Attitudinal Meanings of Rising Tones

Topics: Question, Sentence, Interrogative word Pages: 16 (4551 words) Published: April 1, 2013
Yerevan State Linguistic University after V. Brusov



Faculty of Linguistics and Intercultural Communication
International Journalism
Year III, group 1
Student: Anna Ohanyan
Supervisor: T. Abelyan


This course paper is the result of the analysis of the attitudinal meanings existing in the usage of Rising Tones. To find out what meaning this or that tone conveys we have touched upon different contexts. The challenge of this analysis lies in the fact that no tone is used exclusively with this or that sentence type—question, statement and the like—and also that no sentence type always requires the use of one and only one tone group. As a concrete example it would be quite untrue to say that sentences having the form of a question are always uttered with the Low Rise. What is true, though, is that some sentence types are more likely to be used with certain tone group. We have got acquainted with theories by D. Crystal, J. D. O’Connor, R. Kingdon, P.Roach. They submit a variety of emotions and attitudes conveyed by Rising Tones. The suggestions of these authors sometimes coincide, sometimes they do not. The aim of this course paper is to consider the effect of rising tones in association with sentence types and situational contexts. We have made an attempt to explain the contribution the tone makes to the total meaning of the word group. To find out the attitudinal meanings conveyed we should, first of all, understand what is meant by saying attitudinal meaning, meaning of tones, attitudinal function. In Introduction we present the purpose of the study, as well as a brief description of the structure of the work. The theoretical part of the paper focuses on the attitudinal function of intonation. The difficulties of describing emotions and attitudes of nuclear tones are discussed. The practical part of this course paper analyzes the attitudinal meanings of Rising Tones. To find out the attitudinal meanings in practice we have used audio books and recordings of fiction and worked with the rising tones. Generalizing those examples we have defined what attitudes some sentence types may convey. In everyday conversations a number of attitudinal meanings of rising tones are also apparent. These types of examples are represented in this course paper. We focus on Low Rise, High Wide and Narrow Rise and also complex tones such as Fall-Rise and Rise-Fall-Rise. The results of the paper are summarized in Conclusion.


It goes without saying that intonational choices made by speakers - native and otherwise - carry linguistic information and perform a variety of functions. D Crystal proposes six functions: grammatical, informational, psychological, textual, indexical, and attitudinal/emotional. P. Roach considers four: attitudinal, grammatical, accentual, and discourse; with the contention that the last two could be grouped into one. M Halliday suggests three functions: grammatical, informational, and attitudinal. It is clear that three basic functions of intonation – attitudinal, grammatical, and informational or discourse - are commonly suggested by the above researchers. The attitudinal function expresses the connection between tones and attitudes (joy, anger, irony, indignation, surprise, incredulity, arrogance). This function is superimposed on the accentual function and cannot be clearly separated from it. An attitude that is expressed could be an attitude towards the listener, towards what is being said or towards some external event or situation. The difference between sarcastic intention or sincere one would be conveyed by intonation. In the written form we are given only the lexis and grammar. The written medium has very limited sources for marking intonation by punctuation parks. Below, we will provide a description of the attitudes conveyed by the different tone...

References: Baghdasaryan S.A.; Gyurjayanc S.M. Standart English Pronunciation (2006)
Crystal D
O’Connor J.D., Arnold G.F.(1978) Intonation of Colloquial English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Roach P
Sokolova M. A. (1984). The Practical Phonetics of English. Moscow
Wichmann, A
Caroll, Lewis Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (ed. by Edmund R. Brown) Boston International Pocket Library, 1998
Conan Doyle, Arthur, The Hound of the Baskervilles (ed
Dickens, Charles Holiday Romance (ed. by Gillian Avery) Everyman, 1995.
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