How important is it to teach intonation, rhythm and stress? (What problems do learners typically encounter?) Seminar Discussion
Intonation is considered the ‘music’ of speech. Incorrect intonation can result in misunderstandings. Raising awareness of intonation can aid understanding. Intonation or It’s not what you know | it’s who you know. It’s not ↑ WHAT you know, it’s ↑ WHO you know.
Intonation, like other paralinguistic features of language, is best acquired through exposure rather than taught in the classroom. (Thornbury, 2006) Awareness-raising activities: “It’s raining!” … the tone of your voice!
Rhythm “is the way that some words are emphasized so as to give the effect of regular beats” (Thornbury, 2006) or fluidity in spoken language. How would you say the following? If I’d known you were coming, I’d have prepared a meal. If I’d known you were coming, I’d have prepared a meal. Introduce rhythm by humming, clapping, singing or using tongue twisters. Rhythm
Tongue Twister If two witches were watching two watches, which witch would watch which watch?
“Word stress refers to prominence at the word level, while sentence stress refers to the patterns and unstressed syllables over a whole sentence.” (Thornbury, 2006) Vowel sounds are typically weak and unstressed. (Scrivener, 2005) Word stress is a common cause of misunderstanding in English: “They will desert the desert by tomorrow morning.” Stress Levels desert desert
Effects of stress in sentences: David wanted the to buy the red shirt. (not the red tie) David wanted the to buy the red shirt. (not …) David wanted the to buy the red shirt. (not …) David wanted the to buy the red shirt. (not …) David wanted the to buy the red shirt. (not …) Students could complete the explanation as in the first example. Effects of Stress
Sorting Stress Patterns completely interview innocent example suitable opposite universe revision computer important recorder
Cuisenaire rods or Lego bricks Integrating within lessons Tongue twisters Songs, poems, etc Further Ideas Further Reading Sound Foundations by Adrian Underhill Teaching English Pronunciation by Joanne Kenworthy An A-Z of ELT by Scott Thornbury Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener