ERIC Number: ED158602
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Reference Count: 0
Problems in Testing the Intonation of Advanced Foreign Learners.
Language Center News, n1 p111-123 1978
It is argued that knowledge about the testing of intonation in English as a foreign language is inadequate; the major problems are outlined and tentative suggestions are given. The basic problem is that the traditional foreign language teacher's conception of intonation is limited. A three-part definition of intonation is favored, with suggestions on how to assess each of these subsystems. The sections deal with the assessment of the subsystems of tonality, tonicity and tone which together make up intonation. Tonality is defined as the distribution into tone groups--the number and location of the tone group boundaries. Tonicity is defined as the placing of the tonic syllable--the location in each tone group of the pretonic and tonic sections. Tone is defined as the choice of primary and secondary tone. In the discussion of tone, it is noted that: (1) specific tones do not always accompany specific grammatical forms; (2) there is dialectical and ideolectal variation in tone; (3) there is a "mirage effect" when assessing tone; and (4) tone is not an easily isolated item. The problems of the selection and elicitation of data for assessing intonation are discussed briefly, concluding that free speech with controlled content is the best method. In order to reach a valid and reliable assessment of intonation, more attention must be paid to the importance of the problems involved. (NCR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Jyvaskyla Univ. (Finland). Language Center.