What Is Intonation?

Mitla Ruina

Question: What is the difference in the way the following two sentences sound?

A. You are going tomorrow.
B. You are going tomorrow?

Answer: The ‘melodies’ of the two sentences are different:

The melody of sentence A drops at the end, making it a statement. The melody of sentence B rises at the end, making it a question.

Periods, question marks, and other punctuation in a written story help the reader to know about the melody.

In languages like English and Spanish, we call these sentence melodies intonations. An intonation is a melody that belongs to an entire sentence. All spoken languages have intonations.