What are pitch, tone and intonation?

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What are pitch, tone and intonation?

Unread postby Niloo » 26 Sep 2004, 08:40


Hi Dear Auntie Lucy,
I appriciate you if you tell me what is the difference between Tone, Pitch ,and Intonation.
Thank you,
Niloo
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What are pitch, tone and intonation?

Unread postby Lucy » 10 Oct 2004, 14:42

Dear Niloo,

Tone, pitch and intonation all refer to different aspects of pronunciation or use of voice.

Pitch is the degree of highness or lowness with which one speaks. For example, some people naturally have a high-pitched voice. Emotional factors can also affect the pitch of someone's voice. For example, people may speak in a lower pitch when they are tired. Surprise may make them speak in a higher pitch than usual.

Tone usually refers to the emotion that is conveyed in the voice. Think about the expression "I didn't like his tone of voice". Tone can show anger, impatience,etc.

Intonation refers to the music of a language; that is how it rises and falls over a chunk of speech (sentence, phrase, group of sentences). Each language has its intonation and some are more musical than others. In English, a wide range is used. In some instances, intonation carries the meaning of a phrase. For example, in question tags the intonation used can indicate whether the speaker is looking for agreement. It is important for speakers of other languages to be aware of intonation. If their language does not have the same range, they can sound monotonous or even bored when speaking English. Misunderstandings can also arise between speakers who are not aware of the intonation of the other person's mother tongue.

For more details on these topics, you can look at Sound Foundations by Adrian Underhill. This book is excellent for all aspects of pronunciation.
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