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Common Reductions I

The rhythm of English is based on the contrast of stressed and unstressed syllables. The rhythm may not be always there, but overall, it follows a musical unity. The following sentences will give you an idea of how they are said. The stressed syllables are in capital letters, but the unstressed parts are underlined, its rotation shows the do-me-do-me rhythm, which is mentioned in Unit 4. Rhythm is most obvious in report English, such as news reports and narration of a reading passage. While the most common narration we experience, such as telling a childrens story, presents the most distinctive rhythm. Please note No. 10 in this exercise to feel the rhythm of report English.

Besides stress, grouping of words when saying them is also essential to create rhythm. We do not speak English word by word, rather we speak with groups of words. The following exercise will help you understand the rules of grouping words.

After you observed the dialogue and reading passages from the previous section, you have probably had a thorough understanding of how grouping of words help with stress. The following practices are sentence exercises for each feature we introduce in this unit. Practice them, and you will get the rhythm of spoken English.

No learning is completed without a quiz to check your comprehension. The following quiz is designed for you to check whether you can identify the supra-segmental features introduced in this unit. They ARE in the sentences.

But we LOVED with a LOVE that was MORE than love –

With a LOVE that the WINged SEraphs of HEAven

Introduction of Sentence Stress and Rhythm

Ill give her the message as soon as she

Please click on number 30 on the following page to hear the recitation of the poem.

Please print out the following passage first. then listen and mark a straight line in between the words when you hear there is a pause. The first sentence has been done for you.

English learning is not just hard work. Here we have some interesting activities for you to learn and have fun! Turn on the sound track to hear them!

Now listen to Conversation 5 of the elementary level from the following site:

Annebelle LeeWritten by Edgar Allen Poe,Recited by Khandi Alexander

Listen to the reading passages, and you will find grouping of words also help with creating rhythm in speaking English. Listen while reading the lines in the passages to know the grouping principals.

The following sentences were originally spoken as a dialogue. Please listen and mark a hook under the words when you identify it is linked.

And this maiden SHE lived with NO Other thought

Closely observe dialogues or reading passages, one can easily find various supra-segmental features prevail everywhere. The following dialogue and reading passage contain various supra-segmental features. Please listen as many times as you would like, and observe the features as presented.

The following web pages can help you get a even clearer picture of how sentence stress is spoken.

(Source: Sound Check 11, p. 93, Get Real 2, by Angela Buckingham and Miles Craven, 2001, Oxford: Macmillan Education, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited.)

And NEIther the ANgels in HEAven aBOVE,

That a MAIden THERE lived WHOM you may KNOW

And the stars NEVER rise but I FEEL the BRIGHT EYES

When a speaker says a sentence, there is usually one focus of meaning which the speaker stresses. Sentence stress is where the focus is on. When the sentence is simple, there is only one sentence stress. But if the sentence is a compound or complex sentence, which may carry more than one clause, there will be more than one sentence stress. The following sentences are simple ones that will help you build up the conception of sentence stress.

For the moon NEver beams without bringing me DREAMS

But our love was STRONger by FAR than the LOVE

Can EVER disSEver my SOUL from the SOUL


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