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Intonation

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Intonation is the melody of language and comes from the ups and downs of pitch and stress in a language. This
rising and falling melody is used to communicate our intentions and our emotions. In English, a stressed syllable is longer, clearer, stronger and often higher in pitch than an unstressed syllable. Intonation also gives information that words alone cannot give. It can indicate anger, surprise, confusion, hesitation, sarcasm, interest, or lack of interest. If your speech has good intonation it will be more dynamic and more interesting to listen to.

Falling Intonation
Lower your voice at the end of the sentence to produce a “falling intonation.” This intonation
is used for a variety of reasons:

Statements
Falling intonation is used in simple sentences that are not questions. For example:

– My name is John.
– It’s nice to meet you.
– Have a nice day.
– I’m going outside.
– I’ll be back in a minute.

Questions
Falling intonation is also used when asking questions if they contain interrogative words such
as where, what, why, when, how, and who. For example:

– What’s his name?
– What are you thinking about?
– How are you doing?
– When does it start?
– Who told you?

Rising Intonation
Raise the pitch of your voice at the end of a sentence to create “rising intonation.” Rising intonation is used in “yes/no questions.” For example, “Did you see it?” is a “yes/no” question. It can be answered with either a “yes” or a “no.” Compare that question with this one: “When did you see it?” this one cannot be answered by a simple “yes” or “no.”

Practice Sentences
1. Did he work yesterday?
2. Does he know about it?
3. Can you call me at five?
4. Is it good?
5. Is that it?
6. Excuse me?
7. Really?