Intonation is defined as the variation in pitch. It is sometimes also defined as the music of any language.
Intonation can be further divided depending on the part of message. This is because the entire meaning of the sentence changes by stressing on different words in a sentence. It is further classified as follows:
- Tonic Stress:
In this, the first half of the content word is stressed i.e. stress is applied to syllable. Such a syllable is known as tonic syllable. For example,
I am driving.
I am driving to Carter Road.
In the above two examples, content word will change. This is because in the first example it stresses on ‘what are you doing?’ and in the second example it stresses on ‘where are you going?’.
- Emphatic Stress:
In this, the specific word(s) is/are stressed changing the meaning of the sentence.
I am very upset.
I will surely do it.
In the above two examples, underlined words are emphatic in nature. Following are few other words that are emphatic in nature:
Definitely, indeed, absolutely, terrific, terribly, extremely, quite, enough, barely, especially, alone, completely, truly, pretty, really, etc.
- Contrastive Stress:
In this, stress is imposed on the word in a sentence to which there is an alternative or if there is more than one correct answer. For example,
Do you want to do this or that?
- New Information Stress:
In this, response to a wh – question is stressed in a sentence. For example,
- What is plan for today?
- I am going for a movie today.
In the above example, stress is given on movie as the question inquires about the today’s plan.
- Statement Intonation:
For this, pausing techniques are used where pause is indicated by a slash sign.
Ashoka the great / becomes the Emperor.
The Earth / is like a great big magnet.
- Question Intonation:
In this, open – ended question are pronounced with a falling tone. For example,
When are you leaving?
What are you working on?
Whereas close – ended questions are pronounced with a rising tone. For example,
Would you like to have cold drink?
Are you going for a movie?