Meaning and intonation in English
What will I learn from this page? To identify the hidden meaning in the sound and tone used by a speaker
Meaning and intonation in English can be very important as part of your overall pronunciation. Pronunciation refers to how clear you are when you speak, and can be broken into different sub-categories:
- enunciation (how clearly do you say each word; not mumbling or slurring)
- intonation (is the sound of your voice suitable for what you are saying)
This post will focus on the second aspect of pronunciation – intonation. Here are some examples of intonation in specific circumstances.
Your friend has just invited you to a party they are having, and you are accepting.
Your intonation should be positive, with a rising sound a lot of movement and stress on some words.
Your friend has just invited you to a party they are having, but you can’t come.
Your intonation should have a falling sound, with less movement.
Here are some example questions to help you practice. Respond using a suitable intonation.
- Is there anything you dislike about using mobile phones?
- Tell me about a country you would like to visit.
- What’s your favourite part of the day?
- How do you feel about people being impolite?
Intonation in the listening test
Intonation is very important in the speaking test, but can also be a useful skill for the listening test. Practice your understanding of intonation by matching the correct statement to the audio recording. Type ‘A’ or ‘B’ into the box below each statement.
Click the play button below to begin.
A: Lyn likes the shirt
B: Lyn does not like the shirt
A: The speaker should have booked
B: There is plenty of seating available
A: Steve agrees with the first speaker
B: Steve doesn’t agrees with the first speaker
A: He is happy with their travel arrangements
B: He is not happy with their travel arrangements
A: He feels the advertising was misleading
B: He is satisfied with the product
A: The speaker is annoyed
B: The speaker was misheard the first time she spoke
A: The food was good
B: The food wasn’t very good