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  • Developing Pronunciation

    Learning Enhancement Team

    LET@mdx.ac.uk

  • © Middlesex University

    Developing Pronunciation: Timing and Tone Session Aims

    — To consider what English ‘sounds’ like

    — To practice word stress

    — To practice sentence stress

    — To discuss different varieties of English

    — To reflect on accent and identity

    | 2 Developing Pronunciation – Timing and Tone

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    Stress timed or Syllable timed?

    Look at these sentences. With a partner, decide which sentence will take longer to say:

    1. Students buy books.

    2. The students buy the books.

    3. The students will buy the books.

    4. The students will be buying the books.

    Explanation: In English, each sentence takes the same amount of time to say. This is because English is stress timed. Other languages are syllable timed, and in those languages sentence four would take longer.

    Other languages, such as some Asian languages, are tonal:

    | 3 Developing Pronunciation – Timing and Tone

    Answer: They all take the same time.

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    Understanding what stress-timed means

    | 4

    1 2 3 4

    Developing Pronunciation – Timing and Tone

    1 and 2 and 3 and 4

    1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4

    1 and then a 2 and then a 3 and then a 4

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    Matching phrases to stress patterns

    Match the phrases to the stress patterns (there are two for each pattern)

    1. O

    2. oO

    3. OO

    4. Ooo

    5. ooO

    6. oOo

    7. OoO

    8. OoOo

    9. oOoO

    10. OooO

    11. oOoOo

    | 5 Developing Pronunciation – Timing and Tone

    I’ve seen it. Don’t stop.

    Keep quiet! What do you want?

    See you later! Come and see us!

    Wait!

    Begin!

    They’ve arrived.

    I can’t believe it.

    Look! I insist. I spoke to her.

    Who cares?

    She talked. She tried to call you.

    He wants to come.

    Where was he from?

    They’ve finished.

    Don’t worry!

    What’s the time?

    Don’t forget!

  • © Middlesex University

    Answers and considerations

    1. O: Look!, Wait!

    2. oO: Begin, She talked.

    3. OO: Who cares?, Don’t stop!

    4. Ooo: Don’t worry!, Keep quiet.

    5. ooO: They’ve arrived., I insist.

    6. oOo: They’ve finished., I’ve seen it.

    7. OoO: What’s the time?, Don’t forget!

    8. OoOo: See you later!, Come and see us!

    9. oOoO: I spoke to her., He wants to come.

    10. OooO: Where was he from?, What do you want?

    11. oOoOo: She tried to call you., I can’t believe it.

    Activity adapted from Pronunciation Games by Mark Hancock (1995) CUP

    Which of these phrases are impolite? •Who cares? •Keep quiet. •What do you want? How could you make them more friendly?

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    More stress-timed practice

    POEM A

    There ONCE was a FLY on the WALL.

    I WONdered “why DIDn’t it FALL?”

    WERE it’s feet STUCK?

    Or WAS it just LUCK?

    Or does GRAvity MISS things so SMALL?

    POEM B

    There WAS a young LADY named ROSE.

    Who HAD a large WART on her NOSE.

    When she HAD it reMOVED,

    Her apPEARance imPROVED.

    But her GLASSes slipped DOWN to her TOES!

    | 7 Developing Pronunciation – Timing and Tone

    INSTRUCTIONS

    Use the stress-timed beat to get the intonation of these poems to be the same when you say them together.

    FURTHER PRACTICE

    Can you create your own poem to help with intonation connected to your studies?

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    Looking at the big picture of pronunciation

    | 8

    Go on to consider and discuss the following:

    — different varieties of English

    — accent and identity

    Developing Pronunciation – Timing and Tone

  • © Middlesex University

    English Pronunciation as a Global Concept

    English is now widely accepted as an international language (some even argue it is the global language). With this growth has come a number of important considerations:

    —Where is English spoken?

    —Why is English spoken there?

    —How does English differ in these places?

    • varieties, dialects, accents

    —What are the ‘politics’ of English as an International Language?

    —What is meant by convergence and divergence?

    | 9 Developing Pronunciation – Timing and Tone

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    Kachru’s Circles

    | 10

    Inner Circle:

    UK, USA, Australia, Canada..

    Traditionally monolingual

    ‘Native’ accent

    Outer Circle:

    India, Singapore, some African

    countries..

    Post-colonial

    English as an official / second

    language

    Expanding

    Circle:

    China, Russia,

    South America,

    Asia, EU…

    Learning

    English as a

    foreign

    language

    Business

    English

    Other varieties

    Developing Pronunciation – Timing and Tone

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    Target & Expectation

    There are a number of factors to consider when thinking about pronunciation. For example:

    — What is desirable socio-culturally?

    • Where/how/in what context will you use English?

    — What is achievable physically?

    • What is your native language/code?

    • How does it differ from English?

    — Think about aiming for ‘mutual intelligibility’?

    | 11 Developing Pronunciation – Timing and Tone

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    Other Developing Pronunciation Workshops

    | 12 Developing Pronunciation – Timing and Tone

    — Getting the small sounds right

    Individual sounds, the schwa, and word stress

    — Timing and Tone

    Stress-timed speaking, and sentence stress

    — “I don’t like my accent”

    Accent and rhythm

    — “I don’t sound natural”

    Intonation and attitude

    — “I can’t understand other people”

    Connected speech and its benefits for pronunciation

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    Where now?

    — Need more detailed assistance? Book a tutorial!

    — Want feedback on a specific section? Drop in to Get Your Assignment Ready!

    — Want somewhere quiet to write, and get on the spot assistance? Try The Writing Space!

    — Got a few quick questions? AWL Office Hours at [The Study Hub] are for you!

    — AWL Open Workshops can be booked here!

    • Suggestions:

    – Using Your Voice Effectively

    – How To Give Presentations

    | 13 Developing Pronunciation – Timing and Tone

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    Developing Pronunciation Timing and Tone Session Question

    | 14 Developing Pronunciation – Timing and Tone