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Intonational Styles and Speech Typology Correlation

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Speech typology
Intonational Styles

Varieties of language Forms of communication Degree of speech preparedness   Number of participants   The character of relationship of participants
Spo- ken Writ ten Mono-logue Dia-logue Pre-pared Spon-taneous Pub-lic Non-public For-mal Infor-mal
Informational style + + + + + + + +
Scientific style + + + + + + + + + +
Declamatory style + + + + + + + +
Publicistic style + + + + + + + + +
Familiar style + + + + + +


1. What does speech typology embrace?

2. Why is it important to take into account speech typology when analyzing intonational styles?

3. How is each intonational style manifested from the point of view of speech typology?


King Richard II (Act III, Scene 3)♫ˈWhat ˙must the ˙King ˙do \now? ˌMust he sub’mit?The ˈKing shall \do it. ˌMust he be de’posed?The ˈKing shall be con\sented. ˈMust he ˙loseThe ‘name of ˙King? O ˈGod’s \name, ˈlet it \go.I’ll ˈgive my ‘jewels│for a ˈset of \beads,My ˈgorgeous ‘palace│for a \hermitage,My ˈgay ap’parel│for an \almsman’s ˌgown,My ˈfigured ‘goblets│for a ˈdish of \wood,My ˇsceptre│for a ˈpalmer’s \walking-ˌstaff,My ‘subjects│for a ˈpair of ˙carved \saints,And my ˈlarge ‘kingdom│for a ˌlittle \grave,A \little, ˈlittle \grave, an obs\cure ˌgrave; –ˈOr I’ll be ‘buried in the ˈking’s \highway,Some ˈway of ˌcommon \trade, where ˈsubjects’ ‘feetMay ˈhourly \trample on their ˈsovereign’s \head;For ˈon my ‘heart they ˌˌtread \\now│ˌwhilst I \live,And ‘buried ˙once, why ˈnot upon my ‘head?

W. Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Module III. FUNCTIONAL STYLES by M. A. Sokolova

Unit 1. Informational (Formal) Style


Informational (formal) style is characterized by predominant use of intellectual intonation patterns. It occurs in formal discourse where the task set by the sender of the message is to communicate information without giving it any emotional or volitional evaluation. This intonational style is used, for instance, by radio or television announcers when reading weather forecasts, news, or in various official situations. It is considered to be stylistically neutral.

When using informational the speaker is primarily concerned that each sentence type, such as declarative or interrogative, command or request, dependent or independent, is given an unambiguous intonational identity. The sender of the message consciously avoids giving any secondary values to utterances. It might interfere with the listener’s correct decoding the message and with inferring the principal point of information in the sentence. So in most cases the speaker sounds dispassionate.

The characteristic feature of informational style is the use of (Low-Pre-head + ) Falling Head + Low Fall (Low Rise) ( + Tail), normal or slow speed of utterance and regular rhythm. Less frequently the Stepping Head (characterized by an even, unchanged pitch level over each of the stress-groups) may be used instead of the Falling Head. In certain cases the Fall-Rise occurs, with the falling part of the tune indicating the main idea and the rising part making some addition to the main idea.

In informational style intonation never contrasts with lexical and grammatical meanings conveyed by words and constructions. Internal boundaries placement is semantically predictable, that is, an intonation group here always consists of words joined together by sense. Besides, it is important to note that intonation groups tend to be short, duration of pauses varies from medium to long. Short pauses are rather rare.

The following examples illustrate the use of informational style.


(A) The speech of a radio announcer during news coverage:

ANNOUNCER: … ↘Early ˈyesterday ‚morning │ the ↘engine ˈdepot at ‚Rouen│was the ↘target of ˈsaboteurs. ║ The heavy ma\chine ˌshops│were totally \gutted│and e↘leven ˈloco\motives│completely des\troyed.

(B) At a Bank

A: ↘Do you ˈthink you could ˈchange my ‚note for me, please?

B: How shall I \give it to you?

A: ↘Notes and ˈlarge \silver, please.

B: ↘Was there ˈanything ˌelse?

A: \Yes, ↘could you ˈtell me my ‚balance?


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