Accent reduction- English rhythm- learn about pausing

Accent Reduc­tion- Eng­lish Rhythm – Use the ‘Pause’ Cor­rect­ly- AUDIO les­son

Accent Reduc­tion- Eng­lish Rhythm – Use the ‘Pause’ Cor­rect­ly- AUDIO les­son



Learn­ing to use paus­es prop­er­ly is impor­tant when you’re prac­tis­ing accent reduc­tion and Eng­lish rhythm. It helps you sound more like a native Eng­lish speak­er.  If you don’t use paus­es cor­rect­ly when speak­ing Eng­lish, it can change the mean­ing of what you’re say­ing.

PAUSE for mean­ing

For exam­ple; I can say ‘Let’s eat Grand­pa.’ or ‘Let’s eat, Grand­pa.‘ and the Eng­lish rhythm  pause in the sec­ond sen­tence (pause where the com­ma is), gives it a total­ly dif­fer­ent mean­ing. In the first one, they are going to eat their Grand­pa, and in the sec­ond, they are telling Grand­pa that it’s time to eat their food!

The pause doesn’t have to be long- maybe the length of a very short breath in.

The PAUSE for punc­tu­a­tion

The Eng­lish rhythm of paus­ing ( or stop­ping for a full stop), is pro­vid­ed by punc­tu­a­tion in writ­ten Eng­lish- com­mas, colons and semi-colons.

Some­times there isn’t a com­ma to tell you where to pause for Eng­lish rhythm, and then you need to pause at the end of each phrase in the sen­tence. You group or phrase the words into an aver­age of 4-5 words, that feel as if they belong togeth­er. They are giv­ing a piece of infor­ma­tion.

For exam­ple: The boss’ organ­i­sa­tion­al skills were sore­ly lack­ing (end of that piece of infor­ma­tion – pause) so I stayed back late to help her.

PAUSE when the con­cepts are more com­pli­cat­ed

It’s espe­cial­ly impor­tant to pause if what you’re say­ing is full of lots of con­cepts that the lis­ten­er needs to under­stand. Then you’re also paus­ing to give them a chance to take in the mean­ing of each sec­tion of what you are say­ing. This is espe­cial­ly so when giv­ing a talk, or pre­sent­ing to peo­ple.

For exam­ple: “To attract and retain staff, we are devel­op­ing more flex­i­ble work options (pause) such as
part-time employ­ment with the set­ting up of a Locum Office (pause) in order to tap into the pro­fes­sion­al pool in the latent mar­ket.

PAUSE for effect

Don’t for­get  you can also use a pause for effect, to empha­size or her­ald impor­tant infor­ma­tion. This pause is often slight­ly longer than the oth­er ones. 

For exam­ple: ” I’m so excit­ed. I have a secret I want to share with you-pause slight­ly longer than usu­al- I’m going to start my own mar­ket­ing com­pa­ny.”

When you want to empha­size a key word (or phrase), pause imme­di­ate­ly before, and imme­di­ate­ly after the key word (or phrase). Do this togeth­er  with vari­a­tions in pitch, vol­ume, or into­na­tion. These paus­es draw atten­tion to the key word or phrase.

PAUSE to slow your speech down

You can also use the pause to help you speak clear­ly in Eng­lish to slow your speech down, espe­cial­ly if your native lan­guage is spo­ken more quick­ly than Eng­lish.

Accent Reduc­tion- Eng­lish Rhythm – Use the ‘Pause’ Cor­rect­ly -PRACTISE

(sen­tences from our accent reduc­tion train­ing cours­es):-

Cov­er the cat with a blan­ket, and close the cup­board.

After the fes­ti­val, the con­ver­sa­tion was very live­ly.

There were many pack­ages, and some large lug­gage pieces in the train car­riage.

The core rea­son for this is, that even though we use the term “soft­ware engi­neer­ing”, writ­ing code isn’t like oth­er kinds of engi­neer­ing.

So as you can see it’s impor­tant to learn how to use paus­es in Eng­lish to sound more like a native speak­er, and to use cor­rect Eng­lish rhythm. Now that you know more about this, active­ly lis­ten to Eng­lish speak­ers around you and notice this. The more you notice how it’s done, the more you will under­stand how to do it your­self.

Best wish­es, Esther


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