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Unit 47. 'You Were Asleep in the Class!' 'I Wasn't Asleep.'

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Contradictions

Unit 47; Part A

When we contradict something (perhaps to correct it or because we disagree with it) we emphasise the word that focuses on the difference between the other speaker's view and our own:
           A: You were asleep in the class!
           B: I
WASn't asleep.

Usually this word (wasn't in this example) has falling tone and a step up in pitch.


The symbol is used to show a step up in pitch. In other words, the voice moves up to a noticeably higher level than it was at before.

Unit 47; Part B

  • To contradict a positive verb, we can use not or a contraction with -n't (don't, can't, won't, shouldn't, etc.). Not or the contraction is made prominent:
    47.1.jpgA: It's your fault we're late.
    B: It's
    NOT my fault .

    I thought Paul had the key, but he DIDn't have it

    A: You're not bringing your friends home. You'll be too noisy.
    B: But we
    WON'T be noisy .

  • To contradict a negative verb, we use a positive form of the auxiliary or modal verb (be, have, can, would etc.).
    The auxiliary or modal verb is made prominent:
    A: You can't remember your uncle Bob, can you?
    B: Yes, I
    CAN remember him .
    A: You don't seem to like my cooking.
    B: But I
    DO like it .

  • In other contradictions we emphasise (also with a step up and falling tone) the word that corrects what the other speaker has said:
    A: Carmen must have overslept again.
    B: No, she's
    ILL - she didn't oversleep, she's ill.

    A: Did you take the wrong turning?
    B: Your in
    STRUCtions were wrong . - В contradicts A's suggestion that it was В who was at fault
 
Notice that there is sometimes a choice of words we can emphasise in order to contradict, although the meaning is similar.
Compare:
      A: I suppose she'd given up and gone home.  
although a different word is
      B: No, she
WAS waiting for me .   
      B: No, she was
WAITing for me - emphasised, the meaning is similar

Unit 47; Part C

In comparisons and contrasts (see Unit 46) and in contradictions, we sometimes emphasise parts of words that are not normally emphasised. That is, we might make syllables prominent that are not shown as having primary or secondary stress in a dictionary (see also Unit 10):
         A: So you think the troops are being reARMED?

         B: No, I said they're being
DISarmed. - stress is normally on the second syllable in dis'armed, but here there is a contrast between re(armed) and dis(armed), so the first syllable is made prominent

 



Exercises

flag.jpgCatherine and her school friends are planning a holiday in Spain to celebrate the end of exams, but her father objects. Here is what she told her friends.

1    He says we're too young, but we're not too young.
2    He says I can't afford it, but I can afford it.
3    He thinks we'll stay out too late, but we won't stay out too late.
4    He says we'll make too much noise in the hotel, but we won't make too much noise.
5    He thinks I haven't got a passport, but I have got a passport.
6    He says I don't work hard enough at school, but I do work hard.
7    He says I've got school work to do, but I haven't got any school work to do.
8    He thinks we can't look afer ourselves, but we can look after ourselves.

Read each sentence aloud, stepping up on the word in italics and using a falling tone. Make sure that there are no prominent words after the word in italics. Then listen to the recording. 

flag.jpgUnderline the one word out of the two in bold that is more likely to be emphasised with a step up in pitch at the beginning of a falling tone.
Key.(Speaker A = Jamaica)
1 a No, three spoonfuls of sugar.
1 b No, three spoonfuls of sugar.
2 a No, they've bought me a car.
2 b No, they've bought me a car.
3 a No, I'm not going to school today.   
3 b No, I'm not going to school today.
4 a But I took it to work.   
4 b But I took it to work.

Example: a A: The meeting's next Thursday, isn't it?       
                b A: The meeting's this Tuesday, isn't it?
1    a A: So I need to add three cupfuls of sugar?
      b A: So I need to add three spoonfuls of cream?
2    a A: Your parents have lent you a car, then?  
      b A: Your parents have bought you a bike, then?
3    a A: Isn't it time for you to get up?   
      b A: Won't you be late for school?
4    a A: I want to use the laptop this afernoon.   
      b A: Alex just phoned. She wants you to bring the laptop into work.
B: No, it's next Tuesday.
B: No, it's next Tuesday.
B: No, three spoonfuls of sugar.
B: No, three spoonfuls of sugar.
B: No, they've bought me a car.
B: No, they've bought me a car.
B: No, I'm not going to school today.
B: No, I'm not going to school today.
B: But I took it to work.
B: But I took it to work.

Now listen and check your answers. Then listen again. Press 'pause' before each B part and read it aloud. Make sure you step up in pitch in the right place. Then press 'play' again and compare your pronunciation with what follows.

flag.jpgUnderline the syllable in each word in bold where you think the speaker will step up and start a falling tone.
Key.1 software       
2 indoors  
3 inflate
4 unwound 
5 postcode
6 seasick

Example:  A: Here's the microscope you wanted. B: But I asked for a microphone.
1    A: So you think it's a hardware problem? B: No, I said it's a sofware problem.
2    A: Yes, parties are always better outdoors. B: But we're holding it indoors.
3    A: I've deflated that airbed. B: But I asked you to infate it.
4    A: I have rewound the hosepipe for you. B: But I wanted it unwound.
5    A: It is an unusual postcard, isn't it? B: No, I said an unusual postcode.
6    A: So you felt homesick while you were away? B: No, I was seasick.

Now listen and check your answers. Then listen again. Press 'pause' before each B part and read it aloud. Make sure you step up in pitch in the right place. Then press 'play' again and compare your pronunciation with what follows.

Follow up: On a radio programme, a British opposition MP said: 'The government says it's going to happen, but this report shows it's not happenING. Why do you think he said the last word in this way?

 
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