Unit 59. Small, Medium, and Large.
Tones in a Series of Similar Items
|In prepared speech, when we give a series of three or more similar
items, each item is typically said in a separate speech unit. Very
often, all the items have a rising tone (or they all have a fall-rising
tone) except the last, which has a falling tone. Using the same tone
for each item, except the last, indicates that they are in some way
equivalent. A falling tone on the last item signals the end of the
Many goverments fail to focus on policies which require sustained effort over years or
decades - // to imPROVE eduCAtional standards ↑ eRADicate diSEASE ↑ //
MODernise the TRANSport system ↑// and reDUCE levels of polLUtion ↓//
The only seats left are priced at // TWENty euros ↓↑ THIRty euros ↓↑ // and FIFty euros ↓↑//
Note: In spontaneous conversation there is more variability. For example, a speech unit may include more than one item, or a series may be incomplete:
I've got // YEllow Orange or PINK ↓// Which one would you like?
A: She s been away a lot recently - // PARis ↑ // OSLo ↑ // MaDRID ↑ // - the incomplete series suggests that she has been to other places, too
|Words within items in a series are usually non-prominent if they are repeated or don't provide new information:
The meeting includes// NATional politicians ↑// LOcal politicians ↑// and EuroPEan politicians ↓//
|In lists that are often repeated or are part of a routine, each item
is ofen said with a level tone (although a rising tone may also be
used), except the last, which has a falling tone:
There are three sizes available, // SMALL →// MEdium →// and LARGE ↓
When I raise my hand like this I want you // to STOP TALKing →// STAND up
STRAIGHT →// CONcentrate on ME →// and get READy to SING ↓
|Less commonly, all items may have a falling tone, particularly if we want to emphasise each item as separate and important:
Please write the following dates down in your notebooks. The first
examination // will be on MONday the SIXTH ↓// the SECond on WEDnesday
the EIGHTH ↓// and the LAST on TUESday the fourTEENTH ↓//
|The last item in the series of similar items in each of these
sentences has a falling tone. Listen and decide whether the other items
have a falling tone (put ↓ in the box), rising tone (↑), fall-rising tone (↓↑), or level tone (→).
Key.1 ↓ ↓ ↓
2 → → ↓
3 ↑ ↑ ↓
4 ↓↑ ↓↑ ↓
5 → → → ↓
Example: This year we have opened new stores in London ↑, New York ↑ and Moscow ↓.
1 Make sure you give three pieces of information on each page - your name ___, your student number ___ and the date ↓.
2 When I was learning to drive my instructor made me say 'mirror ___, signal ___, manoeuvre ↓ every time I drove away.
3 Attempts on the mountain have been made this year by Japanese climbers ___, Swiss climbers ___ and Brazilian climbers ↓.
4 You'll remember that Trollope's frst three novels in his Barsetshire Chronicles were The Warden ___, Barchester Towers ___ and Doctor Thome ↓.
5 I want you to paint the squares the colours of the rainbow - red ___, orange ___, yellow ___ and so on ↓.
Now check your answers in the Key. Then say the sentences aloud using the same tones.
||Unit 58 Unit 59 Unit 60||