Wednesday 23 April 2014

T... is for Tone

A large part of how we speak a language and how it sounds is guided by the tone. Languages in which the change of a tone can signify a change in the meaning of an utterance are called intonation languages. The basic tones are the rising tone and the falling tone. While there are words which can be spoken in different tones to indicate different things, there are also groups of words, or phrases, which are tonal.
On utterance of a word, the tonic syllable is the most important because that is when there is a change in the pitch of the voice speaking it. The pitch movement can have different directions and rise and fall are two of those. In a rising tone, the pitch of the voice goes from low to high from the tonic syllable. It is marked above the syllable with a (/) and indicates a question or the idea that the utterance is incomplete. In a falling tone, the pitch of the voice goes from high to low from the tonic syllable. It is marked above the syllable with a (\) and indicates a sense of finality and that the utterance is finished.
The most important role of intonation may well be grammar. While rising tone indicates a question or an exclamation, falling tone indicates a statement. Apart from that, intonations help people understand which the important parts of an utterance are, for they are the phrases often stressed on. Finally, tones indicate emotions. Perhaps, this is where speaking takes and edge over writing, because when an utterance is spoken, its accompanying tones convey so much more than just the speech. Attitudinal nuances are brought to the fore. Anger, pain, dismay, friendliness, resignation, hope are all emotions expressed most vehemently by the intonations of a language. 
This is the twentieth post for the April A-to-Z Blogging Challenge 2014.
Previously, Archaism, British literature, Critical Analysis, Drama, Edinburgh, Faust, Gothic Fiction, Humour, Interpretation, Journalling, Keats, Language, Metaphysical Poetry, Narration, Ode, Papillion(ed), Quatrain, Romanticism, Shakespeare

1 comment:

Tony Laplume said...

I don't like your tone, young lady.