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Unit 59. Small, Medium, and Large.

Tones in a Series of Similar Items

Unit 59; Part A

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 series:
             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.jpgNote: 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

Unit 59; Part B

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 //

Unit 59; Part C

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

Unit 59; Part D

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 //



flag.jpgThe 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.

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