Have you noticed that English has different intonation than Spanish? How do you know when to raise your voice up and lower it down? We’re going to help you with that in this episode of Aprender inglés con Reza y Craig.
Voice message from Jesus – intonation
What is intonation? – How we say things, rather than what we say. It’s the way the voice rises and falls when speaking. It’s the music of English.
Intonation and stress are strongly connected. Word Stress with Wayne: http://www.inglespodcast.com/180
Spanish speakers tend to speak with more flat intonation than English speakers. This can make you sound bored (and boring!). English speakers raise and lower their voice more to express anger, surprise, interest, gratitude etc. ‘really!’
The best way to improve your intonation is to really listen to English speakers and try to copy their intonation.
When do we use rising intonation?
Do you fancy a cup of tea?
Can you lend me some money?
Have you finished doing up your flat?
Coco’s 12 years old, isn’t he?
You teach English for academic purposes in Belfast, don’t you?
Episode on question tags: http://www.inglespodcast.com/20 (intonation on question tags can also go down!)
When do we use falling intonation?
Wh- questions (‘who’, ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘which’, and ‘how’)
How busy are you this week?
What time do you want to eat today?
Statements – las afirmaciones
We’ll have a break soon.
Nice to see you.
We should podcast more often.
Write your name and email address here.
Take the dirty dishes into the kitchen.
Question tags that are statements rather than questions.
You’re from Belfast, aren’t you?
Your favourite fruit is pineapple, isn’t it?
What a lovely thought!
How nice of you!
That’s a surprise!
When does intonation rise and fall in a sentence?
We saw Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, The British Museum and the London Eye.
I need beer, wine, crisps, peanuts, vodka and orange juice.
We can go to the beach or the shopping centre.
Do you want tea or coffee?
Would you prefer to speak Chinese or Russian?
If I decide to go, I’ll text you.
If you want to say ‘hi’, send us a voice message.
Unfinished thoughts (partial statements)
Do you like my new dress? – Well, the colour’s nice……
Do you both speak Spanish? – My wife does…..
When does intonation fall and rise in a sentence?
When you feel doubtful, hesitant or uncertain about something
Perhaps we should double the sales price?
I’m not sure, but I think I’m going to ask her out.
It’s probably a good idea to sign the contract.
The intonation can greatly change the meaning of any word(s).
Here are four different intonations and meanings for just one simple question:
Why not? Rising – Straight question
Why not? Falling – Disappointment/Despair
Why not? Rising then falling – Agreement/Satisfaction/Contentment
Why not? Falling then rising – Curiosity
Let’s give some examples: I’m not going to be in Valencia this summer.
Fancy a beer?
Some regional accents (notably Australian and Northern Irish)
I was driving along in my car.
And I hit a kangaroo.
And I killed it.
So I put it on the barbie.
Australian comedian, Adam Hills’ funny reflections (and inflections) on Australian intonation:
I come from Belfast, so I do.
I’ll tell your ma what you’ve done.
An American explaining Northern Irish intonation very well:
How can you improve your intonation?
Listen to short dialogues and follow the transcriptions (this podcast is good for that)
Sing along to songs on YouTube
Send us a voice message and re-record it several times focusing on intonation.
What do you think of these chocolate biscuits? – Mmmmmmm. Lovely! I can’t believe you made these. They’re absolutely fantastic!
…and now it’s your turn to practise your English.
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On next week’s episode: Peru
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