Intonation is the melody of speech. Speech scientists tell us that the intonation of a sentence provides us with 70% of its meaning. Consonants and vowels might be mispronounced, but if the intonation is correct, we are likely to understand the message. Say the following sentences on the left, and then match them up with their meanings on the right. (Hint: Stress the italicized words.)
1. I didn’t say Bill was fired. a. I wrote it!
2. I didn’t say Bill was fired. b. He was hired!
3. I didn’t say Bill was fired. c. Mary did.
4. I didn’t say Bill was fired. d. Phil was.
5. I didn’t say Bill was fired. e. I swear!
We cannot communicate effectively in a monotone, or by stressing the wrong words. The correct intonation pattern, both within words and across entire messages, is critical to clear and efficient communication.
Voice improvement can teach you the rules to intonation. Remember, intonation provides 70% of the meaning of a sentence!
1, c 2, e 3, a 4, d 5, b