Discourse-Level Intonation: A Challenge in EFL Instruction

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Jindaporn Sangganjanavanish

Abstract

Within the field of pronunciation research, a focus on the prosodic aspect of language rather than individual sounds has generated growing interest in intonation over the past few decades.  It is widely recognized that intonation functions as one of the means of achieving effective communication in English and thus deserves attention in pronunciation instruction.  The purpose of this paper is to discuss the significance of intonation teaching within the EFL context.  First, the paper reviews literature in the area of discourse intonation, particularly the role of intonation in marking information structure and signaling topic structure in a discourse.  Studies of the intonation patterns of nonnative speakers are then surveyed.  Finally, it is contended that the teaching of discourse-level intonation remains a challenge in EFL situations despite an increasing awareness of its significance in communication and the difficulties nonnative speakers have in this regard.

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Academic Article