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IELTS Preparation Series 1, Episode 24: Perfect siesta


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0:14

Hello, and welcome again to Study English, IELTS Preparation. I'm Margot Politis.

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Today we're going to look at intonation- how we use a rising or falling tone of voice to

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convey meaning - and we'll also have a quick look at how to use commas.

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But first, let's watch a clip about sleep. We'll see a researcher doing some tests on

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a subject, to see just what the benefits are of an afternoon nap.

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Researchers at Flinders University say a short sleep in the mid afternoon could actually

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increase a worker's productivity.

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Each subject performed a series of tests before and after their mid afternoon sleep.

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Some subjective tests of alertness, fatigue, vigour, and also some cognitive performance

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tasks, some which are pencil and paper and some that are done on the computer, and also

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an objective measure of alertness, which is how long it takes someone to fall asleep.

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So if it takes them a long time to fall asleep, that would suggest that they're quite alert,

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and a short time to fall asleep would mean that they're quite sleepy.

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Do you think you were asleep?

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Yes, hard to tell but I think so. I think I did for a bit.

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For how long?

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It felt like probably a couple of minutes, I reckon.

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I want you to do exactly the same thing now. I want you to start here and want you to go

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as quickly and as accurately as you can until I tell you to stop.

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So in that clip we heard a researcher talking to the subject of her tests.

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You'll notice her intonation changed a lot.

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Intonation refers to the changes in pitch in our voice as we speak - whether our voices

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go up, or down.

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Intonation is very important to learn. It has many functions in a language.

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It conveys emotion. We can tell immediately listening to someone how they feel.

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Someone can sound happy, or sound sad.

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Hello, how are you?

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Hello, how are you?

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Intonation also conveys meaning. It let's the listener know whether something is a question

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or a statement, or it can indicate different levels of certainty or uncertainty.

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Hello, are you well?

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Hello, are you well?

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Learning intonation is especially helpful for learning to ask questions, and indicating

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what sort of answer we expect.

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Watch part of the clip again, and listen closely to the intonation as the doctor talks to her

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subject.

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Do you think you were asleep?

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Yes, hard to tell but I think so. I think I did for a bit.

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For how long?

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It felt like a couple of minutes, I reckon.

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The doctor says to the subject, "Do you think you were asleep?"

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Does this have a rising or falling tone?

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Listen again.

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Do you think you were asleep?

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Do you think you were asleep?

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Her voice goes up at the end of the sentence. We call this a rising tone.

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The rising tone is used for yes/no questions - questions that need a yes or no answer.

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Listen now to the second question. Does it have a rising or falling tone?

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For how long?

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It felt like a couple of minutes, I reckon.

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The doctor says, "For how long?"

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This is a question too, but it has a falling tone.

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A falling tone is used with information questions.

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They're questions that need information as an answer, not just a yes or no answer.

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The man answers with a statement: A couple of minutes, I reckon. This takes a falling

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tone.

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In English, statements usually end in a falling tone.

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The falling tone at the end tells the listener that the statement is finished.

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Listen to the intonation used to give instructions.

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I want you to start here and I want you to go as quickly and as accurately as you can

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until I tell you to stop.

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Did you hear the falling tone at the end?

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She said, "until I tell you to stop".

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This tells the listener that this is the end of the instruction.

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So, let's look at when to use rising and falling tones again.

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