Unit 58. The Headteacher, Mr Lee, will be Talking to Parents.
Step-Downs - Adding Information and Ending Topics
Unit 58; Part A
When we use a noun phrase to add information about the previous nounphrase (and both refer to the same person or thing), we often step downand say the second noun phrase with a relatively low pitch in its ownspeech unit. The step-down is in the first prominent word of thisspeech unit. In these examples, step-downs are marked with ⇓:
The headTEAcher ↓ //Mr ⇓ LEE ↓ will be talking to parents.
The report is published // by the WHO ↓// the ⇓ WORLD HEALTH organisation ↓.
The reSEARCH team ↓↑// ⇓SCIentists from the university of LEEDS ↓↑// will be spending six months in the Arctic.
We can also add information in a whole clause beginning with a step-down:
A mySTErious arc of LIGHT ↓// ⇓ KNOWN as the LYNX Arc ↓// has been
found to be the biggest star-forming region ever seen in space.
Note: Thenoun phrases (the main information and the added information) have afalling tone if they are 'news' and a rising or fall-rising tone ifthey are 'not news'; that is, the speaker assumes the hearer alreadyknows the information (see Unit 39).
Notice that the same tone is usually used in the first noun phrase andin the stepped-down speech unit. However, this is not always the case:
The AusTRAlian author PEter THOMas ↓ // ⇓ NOW based in New YORK ↓↑ is this year's Brook Prize winner. - herethe speaker 'tells' hearers that she is talking about Peter Thomas, but'reminds' them that Peter Thomas lives in New York - this isinformation she assumes hearers already know
Unit 58; Part B
Step-downs are also used, particularly in prepared speech, to show thatwe are ending a topic. Here is part of a conference talk given on thesubject of education. Notice that step-downs are often followed bystep-ups marking new topics (see Unit 57).
|Listen to these extracts from news broadcasts as many times as you need and:|
( i ) put a ⇓ before the first prominent word with a step-down
( ii ) put either ↓ ( for falling tone ) or ↓↑ ( for fall-rising tone ) in the box for the tone starting on each word in bold.
Example: The city of Krakow ↓, the ⇓ former capital of Poland ↓, has some of the best art collections in Europe.
1 Michael Watson ___, the reigning champion ___, has been knocked out of the French Open.
2 Whitedown Hill ___, above the Trant Valley ___, is to be the location of a new wind farm.
3 Two sisters from France ___, both in their seventies ___, have become the oldest people to swim the English Channel.
4 A black woodpecker ___, a rare visitor to Britain ___, has been spotted on the east coast.
5 The head of NATO in Europe ___, Major Peter Alvin ___, has warned thatits military equipment is becoming seriously outdated.
|Choose a noun phrase from the box to add to each of these news extracts and indicate its appropriate position with a line (/).|
Key.1 Mr Abram IvANich, a FORmer COMMunist, has been elected president of Novistan.
2 The Nisota car factory in PERTH, emPLOYing over THREE thousand PEople, is to close next year.
3 A statue of Sir Frank WHittle, inVENtor of the JET engine, has been unveiled in his home town.
4 Over fifty thousand PEople, almost a TENth of the popuLAtion, are now thought to have been infected with influenza.
5 The city of St PEtersburg, PREviously LENingrad is encouraging people to use public transport.
Example: Large areas of the country / have been hit by drought.
1 Mr Abram Ivanich has been elected president of Novistan.
2 The Nisota car factory in Perth is to close next year.
3 A statue of Sir Frank Whittle has been unveiled in his home town.
4 Over fifty thousand people are now thought to have been infected with infuenza.
5 The city of St Petersburg is encouraging people to use public transport.
Now listen and check your answers. Then say the sentences aloud. Makesure you use a step-down at the beginning of the added information andthe same tone (either falling or fall-rising ) in the added informationand the previous noun phrase.
|A tour guide in Prague is explaining to tourists what they can seeon their trip down the Vltava River. Here is part of what she says.Listen and put ⇑ before a word with a step-up marking a new topic and a ⇓ before a word with a step-down ending a topic.|
| ||Unit 57 Unit 58 Unit 59|| |