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L.O.Shtakina

PHONOSTYLISTICS

through practice

Introduction

Practical communication has its real existence in interrelated humanized forces, in interactions of persons and perceptions of events. If there is communication, someone acts to bond the selves and experiences of others with the communicator’s.

A communication is not a self-contained episode nor a sequential sound-sign system nor a “text” whose meaning ends with the last syllable. As human experience every communication means by virtue of the interplay of its participants creative impulses. Any communication is becoming. We experience it as part of a developing flow of events – communicative and other – although we take little conscious notice of that fact. Every purposeful communication occurs in response to perceived changing circumstances and is intended to evoke additional changes in those circumstances.

In the real life people find themselves in various and numerous situations. In these situations language is used appropriately. People select those elements which match the needs of a particular situation.

We should point out here that a non-linguistic (social) situation is viewed in terms of three basic components, being a) purpose b) participants and c) setting. The purpose directs the activities of the participants throughout a situation to complete a task of conducting a meeting, delivering a lecture, making a political speech, interviewing, advertising, etc.

Speech varies with participants in numerous ways. Characteristics taken into account being age, social status, gender, emotional state of the communicators, etc. The setting is to some extent determined by the activity the communicators are engaged in. The setting is arranged along such dimensions as public - private, impersonal – personal, polite - casual, high–cultured – low-cultured.

We must admit however, that various social factors result in stylistic varieties of language, namely a) the purpose of communication (to persuade, to instruct, to calm, to argue …)

b) the speaker’s attitude (personally involved, detached from what’s going on, feeling sad

about …)

c) the form of communication (monologue or dialogue)

d) the degree of formality (formal, informal)

e) the degree of spontaneity (preparedness) – prepared – unprepared).

The effectiveness of your speech will depend in large measure on your voice. Your voice is the instrument that helps convey the meaning of your message. The way your voice transfers language can affect how the listener perceives and interprets the meaning of that language.

The effectiveness of speaker’s voice which is described in terms of pronunciation largely depends upon the appropriate use of pitch patterns, voice volume, rate and emphasis. So, it is quite clear that pronunciation is by no means homogeneous for it varies under the influence of the non-linguistic (social) factors. The capacity of phonetic means to realize age differences, subject matter of the situation, purpose, emotional colouring of communication is of immense importance and interest.

Different models of pronunciation conditioned by certain social factors are generally known as phonetic styles.

The choice of a phonetic style is determined primarily by the purpose of communication. Thus the phonetic style is seen as some kind of additive by which a basic content of thought may be modified. This view sees it as the variable means by which a message is communicated.

The invariant phonostylistic patterns are treated as the norm or the ideal of speech behaviour for particular spheres of communication and they vary in accordance with types of message.

Ultimately, any phonetic style is an extremely complex phenomenon and we will focus on those style forming features that may present a certain amount of interest for would be teachers and interpreters.

One of the features which makes this manual different from other publications is the speech samples which can serve both the educational purpose and the basis for developing rhetoric strategies. In each of the eight modules there’s the main sample of a phonetic style and texts for reading aloud. The samples of phonetic styles are to be studied primarily by ear. We tried our best to select the material for study and analysis that would be not only informative but also entertaining. The sequence of modules is arbitrary as they are independent of one another, though we feel that there is some reason for the order in which we presented them. Following the course the student is involved in all main types of activities that represent basic registers of communication – delivering a lecture, making a political speech, making business presentations, advertising, interviewing, reading fairy tales as well as developing drama technique in language learning and focusing on the phonostylistic specifics of every day familiar talks.

At the same time this practical course of phonostylistics is quite a sufficient minimum for the student to learn how to use the intonation of English to sound appropriately in terms of the style of communication.

To take the course of phonostylistics effectively there must be some grammar and vocabulary background of the elementary stage. That is why the manual is intended for the students of intermediate and upper intermediate levels.

Module 1

Delivering a lecture

I. Input materials

1.1. Rhetoric strategy.

This phonetic style has the qualities that should characterize a speech to inform. The purpose of a lecture is to increase the audience’s understanding or appreciation of a particular field of knowledge. More specifically, lecturers tend to be explainers, they are often called upon to define unclear or new concepts and terms, to indicate how a certain situation arose, or to point out the implications of some old or new policy. Four qualities should characterize a lecture, namely, clarity, the association of new ideas with familiar ones, concreteness and the motivation of the audience.

It is almost certainly true, that no lecture is ever spontaneous, since all of them, even those in which no notes are used, will have been to some extent prepared in advance. Since the purpose of the lecturer is to inform rather than entertain, his aim is to deliver a message across to the audience, to win the attention and interest on the part of the listeners.

1.2. Signposts.

Transmitting ideas orally requires attention to the perceived coherence of your message. Lecturers use preliminary, final and neutral signposts in the form of carefully worded phrases and sentences to enable listeners to follow the movement of ideas with a speech and to perceive the overall message structure. Preliminary and final signposts are especially helpful in laying out or pulling together the major divisions or points of the speech, while neutral tell the audience that another idea is coming:

  • Now by 'way of 'introduction I would go as far as to say that …

  • Per'haps I could 'just point out right at the beginning that …

  • Nobody would want to deny the fact that …

  • It should be noted that …

  • It may be said that …

  • Thus, …

  • We should point out right at the beginning that …

  • So, it is quite clear that …

  • It is reasonable to assume that …

  • Now 'let’s con'sider (sth) …

  • The point is that …

  • We have at'tempted to 'show what …

  • I hope …

  • The 'first problem | I want to discuss with you | is the question of …

  • So 'let me 'concentrate on the ('question of) …

  • The topic of today’s talk is …

  • Now I’d 'like if I may | to spend 'some ˙time on …

  • Now in my next lecture | I 'hope to demonstrate in detail (the classification of ) …

  • … but I shall go into this | in greater detail | later in the course

  • Summarizing,| we may say that …

  • The problem then, of course,| facing anybody who takes that point of view is to say …

  • Well 'on the screen | and on the handout | 'I propose …

  • Now the |first possible criterion is what I call …

  • or looking at it from the other point of view

  • And we can | then say that …

  • So, 'that’s my second kind of definition …

  • A third criterion | which is 'not really the ˙same as either of these is (to ask what …)

  • My 'talk is on (the 'pronun'ciation of English …)

  • So, I’m 'going to talk about (some research …)

  • Now 'personally I think that (length and quality …)

  • Now 'what about ('suprasegmental features …)

('nuclear stress production …)

  • In the first place (I’ll 'try and 'give … )

  • The second point is …

  • In addition to this … (there’s another approach as to …)

  • Now 'look at it from a different angle

  • You 'must keep these (three) things in mind | in order to 'under'stand the im'portance of the (fourth …)

  • Not only … but also …

  • Similar to this …

  • But it’s not (the linking process) I’m concerned with just now. | I shall go into this in greater detail later in the course

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