Intonation contour - I wish

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Degullo

New Member
English
I need to transcribe the intonantion contour for the three forms of wish:
I wish I had a hat
I wish I'd had a hat
I wish he'd sit down

Am I correct in saying that wish is the nuclear syllable, the intonation is rising for "I wish" then falling for the rest of the phrase?
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    In the most natural pronunciation, I'd use the same intonation for all three of these, and the nucleus would be on the last main word, not on wish. So there'd be a final fall: I wish he'd sit \down. The two verbs could also have stresses: I 'wish he'd 'sit \down. More commonly, the middle stress of three would be left out: I 'wish he'd sit \down.

    Anything before the first stress is lower, so you'd have low I followed by higher-level 'wish he'd sit - this would I suppose sound like rising on I wish.

    It is of course possible to put the main accent on practically anything. If you gave it to wish, that would give it a more exasperated, sighing intonation: I wish he'd sit down! So there's the same lower onset on I, the main fall (starting on high) on wish, then the rest would trail off lower. This sounds rather like the intonation you're describing.
     

    Degullo

    New Member
    English
    Thanks for that. Perhaps if only would be more appropriate for the intonation I was describing.
     
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