displeasure, sorrow, etc. It is sometimes considered to be one of the components of the intonation.
We must point out that of the three components of the intonation pattern pitch is the most significant one
- A declarative sentence is generally pronounced with a falling intonation (“I like it.”).
- General question is spoken with a rising intonation (“Did you come?” ).
- Special question is spoken with a falling intonation (“What is his name?”).
- Alternative question is generally pronounced with a rising intonation in the first part and a falling intonation in the second (“Do you live in town or in the country?”, ).
- The first part of the disjunctive question is spoken with a falling intonation and the second – with a rising intonation (“You are not tired, are you?", ).
- Imperative sentences are characterized by a falling tone (“Stop talking!" ).
- Requests and invitations are characterized by a rising intonation (“Do come to see me tomorrow.” ).
- An exclamatory sentence is generally spoken with a falling intonation (“What fine weather!)
Much of what people say depends on the situation they are in.Language means are characterized by a certain pattern of selection and arrangement.
Style, in sociolinguistics, is a variety of a language which is associated with social context and which differs from other styles in terms of their formality.
Styles can thus be ranged from very formal to highly informal or colloquial. The choice of an intonational style is determined primarily by the purpose of communication.
We may single out the following intonational styles: informational, academic (scientific), publicistic (oratorial), declamatory (artistic), conversational (familiar).