English accebt training stress and intonation how to use phrasing in sentences

Eng­lish Accent Train­ing Part 3. Eng­lish Stress and Into­na­tion. How to phrase words in sen­tences

In this 3rd arti­cle in the series on Eng­lish accent train­ing for stress and into­na­tion we’re going to look at how to phrase words in longer sen­tences. This phras­ing or group­ing togeth­er of words in a sen­tence, is impor­tant. It’s anoth­er ele­ment you need to pay atten­tion to when you want to improve your Eng­lish stress and into­na­tion so you speak more clear­ly and cor­rect­ly in Eng­lish.

Because words in Eng­lish sen­tences aren’t said as equal­ly stressed units, we lis­ten for mean­ing and clar­i­ty of speech also accord­ing to how the words are grouped or phrased togeth­er. The group­ing con­tributes to the stress or rhythm in sen­tences, and  it also con­tributes to cor­rect Eng­lish  into­na­tion depend­ing on where the phrase comes in the sen­tence.

Eng­lish Accent Train­ing Part 3- Stress and Into­na­tion – How to Phrase Words In Sen­tences

  • When you phrase words togeth­er in Eng­lish, you flow the words togeth­er- almost run them togeth­er as a unit.
  • If the phrase is not at the end of the sen­tence, then there is a very slight pause, and very slight pitch rise, and the vow­el in the last word in the phrase is drawn out very slight­ly. So the into­na­tion goes up. This is espe­cial­ly for a phrase end­ing in a com­ma. This sig­ni­fies to the lis­ten­er that you haven’t fin­ished the sen­tence, and there is more to come so they need to wait and keep lis­ten­ing. 
  • When the phrase ends in a full stop the into­na­tion goes down very slight­ly to sig­ni­fy the end of that thought.

For exam­ple: If you put that on the table now [‘ow’ gets held on slight­ly longer and your pitch or into­na­tion goes from neu­tral  to up, and there’s a slight pause], we’ll remem­ber to take it with us [pitch goes very slight­ly down].

  • When we ask a ques­tion in Eng­lish the pitch or  into­na­tion goes up.

For exam­ple: Are you com­ing? [ pitch starts down on the ‘come and  goes up for the ‘ing’]

Anoth­er exam­ple is:

The direc­tor said  he would divide the intro­duc­tion  into two parts.

At the end of each phrase, there is a very slight pause, and very slight pitch raise, and the vow­el is drawn out very slight­ly.

The words in the phrase (under­lined chunks of words), are said smooth­ly and flow­ing­ly togeth­er.

The main mean­ing words to be stressed or empha­sised are in bold.

Prac­tise Tip for Eng­lish Accent Train­ing Stress and Into­na­tion

1) Lis­ten to the train­er in our accent reduc­tion course say any of the longer sen­tences on any of the pages, or the dia­logues, or the “Phras­es for work­ing with stress and into­na­tion” sec­tion.  Notice how they phrase or group the words togeth­er, and the into­na­tion they use. Mim­ic them exact­ly pay­ing atten­tion to these ele­ments.

2) Write out a script of what you com­mon­ly say at work. Say it aloud to your­self and mark the phras­es, and prac­tise say­ing them smooth­ly and with the cor­rect into­na­tion pat­tern.  After all, you want it to sound nat­ur­al at work.

Click here for part 4 in the series on Eng­lish Accent train­ing, stress and into­na­tion.

Best wish­es, Esther

P.s. Click here to read Part 1, click here to read part 2.

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