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Contact Author Pitch is one of the vital parts of speaking and listening in most languages in the world. As English is a language in which meaning changes according to the tone and intonation of the speech, pitch and its range are an important part of spoken English.
Pitch matters both at the level of individual words and at the level of longer statements.
I will focus on pitch and the functions of the pitch range in utterances in this article because this aspect of language can cause some problems in both speaking and listening. In this article, I describe pitch, pitch range and its functions in utterances, and make suggestions for teachers on how to teach pitch to their upper intermediate students with exercises.
Pitch is an important component of accentuation, or prominence, both at the level of individual words and at the level of longer utterances Martha, The pitch of voice is determined by the frequency with which the vocal cords vibrate.
The frequency of vibration of the vocal cords is determined by their thickness, their length and their tension. In general, men have thicker and longer vocal cords than women and children do. Pitch Range In addition to the modal pitch, every individual voice has a pitch range which can be achieved by adjustments of the vocal cords.
By tightening the vocal cords, a person can raise the pitch of the voice by loosening them, one can lower vocal pitch. When the vocal cords are stretched, the pitch of voice increases.
Pitch variations in speech are realized by the alteration of the tension of vocal cords Ladefoged, These adjustments allow speakers to use pitch changes to achieve certain meaningful effects in speech. The most important of all factors for the pitch of the voice is the vibration of vocal cords.
When frequency of vibration increases, so does the pitch. Normally, a low pitch is not less than 70 Hz while a high pitch is not more than Hz. Pitch range can be divided into three parts as high, mid and low. As Brazil, Coulthard and Johns In contrast, high pitch range indicates an informational contrast as shown in example a.
Because high pitch range implies a contrast even when one is not explicitly present in the discourse, it can be used to single out individual words for special attention as in the example b. Low pitch range is used when the speaker wants to assert that two items in successive tone units are in some sense equivalent, as in the example c: Here the low pitch range on "dummy" signals that it is to be interpreted as connected with "you.
As long as the pitch has not fallen, it is an indication of unfinished information or an unfinished interaction. Typically, then, pitch falls at the end of a statement and stays level, or rises slightly at the end of a phrase where more information is coming, as illustrated in the following example: The more uncertainty or incompletion is indicated, the more vocal pitch tends to rise.
Whereas in the example above there was a low rise in pitch on each item in the list, for the following utterance, there will be a final high rise in pitch to indicate a high degree of certainty or incompletion in the meaning: Since it indicates uncertainty lack of information and incompletion, it generally ends in a high rise, as in: Rather than a high rise, so called wh- questions question beginning with who, where, when, why, which and howthough they ask for information that is unknown to complete an interaction, typically end in high but falling pitch, as in: So-called tag questions may have rising or non-rising pitch, depending on whether they are really meant to ask questions or not: In a similar case, English speakers may use the expression you know to ask a question or not, as shown by the pitch: In these last two examples, the speaker does not ask a question but states a belief, expecting the hearer to have the same opinion.
Suggestions for Teachers Exercise 1: Put your students in pairs. Make student A produce the utterances below if adhering to the "stage directions" given in parentheses. Ask them to indicate the pitch range patterns that might occur in the situations described for the following utterances.Selecting a Topic.
The ability to develop a good research topic is an important skill. An instructor may assign you a specific topic, but most often instructors require you to select your own topic of interest.
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