Consistency and contrast in the deployment of intonation resources during oral presentations by Students of English Language

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Abstract

Intonation is an important resource in the English language for structuring information and delineating paratone boundaries. This paper reports on a study which investigates the use of this resource by students of English during the delivery of academic oral presentations (monologues) in class. It compares Chinese students with European students of English to determine whether there are significant differences in a number of measures of vocal pitch range. Since Chinese is a tonal language, a hypothesis is that these students will encounter more difficulty in the deployment of intonation resources than their European counterparts leading to monologues which are flat and undifferentiated. The paper also compares the pitch range of the students with more experienced, charismatic presenters who are native speakers of the language to determine whether they use a wider, more expansive pitch range when delivering monologues. The results of the study are mixed and suggest that simple quantitative measures of pitch range are not sufficient to capture the complexity of intonation as a construct. Instead a holistic view of intonation needs to be taken in order to understand how the successful delivery of a monologue requires intonation to be deployed in a consistent and contrastive way regardless of the range of pitch used.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalLLC INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LINGUISTICS, LITERATURE AND CULTURE
Volume4
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Journal licence statement available at: http://ijllc.eu/copyright-and-access/

Keywords

  • Intonation
  • non-native
  • monologue
  • presentation
  • pitch

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