Importance of Stress and Intonation in English

Our speech is a part of verbal communication and it does not only involve speaking what you have learned or for that matter, whatever you want to convey. There are several ways that students can get help with homework for English assignment help.

Our speech is a part of verbal communication and it does not only involve speaking what you have learned or for that matter, whatever you want to convey. There are several ways that students can get help with homework for English assignment help.

Verbal communication involves just not plain speech rather voice modulations to make your speech more interesting and remove the monotony. This voice modulation involves two important factors:

 

  • Stress- Stress refers to focusing importance on certain words in your sentences or even on syllables in a word. Stress tells the audience that whatever you are emphasizing, is important. It also functions to remove the monotony caused by plain speaking. Stress can be divided into two parts:
  • Word Stress- In the case of word stress, stress is laid on the syllable in the word and is called syllable prominence. This prominence can be of different types- longer, louder, change in pitch movement, or in fact a combination of all these phonetic factors. What makes a syllable stressed, was talked out and identified by Roach. He says that a stressed syllable is:
  • Louder as compared to other syllables
  • Lengthier 
  • Has a higher pitch
  • And the vowel differs in quality from the neighboring vowels
  • Sentence Stress- This type of stress refers to stress on a particular word in a sentence. This stress is laid to emphasize the importance of the word. In case of such type of stress, the words stressed on may have syllable stress when said in isolation and may not convey the desired meaning when said separately. For example Daisy, sister, failed, exam, and, got, scolded. When these words are combined to derive a sense out of them, stress also shifts from syllables to words- Daisy’s sister failed in the exam and so got scolded. Here the stress on the words lay their importance conveying the cause and effect relationship.

 

Stress can be divided into tonic stress, emphatic stress, and contrastive stress:

 

  • Tonic- This type of stress refers to the syllable in a word that is most stressed in that particular intonation unit. For example, He is dancing with Riya in the club. In such cases what happens is that the final tonic stress receives the most stress.
  • Emphatic Stress- In such a case you lay stress on words you want to emphasize on moving away from the normal stress patterns of your sentence. For example, you may normally say There were numerous firefighters in the building. But if you want to lay stress on the number of firefighters then you may say There were numerous firefighters in the building. Therefore you may use a number of adjectives and adverbs to emphasize certain words and convey to the listeners what you are actually trying to say. 
  • Contrastive Stress- As the name suggests, this type of stress is used to highlight the contrast between different words and is generally used with determiners such as this, that, those, etc. For example, I prefer this dress to that.

 

This stress is also used to highlight a word in the sentence whose use alters the meaning slightly. For example, She completed her homework answers on her own. (Did not take any homework help)

Or She completed her homework answers on her own. (Completed the work rather than leaving it incomplete) 

Let us understand with the use of a common sentence with differed stresses:

She went to the party with Peter, at night. (means someone else had to accompany Peter)

She went to the party with Peter, at night. (She did not have to go to the party)

She went to the party with Peter, at night. (She had to go somewhere else)

She went to the party with Peter, at night. (She did not have to go with Peter yet she went)

She went to the party with Peter, at night. (She could have gone at some other time but went at night)

  • New Information Stress- This type of stress is used whenever an answer is provided to a question asked. The answer comes as new information and is thus stresses upon. For example:

What do you want to become? I want to become a doctor.

 

  • Intonation: In simple words, the music of a language is intonation. The manner you speak a sentence conveys a lot about its meaning. For example, there can be two mentioned ways of saying the same sentence but in a changed tone:

 

You are coming?

You are coming.

The way both the sentences were put across alters their meaning. The first one asks a question while the second one makes a statement. This is the beauty of the use of intonation in a language. 

There are basically two intonation patterns:

  • Rising- Here the pitch is raised while you move towards the end of your sentence. This can be used to express anger or even to ask questions with answers in yes or no form: Did you drive the car?
  • Falling- Here the pitch is raised in the beginning of the sentence and falls as we move towards the end. This may be used to say general statements and even to ask questions other than yes or no ones: Why did you need homework help when everything was taught in class? (You begin on a high pitch and then lower it down as you progress)

Intonation can be important in case you want to ask questions, make statements, list items, stress your feelings, highlight the importance of something, make contrasts, or in fact in question tags.

In all these places your pitch is important to convey to the listener your exact emotion and meaning. Sufficient examples have been discussed above for the same.

Therefore stress and intonation are indelible parts of speech patterns of any language. Along with conveying the right meaning to the listener, they also convey the emotions and make the sentences more effective.