Gary Kirkpatrick Learning Advisor Nihon Fukushi University
There is no royal road to Learning [1824 Emerson Journal (1961) II. 268] a language! [2010 Gary Kirkpatrick]
Is pronunciation important? Yes BUT Speaking clearly is more than just pronouncing every word correctly. Prosody - stress and intonation.
Listen: Pronunciation? Good Understandable? So so! Why?
Because there are more important things than pronunciation! Don’t tell your English teacher! But it is true!
‘Stress, rhythm, intonation and pausing have the strongest effect’ on native speakers when they listen to non-native speaker’s English. So you don’t have to say each word perfectly to be understood.
Speak the Content Words clearly. Content words????? Words with the most important information! You also need to stress them! This kind of stress?
How to stress a word. A. increase the volume I LOVE Aya. B. change the pitch I L OV E Aya. C. make it longer I LOOOOOVE Aya. Yada kono oyaji! What’s with this old guy!
Content Words - stressed Nouns ex. Aya (most) principal verbs ex. love Adjectives ex. beautiful Adverbs ex. forever Help! This old guy is bugging me!
Function Words - Don’t stress Determiners ex. the, a, some Auxiliary verbs ex. am, can, were Prepositions ex. before, next to Conjunctions ex. as, and, but Pronouns ex. I, they, he, we Unless they are important! I love Aya more than Mr. Go.
Listening: Listen to the two sentences. A. B.B. What do you think? Hmmmm B
Now listen again and read: A. When I got/ /up I had a sore throat and I thought/ /I must have/ /slept on my back and snored/ /all night. B. When I got up/ /I had a sore throat/ / and I thought/ /I must have slept on my back/ /and snored all night. Timing!
Timing? How fast or slow you speak. We use pauses/ /like stress/ /to show//what is important. I/ /love Aya.
Listening test. A. (No pauses.) Okay? No? Listen again! B. (Pauses.) Much better!
Where to pause? Stress and pauses - found at ‘syntactic constituent boundaries’ Pause at the end of an important piece of information. Once again. Please stand up/ /, turn to the left/ /, and smile / /at the person on your left.
Let’s practice: Please repeat. I PROMISE/ /to do my BEst/ /to become a BETTER English speaker. I WIIILL practice speaking English using STRESS/ /and PAUSES/ /so I will be BETTER understood. I will ALWAYS lOVe Aya. Sigh
How can I practice? Here are some great home pages you can use to practice using English and prosody.
Also check out my suggestions in the brochure!
Let me ask you again. Can you speak better English? The answer is… Yes, of course! But it will take TIME, EFFORT and a REAL desire to communicate WELL in English! Yes, you can! By Violentz
Where there is a will, there is a way. This is you!
Thank you. Good luck!
References One: Anderson-Hsieh, J., Johnson R., & Koehler, K. (1992). The relationship between native speaker judgments of non-native pronunciation and deviance in segmentals, prosody, and syllable structure. Language Learning, 42, Emerson, R.W. (1824) Journal (1961) II. Pg.268 Loon, J. (Winter 2002) Improving Pronunciation of Adult ESL Students. TESL Canada Journal Vol.20, No.1,
References Two: English Central Smart.FM FACEBOOK
Good afternoon everyone. Today as you can see I will talk a little about ways to improve your English speaking ability. But..
there is no royal road to learning a language. It isn’t easy. You need to study the grammar, remember lots of vocabulary and then there is the pronunciation and other prosodic features to study. I will talk a little more about prosody today.
The ability to clearly pronounce words IS important. Yes, of course BUT speaking clearly is more than pronouncing every word correctly. You have to also remember prosody. Prosody is the pattern of stress and intonation in a language.
Listen to this sentence. When I got/ /up I had a sore throat and I thought/ /I must have/ /slept on my back and snored/ /all night. How is the pronunciation? Good, right?
Is it easy to understand? So so! Why?
Some teachers say that pronunciation is EVERYTHING! But there are more important things than pronunciation. Don’t tell your English teacher! But it is true!
A study in America asked native speakers to listen to non-native speakers speaking English. The professors found that ‘Stress, rhythm, intonation and pausing have the strongest effect’ on native speakers when they listen to non-native speaker’s English.
So native English speakers don’t care if you can’t say every word perfectly. But you need to speak the content words clearly. What are content words? These are the words that have the most important information!
You have to stress these words too! Not this kind of stress.
How do you stress a word? To stress words you need to make them sound louder than the other words. There are three main ways to stress words.
First, you can increase the volume. I LOVE Aya. Next, you can change the pitch.
Pitch is when you make a part of a word sound louder. I LOVE Aya. Finally, you can make the word sound longer. I LOOOOOVE Aya.
So you need to stress the content words the words with the most important information. These are some of the kinds of words that carry important information; nouns, most principal verbs, adjectives and adverbs.
We don’t put stress on function words. These are words like determiners, auxiliary verbs, prepositions, conjunctions and pronouns.
UNLESS they are important! For example; I love Aya MORE than Mr. Go. The I is important in this case. Now please listen to these two sentences.
A. When I got / / up I had a sore throat, and I thought / / I must have / / slept on my back and snored / / all night. B. When I got up / / I had a sore throat, / / and I thought / / I must have slept on my back / / and snored all night.
What do you think? Which one is more natural, A or B? Yes, B. Why?
Now let’s try it together. A. When I got/ /up I had a sore throat and I thought/ /I must have/ /slept on my back and snored/ /all night. B. When I got up/ /I had a sore throat/ /and I thought/ /I must have slept on my back/ /and snored all night.
So what is different? The timing!
Timing is how fast or slow you speak. We use pauses/ /like stress/ /to show what/ /is important. I/ /love Aya.
Now let’s have a test! Listen and follow the instructions you hear. A. Please stand up, turn to the left, and smile at the person on your left.
How was it? Difficult to follow? Let’s listen to B. B. Please stand up/ /, turn to the left/ /, and smile / / at the person on your left.
How was it this time? Better? The pauses make it easier to follow, right?
But where to put the pause? Pauses are usually found at ‘syntactic constituent boundaries’. That means we pause after an important piece of information. Once again please follow these instructions.
So let’s practice one last time. Please repeat after me. And remember the stress and pauses. First me than you.
I PROMISE/ /to do my Best/ / to become a BETTER English speaker. I WIIILL practice speaking English using STRESS/ / and PAUSES / / so I will be BETTER understood. I will ALWAYS love Aya.
But how can you practice? Let me introduce some great Internet home pages where you can practice using English and prosody. These and the ones in your brochure are sites I have recommended to my students this year.
At English Central you can improve your listening. And practice repeating from a variety of movies and other videos. If you use a microphone you can record your voice and the English Central computer will check your pronunciation and intonation and give you a score.
To get a good score you need to use stress, pauses and timing not just pronunciation. Is it easy? No, but if you want to improve your English you have to try and try again.
At Smart.Fm you can build vocabulary. This sight lets you choose goals and helps you to study and review until you know the words perfectly.
Finally, Facebook. At this site you can enjoy using English to get to know people from all over the world.
You can also enjoy playing various games in English. Games like Cafe World and FARMVILLE. You can have your own restaurant or be farmer. It is a fun way to use English! See you there!
Let me ask you again. Can you speak better English? The answer is… Yes, of course!
But it will take TIME, EFFORT and a real DESIRE to speak better English! It will not be easy but as I said there is no royal road. To learning a language!
If you keep trying you CAN and WILL succeed! Good luck and remember Where there is a will, there is a way.
Thank you. Good luck with your studies!
I would like to thank these sources for helping me with this presentation. These too!