For the last couple of blogs we’ve been considering question tags and intonation. After last week’s blog one or two people asked about where to begin the rise and the fall, as not all languages have the same conventions. Well, I have a pretty neat trick to help with this, so here’s what you do. With your mouth shut, produce the lowest nasal /m/ sound you can. You’ll probably find your chin touching your neck when you do this. J Then, produce the highest nasal /m/ sound you can: you’ll probably find your eyebrows raised and your eye-balls looking up to the sky! What you’ve now done is established your ‘pitch range’.
Now, if you just relax and say /m/, that will be your mid-point. Every person in the world has a different voice, apparently, so everyone has a different mid-point. Once you’ve established your mid-point, the rising intonation starts just below it, passes through it and finishes above it. If you start on the mid-point and not below it, it sound a bit strange!
Falling intonation, on the other hand, begins above the mid-point, passes through it and finishes below. The rise-fall starts below, moves up and through then comes down again, finishing either at or slightly below the mid-point. Finally, the fall-rise starts above the mid-point, falls down through it and then rises again. Phew! I hope you’ll have time to practise this before next week! From everyone at ETC Bournemouth, until then, byee!