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Title: The English intonation on non-native speakers
Author: Hewings, Martin John
ISNI:       0000 0001 2447 6917
Awarding Body: The University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 1993
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It is widely assumed, first, that errors of English intonation by learners represent a significant barrier to effective communication and, second, that these errors result from differences between the intonation systems of English and the learners' mother tongues. However, little work has been done to establish the extent of the errors, their characteristics, or their origin. This study compares intonation in a corpus of recordings from 12 adult native-speaker informants and 12 adult learners of English, four each from Korea, Greece and Indonesia. The main data analysed are 24 parallel readings of a scripted dialogue. Findings are checked against intonation choices in samples of spontaneous speech from the same informants. The descriptive and interpretative apparatus used is the "discourse intonation" model outlined in Brazil (1985a). Comparison focuses on the functional oppositions recognised in this model, realised in the systems of prominence, tone, key and termination. Excluded from the comparison are the phonetic implementation of these categories, such as the typical shape of falling or rising tones, and other non-systemic features. The main findings of the study are that the native and non-native informants generally make the same intonation choices to achieve the same communicative goals. Differences are seen to arise from the non-natives' lack of proficiency in English, their lack of awareness of the role of intonation in social conventions, and the influence of prior teaching. Implications of these findings for teaching intonation are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available