Lesson 19 – Rising-falling intonation


Imitate the woman who is reading this story. Use the same intonation.


Quiz Answers

Does she ˈlike‿it?
My ˈfather‿is‿in the ˈfront‿of the ˈline.
Toˈmorrow‿is my ˈbirthday.
The ˈsun‿is ˈreally ˈhot‿at‿ˈnoon but‿ˈnot‿in the‿ˈevening.
ˈCall ˈFrank‿as‿ˈsoon‿as‿you come ˈback.
She ˈlooked‿ˈthoughtfully‿at‿the ˈpainting ˈhanging‿on the‿ˈwall.
Will ˈthese ˈclothes ˈfit‿in ˈthis‿ˈsuitcase?
ˈWhy‿is the ˈsky ˈso ˈdark‿at‿ˈnight?
He’s ˈnot‿a ˈpatient‿ˈman so be ˈsure to ˈcome‿on ˈtime.
When‿I‿was ˈthirsty, ˈBob‿is the ˈman who ˈgave me‿a ˈdrink.
ˈWhat‿do‿you ˈlike‿to ˈdo‿in‿your ˈfree time?
ˈEveryone‿ˈneeds to‿imˈprove their ˈlanguage skills.
I ˈlove to ˈtalk‿in‿ˈEnglish.
The‿ˈyoung ˈman gave‿ˈup‿his‿ˈseat‿on the ˈbus for the‿ˈold‿ˈwoman.
It‿ˈIS going to ˈsnow ˈthis ˈwinter, ˈisn’t‿it?


Recall the four basic tones of English:

  • Very high
  • High
  • Normal
  • Low

Tell me the tones as I say these sentences:

Today is Monday.

What’s your name?

Rising-Falling Intonation

There is a common pattern in English where the tones go normal-high-low.

This is called Rising-Falling intonation.


There are three main kinds of sentences that use Rising-Falling intonation:

  1. Statements
  2. Commands
  3. Wh-questions

Let’s look at some examples of each of these.



This is my friend.

I’m leaving tomorrow.


Sit down.

Please close the window.


What’s the matter?

Where is my book?

How to mark Rising Falling intonation

The high tone is usually at the last stressed syllable of the sentence.


1. Mark all the stressed words

2. The first part of the sentence uses normal intonation.

3. If the last stressed syllable has any unstressed syllables after it, then make the last stressed syllable high and the unstressed syllables low.

4. If the last syllable of the sentence is stressed, then make it high-to-low.


I’m going to the store with him.

Get me some paper.

How much do you want?

I want as much as you can carry.

Then give your bag to me.

Then give me your bag.

When will you come back?


Write the IPA, stress, and word blending from the final exam dialog.



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