This lesson is from the Elemental English pronunciation series on Intonation:
- Part 1: Introduction to Intonation
- Part 2: Completing a statement (“I got a dog.”)
- Part 3: Asking a wh-question (what, where, who, why, when, how) (“What is your dog’s name?”)
- Part 4: Need clarification/repetition (“WHO got a dog?”)
- Part 5: Expressing surprise (“Your dog speaks English?!”)
- Part 6: Unfinished thought (“I want a dog, but…”)
- Part 7: Making a list or in between thoughts (“My dog is smart, pretty and sweet.”)
Watch the video lesson:
…or listen to the audio while you read!:
As was explained in the Introduction to Intonation lesson, the musical patterns of ups and downs in your speech–in both the middle and end of your sentences–is called intonation.
In English, there are three intonation patterns:
These different musical patterns communicate different messages to your listener.
Requesting Clarification or Repetition
As an English language learner, you may sometimes have a hard time understanding a speaker. If you don’t understand everything that was said, you can use the rising intonation to let the speaker know that you require clarification.
- X: “I think I’ll go to the door.”
- Y: “You’ll go to the store?”
- X: “No. The door.” (Notice that the intonation goes down when finishing a statement.)
Did you hear how my voice went up on the word “store”? I used the rising intonation to tell my listener that I’m not sure that I understood that specific word, and that I require repetition or clarification.
Listen and Repeat
Sentences you can use to request clarification or repetition with the rising intonation if you don’t understand a speaker include the following.
Listen and Repeat
- “I’m sorry?”
- “Excuse me?”
- “What was that?”
- “Could you repeat that please?” (notice that [d] + [y] –> [dʒ])