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Unit 58. The Headteacher, Mr Lee, will be Talking to Parents.

Step-Downs - Adding Information and Ending Topics

Unit 58; Part A

Adding information
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.jpgNote: 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

Ending topics
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).



flag.jpgListen 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.
flag.jpgChoose 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.

employing over three thousand people     a former communist     previously Leningrad
almost a tenth of the population     one of the poorest in Asia     inventor of the jet engine

                                              one of the poorest in Asia                         
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.
flag.jpgA 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 forward.jpg