Non-final Intonation

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  • You have already learned about falling and rising intonation in 'Final Intonation' unit.

  • This lesson introduces a new intonation pattern, the fall-rise .

  • Fall-rise intonation has two important uses in English:

    1. It is used when speakers have reservations about what they are saying. So if a speaker says “I’d really enjoy going” with a fall-rise, it may sound like, “I’d really enjoy going, but I’m not sure I can”.

    2. The second use of fall-rise is to tell your listener that you are not finished speaking yet, that you have more to say.
  • Learning to hear and say fall-rise will help you in your ability to speak and understand English.

  • Warmup - Part 1 As you listen to each of the four phrases in the conversation, think about what is intended. Tell whether the phrase is:

  • a statement of fact about the speaker;
  • an invitation to the listener;
  • an apology for giving up an unexpected response

  • A: I'm hungry1. Are you?2

    B: Well, not really...3 I just ate an apple.4

    ***Discuss your choice for each phrase with the rest of the class.

    Warmup - Part 2 Now listen to the conversation again, paying attention to the intonation of each phrase. There are three intonations in this dialogue, fall, rise, and a new one (other). Click the intonation you hear for each line.

    Correct :)
    Incorrect :(

    A: I'm hungry. fall rise other
            Are you? fall rise other
    B: Well, not really... fall rise other
           I just ate an apple. fall rise other
  • In 'Final Intonation' chapter, you learned about the fall and rise intonations. Another important intonation is the fall-rise.

  • In the fall-rise, the melody falls incompletely (a short fall) after the pitch jump. It may also have a small rise at the end of the short fall.

  • Unlike the “fall” intonation, which drops to a lower pitch and has a sense of completion, the “fall-rise” feels unfinished, as if there is more to be said.

  • Placeholder image  

    Exercise 1 Each word in the following pairs will be said with a Fall, Rise, or Fall-Rise intonation. Tell whether the two words in each pair have the same or different intonation. Click same or different.

    Correct :)
    Incorrect :(

    ready ready maybe maybe
    hungry hungry almost almost
    tired tired bored bored
    happy happy sure sure
    OK OK Perhaps Perhaps
    soon soon excited excited
    Exercise 2 Click the intonation you hear for each word. In the first column choose either Fall or Fall-Rise. In the second column choose either Rise or Fall-Rise

    Fall Rise Fall-rise

    Correct :)
    Incorrect :(

    ready maybe
    hungry almost
    tired bored
    happy sure
    OK perhaps
    soon excited
    Exercise 3 Click the intonation you hear for each word, Fall, Rise, or Fall-Rise.

    Fall Rise Fall-rise

    Correct :)
    Incorrect :(

    Ready Maybe
    Hungry Almost
    Tired Bored
    Happy Sure
    OK Perhaps
    Soon Excited

    Click HERE to download as a PDF.