Online with Speak
|Online Classes||Pronunciation Facts||R, Th, T and other sounds||500 Words Practice|
|Seattle Classes||Business Communication||TOEFL Prep||ESL Stories|
|Contact us||Vowel Sounds
||Grammar and Idioms||Learn by Language
Intonation: How to Speak with Pitch Changes
Intonation is the pattern of pitch changes as people speak. These change from one culture to another. Pitch is the tone of your voice. In American English, people have about 3 notes that they use when speaking. Most words are in the middle tone. Stressed words are in the high tone, and the low-tone often comes before a stress (it makes the stress larger by creating more difference in tone). The low tone may be used at the end of sentences too, though you do not always have to end on a low tone.
People who prefer to use less expression when they speak might use 3 half-tones, for instance, on a piano it could be the G, the G flat and the G sharp. People who prefer a lot of expression might use more than three notes too.
If you feel like you cannot change your pitch, use this technique. Yawn out loud--let yourself make a sound. As you do this, go from a high to a low sound. You only need 3 notes, so do not worry if your high-to-low range is simple.
* The Golden Rule of Changing Pitch *
What goes up must come down, and what goes down must come up. Think of pitch-change like diving off a diving board.
In American English, we change our pitch on the words we stress. If your voice does not seem to go up easily, try to make your voice low first--then go up on the stressed word. The same works in the opposite. If you change your pitch on a stressed word and then seem to stay on that same tone, you probably did not go down on the next word. Go back and try again, making sure to lower your pitch just after you raise it.
Word Stress: 5 Steps
Word Stress: Introduction
Prepare to Speak: Warm-up
Articulation: Speak Clearly
How to Change Your Speech
Chart of English Language Accents
Choosing Your Voice
Milestones in Pronunciation
Accent Training with Thoughts