Pronouncing the Phoneme for a Foreign Speaker of English



Roach (1983) describes four functions of intonation as he explains how speakers employ intonation to communicate effectively. The first is the attitudinal function of intonation, which allows people to convey their emotions through a particular tone. For instance, if one can say ´Good luck’ in such a way as to convey genuine enthusiasm for someone’s prospects, or else utter the same words in a sarcastic way which betrays one’s envy for that other person. Prosodic (loudness, speed, pitch range), sequential (pauses, tonic syllables), and paralinguistic (body language) components play a great part in this function. The accentual function of intonation serves to convey stressed syllables. Usually, tonic syllables are used to convey information. For example, in ´I’m taking the children to the cinema’, the ´tonic stress’ (Roach, p. 183) would be on the word ´cinema’, since it provides information which the speaker needs to stress. The grammatical function of intonation serves to indicate the syntactic aspects of a language and to clarify certain ambiguities. One could ask, ´The exam’s tomorrow, isn’t it?’ either by employing falling intonation in the tag question (so that the speaker is merely asking for confirmation) or by employing a rising intonation, so that the speaker demonstrates doubt about the statement. The other function Roach describes is the discourse function, where intonation gives indications about the context of an utterance. Stress tends to be placed on words that convey unexpected information, for instance, "He is actually studying".