Vary your rate of utterance when telling your story. Speed it up, slow it down. Notice how you feel about the differences. Notice how the listening child responds to the differences.

3. Modulate Your Intonation

There is a story of a professor of English who wrote a sentence on the board and asked his students to punctuate it correctly. The sentence he wrote on the board was, "Woman without her man is nothing." When he came to collect the assignment at the end of class, all the men had written, "Woman, without her man, is nothing." Checking the women's work, he found they had written "Woman! Without her, man is nothing."

I use punctuation as an example here because it is easier to illustrate in the written format of this book, and because, like the intonation of sounds, punctuation adds and diminishes emphasis, at times altering meaning and communicating very different messages.

Intonation refers to the emphasis and tone of voice placed on a word or letter. Intonation distinguishes a statement from a question. It may be used to put accent or weight on a particular word. It can, as seen in the example above, cause the same words to give two totally different meanings. This adjustment or variation of tone is perhaps more common in languages other than English. English does not have the same subtlety of intonation as languages like Chinese or Vietnamese, but, nonetheless, we do modulate language to alter the amplitude of our speech, its frequency, or its tone, thus putting greater emphasis or meaning on an expression. Using intonations, thoughtfully, can enhance the effectiveness of our communication.

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