When one pronounces the phrase

a gorgeous young model

in a very normal way (without any special stress to emphasize a specific meaning), which word will be said in the highest pitch, which word will be said in the lowest pitch and which word will receive the middle range?

  • Information added later:

Yeah, I mean the frequency change. See this photo to know what I mean. But I'm not sure if these pitch patterns will sound natural or not, so please recommend me the better pitch pattern!

enter image description here

  • I just see doh - reh - reh - reh - doh. Aug 20, 2019 at 14:46
  • It's the same intonation as "a big red ballon" or "a long uninterrupted service" or "a n difficult necessary undertaking".
    – Mitch
    Aug 20, 2019 at 14:46
  • @Mitch Ballon ? :-)
    – Smock
    Aug 20, 2019 at 15:15
  • @Smock Ben oui, c'est la mot juste.
    – Mitch
    Aug 20, 2019 at 15:37
  • @Mitch D'accord!
    – Smock
    Aug 20, 2019 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


I can't diagram it as you did but I can describe it. The first syllable of gorgeous gets the highest pitch. So, the phrase will have a mountain shape. What happens at the end of the phrase will depend on what's coming next. If this utterance is complete in itself, the pitch will just continue descending at the end. If not, then the pitch can rise a bit at the very end, to indicate that there is more to come.

  • I assume if the phrase is at the end of a sentence, there's nothing behind it, then the last syllable would be in the lowest pitch and the syllable "gor" could be said in the highest pitch as you just said, but how about the other syllables "geous", "young" and "mo"? Where should I put them in the pitch pattern? Will it's order look like the first or the second case in the my picture above or something else?
    – Pith
    Aug 21, 2019 at 4:28
  • @Pith - There it's going to depend on the individual's speaking style and how important / they think the person being a "model" is. Personally I would put gorgeous center stage. Aug 21, 2019 at 4:31
  • So if I put another phrase "really lucky girl" in the same situation as "gorgeous young model", then the syllable "real" could get the highest pitch and the other syllables could be said depending on the individual's speaking style and how important they think the "girl" is, right?
    – Pith
    Aug 21, 2019 at 4:44
  • @Pith - We're in uncharted territory here. I think ELL might be a better place for intonation questions in the long run. Strictly speaking one should ask a separate question for new phrases, I think. With that said, I'll make an exception. For "a really lucky girl" or "a really lucky guy," there is no characteristic shape without context. // I will say that I find intonation patterns fascinating. If you decide to post other questions of this type I hope you will let me know. The best place to ping me about them would be here. SE is funny about pings. In some places they have no effect. Aug 21, 2019 at 14:31

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