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Stress in sentences - content words

Content words are words

representing an action, object, attribute, or state. The grammatical categories for content words are: nouns, main verbs, adverbs, adjectives and question words.

Content
Contains the main idea of the sentence In a regular sentence form, the nouns are

given the stress first but in a question form, the verbs are given the primary priority. Sound: words are read stronger Stress: strong --2-syllable words are stressed at the first syllable; 3-syllable words are gen stress on the second syllable Duration/ Time: read longer Pitch: higher

Sound/Stress:
The stressed syllable is louder,

longer and higher pitched than the syllables in structure words. The unstressed syllable has the same power as a structure word. a one-syllable content word is always stressed. example: Commands Go home!

Common Error 1:
Pronouncing all syllables with equal stress; stress is too strong
All words sound like one-syllable

content words e.g. Command sentences --Go home!


You may offend or surprise people

because you will sound like you are talking too loudly. They may think you are excited, or angry, or bossy

Common error 2
Pronouncing all syllables with equal weak stress

All words sound like unstressed syllables it is hard to identify the nouns and verbs Content words will be hard to understand; people may ask you to talk louder or to talk clearly Culturally unaware or insensitive people may think you are sick, lazy, stupid, or confused. e.g. I want to go home.

Common error 3
Pronouncing the syllables with the wrong stress pattern

Verbs become nouns and vice versa, e.g. re-cord and record "new" words are created Confusion, people asking for repetition, other general social problems

Common error 4:
Failing to pronounce one aspect of the content word
Recall that a content has a stressed syllable which is longer in duration, higher pitched, and louder than all of the other syllables. If the speaker leaves out one of these things, the listener may not hear the syllable clearly.

e.g. He found a mouse under the couch.

Stress in sentences: Structure words


Provides grammatical structure to the sentence Preposition - in, on, over Article a, an, the Pronoun he, she, it To be verbs is, are, am Conjunction- and, but, or

Structure words: characteristics


Sound: words are read quieter Stress: 1- syllable words are unstressed s.a.

in, on; they are contracted words (read as if they are one she is a ) or reduced (going to becomes gonna ) Stress: multi-syllable words are stressed but its pitch doesnt go as high as the content words Duration/ Time: shorter Pitch: lower

Common Errors
Pronouncing all syllables with equal stress

either all too strong. In effect, you may offend/ surprise someone or they may think you are alwaysexcited or bossy or angry. Pronouncing all syllables with equal stress either all too weak. In effect, people cant tell what your main point is. Pronouncing the syllables with the wrong stress. Grammatical categories may be mixedup e.g. nouns become verbs and vice versa.

Contractions / Reduction
Contractions are written short forms,

usually combinations of content and structure words. When we say them we omit certain sounds. In order to sound relaxed and natural when speaking English, it is necessary to practice using contractions and short (reduced) forms. Example of a contraction: do not > don't

Contractions / Reduction
Example of a reduced form: to > t Typical consonant and vowel changes: Vowels: In unstressed syllables, vowels often become . e.g. stressed unstressed

message > me sj

Vowels may also be dropped completely:

-elementary > e- le- men- tri Consonants: The best way to learn the patterns is to listen to spoken English and have a good grasp of the correct grammar underlying the reductions being heard.

Linking consonants to vowels


Linking improves the rhythm of the

sentence. Linked speech sounds smoother and more natural. When there is a word in the middle of a sentence starting with a vowel sound, English speakers will connect the word to the final consonant of the word, which comes before it. e.g. I would like a glass of orange juice

Linking consonants to vowels


The Exercises:Write / Read Example: Our office is open. The school is open. (The schools open.) The store is closed. (The stores closed.)

Paul bought a new CD.


Don't talk on the phone! Donna thought about it. It is hot in August. The dog walked on the beach

Common Error
Not linking consonant to vowel The sentence will be harder for the listener to understand, as he or she is expecting to hear linking. As mentioned, the sentence will sound "broken up", less smooth.

Linking consonant to consonant


linking improves the rhythm of the sentence

and prevents the listener from becoming confused. When two identical English consonants must be pronounced consecutively, they are said as one "long" consonant. e.g. Which child is yours? (make a long sound tS+tS) In the case of sounds which stop the air, one short sound is made, and there is a pause for the length of the second consonant. He lost his lab book. (make one b sound)

Linking consonant to consonant


We do not pronounce the second sound. Linking is marked with underline Non-identical consonants- When the

consonants are not the same, the native speaker blends them. As a result, sometimes all or part of a sound is lost. Sometimes a sound changes to another one during quick speech.

Common Errors
The sentence will be harder for the listener

to understand, as he or she is expecting to hear linking. As mentioned, the sentence will sound "broken up", less smooth. Exercise: The song sounds nice Kelly sings very well. What's wrong with it? Example: The song sounds nice. Student: The song sounds pretty.

Stops in various positions


a stop is a sound which is produced by

stopping the air flow completely for a brief period. Voicing: Voiced stops: b,g,d Voiceless stops: p,t,k Position: When a voiceless stop comes at the beginning of a word it is accompanied by a succeeding strong puff of air. This is called aspiration. At the beginning of a word, the aspiration is very strong.

Stops
In the middle of the word, except for t, the

aspiration is moderate. At the ends of words, voiced stops become unreleased. That means the speaker still puts the mouth and tongue into the position of the sound, starts to make the sound, but does not release the air. This is why one does not hear a strongly pronounced stop at the end of a word in English, unless it is linking to the same type of consonant, or to a vowel.

Examples
amount of aspiration is marked with a "+" ;

Unreleased stops are marked with a Underlined are marked with flapped r in place of the t The p+++ap++er is p+++urp++le. The p+++eop++le are sp+eaking P+++ersian. K++aren is drink+ing C++oc+a C++ola and eating cak-e. P+++lease get up-! T++ry to write it- fast-!

Note:
The aspiration is weak if the stop is part of a

consonant cluster. Sometimes the stop, always written as a voiceless stop, will sound like a voiced stop. Voiced stops - b,g,d There is no aspiration of voiced stops but they have weaker voicing at the beginning of a word or at the end. This can fool learners into thinking that they are hearing a voiceless stop, when they are really hearing a weak voiced stop. However, learners can learn to identify aspiration, which can be used as a guide to prevent confusion.

Common Errors
1.Incorrect voicing: The sentence will be harder for the listener to understand. Listeners will think that t=d k=g, p=b or vice versa Tip: Practice the aspiration of voiceless stops. Note: exception: The aspiration is weak if the stop is the second or third part of a consonant cluster (e.g. sp. sk, st, t, d ). It may sound like a voiced stop. expecting to hear a lot of aspiration at the beginning, and unreleased stops at the end. Result: initial p may sound like b, t like d, k like g.

Common Errors
Pronunciation Tip for consonant clusters: In this case, if it is easier to pronounce, one may

substitute a unvoiced stop for a voiced one, e.g. sky > sgy (there is no difference in the sound of these). This may not be done in the other positions of stops! Confusion will result! 2. Using the wrong amount of aspiration: The sentence will be harder for the listener to understand, as he or she is expecting to hear a lot of aspiration at the beginning, and unreleased stops at the end. Result: initial p may sound like b, t like d, k like g.

Exercise
In pairs: The first student will read each

sentence. The second student will determine which word that student used. That peach/speech was good. What color is the parrot/carrot? Tongue Twisters: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers; A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked; If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,How many peppers did Peter Piper pick?