# Theoretical phonetics. Study guide for second year students. Борискина О.О - 56 стр.

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56
thought group or as two or three more measured groups; if the latter, there could
be as many as three intonation units. Howard has an obligatory intonation unit
boundary after the first three words and another after killer. The intonation unit
boundary between coffee and by the ton is optional; it depends on how much
special prominence is given to by the ton.
In fact, the discourse context generally influences which stressed word in a
given utterance receives prominence - that is, which word the speaker wishes to
highlight! There are three circumstances governing the placement of
prominence. The first is when the speaker places prominence on new
information. This has been discussed by Chafe (1980), who points out that
within an intonation unit, words expressing old or given information (i.e.,
semantically predictable information) are unstressed and spoken with lower
pitch, whereas words expressing new information are spoken with strong stress
and higher pitch. In unmarked utterances, it is the stressed syllable in the last
content word that tends to exhibit prominence.
Allen (1971) provides an excellent example of how prominence marks new
versus old information; she uses capital letters to signal new information (strong
stress and high pitch):
X: I've lost an umBRELla.
X: Yes. A lady's umbrella with STARS on it. GREEN stars.
In this example, umbrella functions as new information in X's first
information. In X's second utterance, both umbrella and lady's are old
information, whereas stars and green are new information, thus receiving
prominence.
A second, related circumstance governing the placement of prominence is
emphatic stress - when the speaker wishes to place special emphasis on a
particular element. In fact, the element receiving emphatic stress usually
communicates new information within the sentence; however, it is differentiated
from normal prominence by the greater degree of emphasis placed on it by the
speaker. (This greater degree of emphasis is also signaled by pitch level.) In the
phrase "I'm NEVer eating clams again," for example, the speaker might place
emphatic stress on never to signal a particularly bad reaction she once had when
eating clams. Similarly, in the following brief exchange, Speaker В places
emphatic stress on really to indicate a strong degree of enjoyment:
- How do you like that new computer you bought?
- I'm REALly enjoying it!
The third circumstance governing the placement of prominence is
contrastive stress. In this case, two parallel elements - either explicitly or by
implication - can receive prominence within a given utterance. In the question
"Is this a LOW or a HIGH impact aerobics class?" for example, the speaker
places prominence on both low and high to signal this important contrast in the
sentence.
                                       56
thought group or as two or three more measured groups; if the latter, there could
be as many as three intonation units. Howard has an obligatory intonation unit
boundary after the first three words and another after killer. The intonation unit
boundary between coffee and by the ton is optional; it depends on how much
special prominence is given to by the ton.
In fact, the discourse context generally influences which stressed word in a
given utterance receives prominence - that is, which word the speaker wishes to
highlight! There are three circumstances governing the placement of
prominence. The first is when the speaker places prominence on new
information. This has been discussed by Chafe (1980), who points out that
within an intonation unit, words expressing old or given information (i.e.,
semantically predictable information) are unstressed and spoken with lower
pitch, whereas words expressing new information are spoken with strong stress
and higher pitch. In unmarked utterances, it is the stressed syllable in the last
content word that tends to exhibit prominence.
Allen (1971) provides an excellent example of how prominence marks new
versus old information; she uses capital letters to signal new information (strong
stress and high pitch):
X: I've lost an umBRELla.
X: Yes. A lady's umbrella with STARS on it. GREEN stars.
In this example, umbrella functions as new information in X's first
information. In X's second utterance, both umbrella and lady's are old
information, whereas stars and green are new information, thus receiving
prominence.
A second, related circumstance governing the placement of prominence is
emphatic stress - when the speaker wishes to place special emphasis on a
particular element. In fact, the element receiving emphatic stress usually
communicates new information within the sentence; however, it is differentiated
from normal prominence by the greater degree of emphasis placed on it by the
speaker. (This greater degree of emphasis is also signaled by pitch level.) In the
phrase "I'm NEVer eating clams again," for example, the speaker might place
emphatic stress on never to signal a particularly bad reaction she once had when
eating clams. Similarly, in the following brief exchange, Speaker В places
emphatic stress on really to indicate a strong degree of enjoyment:
- How do you like that new computer you bought?
- I'm REALly enjoying it!
The third circumstance governing the placement of prominence is
contrastive stress. In this case, two parallel elements - either explicitly or by
implication - can receive prominence within a given utterance. In the question
"Is this a LOW or a HIGH impact aerobics class?" for example, the speaker
places prominence on both low and high to signal this important contrast in the
sentence.