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Friday, 19 September 2014

The calm before the storm

The Calm Before The Storm

What do you think of when you view this photo. I like it because it is a calming scene, nobody is doing anything and there does not seem to be a big rush.
What image comes to mind when you think of the storm.? 


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

English speaking with better intonation and stress.

Correct intonation and stress are the key to speaking English fluently with good pronunciation. Intonation and stress refers to the music of the English language. Words that are stressed are key to understanding and using the correct intonation brings out the meaning. 
Say the following sentence out loud and count in seconds how long it takes you....



The beautiful Mountain appeared transfixed in the distance. 
Time required? Probably about 5 seconds. Now, try speaking this sentence aloud. 

He can come on Sundays as long as he doesn't have to do any homework in the evening. 
Time required? Probably about 5 seconds. 

Wait a minute the first sentence is much shorter than the second sentence! 

The beautiful Mountain appeared transfixed in the distance 
He can come on Sundays as long as he doesn't have to do any homework in the evening 
You are only partially right! 


This simple exercise makes a very important point about how we speak and use English. Namely, English is considered a stressed language while many other languages are considered syllabic. What does that mean? It means that, in English, we give stress to certain words while other words are quickly spoken (some students say eaten!). In other languages, such as French or Italian, each syllable receives equal importance (there is stress, but each syllable has its own length). 

Many speakers of syllabic languages don't understand why we quickly speak, or swallow, a number of words in a sentence. In syllabic languages each syllable has equal importance, and therefore equal time is needed. English however, spends more time on specific stressed words while quickly gliding over the other, less important, words.