Listen and Learn: The Different Intonation of the Noun and the Verb
Intonation, the “music” of a language, is perhaps the most important element of a correct accent. Many people think that pronunciation is what makes up an accent. It may be that pronunciation is very important for an understandable accent. But it is intonation that gives the final touch that makes an accent correct or native. Often we hear someone speaking with perfect grammar, and perfect formation of the sounds of English but with a little something that gives her away as not being a native speaker.
Therefore, it is necessary to realize that there are three components to an accent, pronunciation, intonation, and linking. In other places we will examine pronunciation, the proper formation of vowels and consonants, and linking, the way that syllables within a word, and the beginning and ending of words come together.
But what interests us now is the issue of intonation, and in particular the difference in intonation in saying the same word (same spelling) when it is used as a noun and when it is used as a verb. It is a perfect example of how meaning affects...