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Old Wednesday, October 31, 2007
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Default English Pronunciation

English Pronunciation



pronunciation (noun): the way in which we pronounce a word
pronounce (verb): to make the sound of a word



Chapter # 1

English is not Phonetic

Always remember that English is not "phonetic". That means that we do not always say a word the same way that we spell it.

Some words can have the same spelling but different pronunciation, for example:

  • I like to read [ri:d].
  • I have read [red] that book.

Some words have different spelling but the same pronunciation, for example:
  • I have read [red] that book.
  • My favourite colour is red [red].


The English language may have 26 letters of the alphabet, but it has double that number of sounds: 52. Knowing and recognizing the 52 sounds will help to give you good pronunciation. Of course, everybody knows that good pronunciation helps our speaking. But do you know that good pronunciation also helps our listening.







Word Stress in English

Word stress is your magic key to understanding spoken English. Native speakers of English use word stress naturally. Word stress is so natural for them that they don't even know they use it. Non-native speakers who speak English to native speakers without using word stress, encounter two problems:

They find it difficult to understand native speakers, especially those speaking fast.
The native speakers may find it difficult to understand them.


In this lesson we look at the most important aspects of word stress, followed by a short quiz to check your understanding:






Understanding Syllables

To understand word stress, it helps to understand syllables.
Every word is made from syllables.
Each word has one, two, three or more syllables.





word _______ number of syllables

dog ________________ 1
green _______________ 1
quite ________________ 1
qui-et _______________ 2
or-ange ______________ 2
ta-ble ________________2
ex-pen-sive ___________ 3
in-ter-est-ing __________ 4
re-al-is-tic ____________ 4
un-ex-cep-tion-al _______ 5






Notice that (with a few rare exceptions) every syllable contains at least one vowel (a, e, i, o or u) or vowel sound.








What is Word Stress?

In English, we do not say each syllable with the same force or strength. In one word, we accentuate ONE syllable. We say one syllable very loudly (big, strong, important) and all the other syllables very quietly.

Let's take 3 words: photograph, photographer and photographic. Do they sound the same when spoken? No. Because we accentuate (stress) ONE syllable in each word. And it is not always the same syllable. So the shape of each word is different.


This happens in ALL words with 2 or more syllables: TEACHer, JaPAN, CHINa, aBOVE, converSAtion, INteresting, imPORtant, deMAND, etCETera, etCETera, etCETera

The syllables that are not stressed are weak or small or quiet. Native speakers of English listen for the STRESSED syllables, not the weak syllables. If you use word stress in your speech, you will instantly and automatically improve your pronunciation and your comprehension.

Try to hear the stress in individual words each time you listen to English - on the radio, or in films for example. Your first step is to HEAR and recognise it. After that, you can USE it!

There are two very important rules about word stress:

1. One word, one stress. (One word cannot have two stresses. So if you hear two stresses, you have heard two words, not one word.)

2. The stress is always on a vowel.




Why is Word Stress Important?

Word stress is not used in all languages. Some languages, Japanese or French for example, pronounce each syllable with eq-ual em-pha-sis.

Other languages, English for example, use word stress.

Word stress is not an optional extra that you can add to the English language if you want. It is part of the language! English speakers use word stress to communicate rapidly and accurately, even in difficult conditions. If, for example, you do not hear a word clearly, you can still understand the word because of the position of the stress.

Think again about the two words photograph and photographer. Now imagine that you are speaking to somebody by telephone over a very bad line. You cannot hear clearly. In fact, you hear only the first two syllables of one of these words, photo... Which word is it, photograph or photographer? Of course, with word stress you will know immediately which word it is because in reality you will hear either PHOto... or phoTO... So without hearing the whole word, you probably know what the word is ( PHOto...graph or phoTO...grapher). It's magic! (Of course, you also have the 'context' of your conversation to help you.)

This is a simple example of how word stress helps us understand English. There are many, many other examples, because we use word stress all the time, without thinking about it.








Where do I Put Word Stress?

There are some rules about which syllable to stress. But...the rules are rather complicated! Probably the best way to learn is from experience. Listen carefully to spoken English and try to develop a feeling for the "music" of the language.

When you learn a new word, you should also learn its stress pattern. If you keep a vocabulary book, make a note to show which syllable is stressed. If you do not know, you can look in a dictionary. All dictionaries give the phonetic spelling of a word. This is where they show which syllable is stressed, usually with an apostrophe (') just before or just after the stressed syllable. (The notes at the front of the dictionary will explain the system used.) Look at (and listen to) this example for the word plastic. There are 2 syllables. Syllable #1 is stressed.







Rules of Word Stress in English

There are two very simple rules about word stress:

1. One word has only one stress. (One word cannot have two stresses. If you hear two stresses, you hear two words. Two stresses cannot be one word. It is true that there can be a "secondary" stress in some words. But a secondary stress is much smaller than the main [primary] stress, and is only used in long words.)


2. We can only stress vowels, not consonants.


Here are some more, rather complicated, rules that can help you understand where to put the stress. But do not rely on them too much, because there are many exceptions. It is better to try to "feel" the music of the language and to add the stress naturally.



1 Stress on first syllable

Quote:
rule: Most 2-syllable nouns

example: PRESent, EXport, CHIna, TAble

Quote:
rule: Most 2-syllable adjectives

example: PRESent, SLENder, CLEVer, HAPpy


2 Stress on last syllable

Quote:
rule: Most 2-syllable verbs

example: to preSENT, to exPORT, to deCIDE, to beGIN

There are many two-syllable words in English whose meaning and class change with a change in stress. The word present, for example is a two-syllable word. If we stress the first syllable, it is a noun (gift) or an adjective (opposite of absent). But if we stress the second syllable, it becomes a verb (to offer). More examples: the words export, import, contract and object can all be nouns or verbs depending on whether the stress is on the first or second syllable.





3 Stress on penultimate syllable (penultimate = second from end)


Quote:
rule: Words ending in -ic

example: GRAPHic, geoGRAPHic, geoLOGic

Quote:
rule: Words ending in -sion and -tion

example: teleVIsion, reveLAtion

For a few words, native English speakers don't always "agree" on where to put the stress. For example, some people say teleVIsion and others say TELevision. Another example is: CONtroversy and conTROversy.


4 Stress on ante-penultimate syllable (ante-penultimate = third from end)

Quote:
rule:Words ending in -cy, -ty, -phy and -gy

example: deMOcracy, dependaBIlity, phoTOgraphy, geOLogy

Quote:
rule: Words ending in -al

example: CRItical, geoLOGical



5 Compound words (words with two parts)

Quote:
rule: For compound nouns, the stress is on the first part

example: BLACKbird, GREENhouse
Quote:
rule: For compound adjectives, the stress is on the second part

example: bad-TEMpered, old-FASHioned
Quote:
rule: For compound verbs, the stress is on the second part

example: to underSTAND, to overFLOW
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Old Thursday, November 01, 2007
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Chapter # 2


Sentence Stress in English

Sentence stress is the music of spoken English. Like word stress, sentence stress can help you to understand spoken English, especially when spoken fast.

Sentence stress is what gives English its rhythm or "beat". You remember that word stress is accent on one syllable within a word. Sentence stress is accent on certain words within a sentence.

Most sentences have two types of word:
  • content words
  • structure words


Content words are the key words of a sentence. They are the important words that carry the meaning or sense.

Structure words are not very important words. They are small, simple words that make the sentence correct grammatically. They give the sentence its correct form or "structure".

If you remove the structure words from a sentence, you will probably still understand the sentence.

If you remove the content words from a sentence, you will not understand the sentence. The sentence has no sense or meaning.

Imagine that you receive this telegram message:


Quote:
SELL me CAR because I'm GONE to FRANCE

This sentence is not complete. It is not a "grammatically correct" sentence. But you probably understand it. These 4 words communicate very well. Somebody wants you to sell their car for them because they have gone to France. We can add a few words:



Quote:
Will you SELL my CAR because I've GONE to FRANCE
The new words do not really add any more information. But they make the message more correct grammatically. We can add even more words to make one complete, grammatically correct sentence. But the information is basically the same:



In our sentence, the 4 key words (sell, car, gone, France) are accentuated or stressed.

Why is this important for pronunciation? It is important because it adds "music" to the language. It is the rhythm of the English language. It changes the speed at which we speak (and listen to) the language. The time between each stressed word is the same.

In our sentence, there is 1 syllable between SELL and CAR and 3 syllables between CAR and GONE. But the time (t) between SELL and CAR and between CAR and GONE is the same. We maintain a constant beat on the stressed words. To do this, we say "my" more slowly, and "because I've" more quickly. We change the speed of the small structure words so that the rhythm of the key content words stays the same.







Rules for Sentence Stress in English

The basic rules of sentence stress are:

1. content words are stressed
2. structure words are unstressed
3. the time between stressed words is always the same


The following tables can help you decide which words are content words and which words are structure words:




Content words - stressed



Words carrying the meaning ______ Example

main verbs ______ SELL, GIVE, EMPLOY
nouns ______ CAR, MUSIC, MARY
adjectives ______ RED, BIG, INTERESTING
adverbs ______ QUICKLY, LOUDLY, NEVER
negative auxiliaries ______ DON'T, AREN'T, CAN'T



Structure words - unstressed



Words carrying the grammar ______ Example

pronouns ______ he, we, they
prepositions ______ on, at, into
articles ______ a, an, the
conjunctions ______ and, but, because
auxiliary verbs ______ do, be, have, can, must




Exceptions

The above rules are for for what is called "neutral" or normal stress. But sometimes we can stress a word that would normally be only a structure word, for example to correct information. Look at the following dialogue:

"They've been to Mongolia, haven't they?"
"No, THEY haven't, but WE have.

Note also that when "be" is used as a main verb, it is usually unstressed (even though in this case it is a content word).
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Old Thursday, November 01, 2007
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Chapter # 3

Homophones

Homophones are words that have exactly the same sound (pronunciation) but different meanings and (usually) spelling.

For example, the following two words have the same sound, but different meanings and spelling:
  • hour
  • our



In the next example, the two words have the same sound and spelling, but different meanings:
  • bear (the animal)
  • bear (to carry)

Usually homophones are in groups of two (our, hour), but very occasionally they can be in groups of three (to, too, two) or even four. If we take our "bear" example, we can add another word to the group"
  • bare (naked)
  • bear (the animal)
  • bear (to tolerate)



Quote:
The word homophone is made from two combining forms:
homo- (from the Greek word "homos", meaning "same"
-phone (from the Greek word "phone", meaning "voice" or "sound"
You will see many other English words using one or other of these combining forms.


The following list of 70 groups of homophones contains only the most common homophones, using relatively well-known words. These are headwords only. No inflections (such as third person singular "s" or noun plurals) are included.




air _______ heir
aisle _______ isle
ante- _______ anti-
eye _______ I
bare _______ bear _______ bear
be _______ bee
brake _______ break
buy _______ by
cell _______ sell
cent _______ scent
cereal _______ serial
coarse _______ course
complement _______ compliment
dam _______ damn
dear _______ deer
die _______ dye
fair _______ fare
fir _______ fur
flour _______ flower
for _______ four
hair _______ hare
heal _______ heel
hear _______ here
him _______ hymn
hole _______ whole
hour _______ our
idle _______ idol
in _______ inn
knight _______ night
knot _______ not
know _______ no
made _______ maid
mail _______ male
meat _______ meet
morning _______ mourning
none _______ nun
oar _______ or
one _______ won
pair _______ pear
peace _______ piece
plain _______ plane
poor _______ pour
pray _______ prey
principal _______ principle
profit _______ prophet
real _______ reel
right _______ write
root _______ route
sail _______ sale
sea _______ see
seam _______ seem
sight _______ site
sew _______ so _______ sow
shore _______ sure
sole _______ soul
some _______ sum
son _______ sun
stair _______ stare
stationary _______ stationery
steal _______ steel
suite _______ sweet
tail _______ tale
their _______ there
to _______ too _______ two
toe _______ tow
waist _______ waste
wait _______ weight
way _______ weigh
weak _______ week
wear _______ where




In a few cases, a third homophone, although possible, has not been included for simplicity. Different varieties and accents of English may produce variations in some of these pronunciations. The homophones listed here are based on British English
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Old Friday, November 02, 2007
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Chapter # 4

Linking in English

When we say a sentence in English, we join or "link" words to each other. Because of this linking, the words in a sentence do not always sound the same as when we say them individually. Linking is very important in English. If you recognize and use linking, two things will happen:

1. you will understand other people more easily
2. other people will understand you more easily

There are basically two types of linking:

  • consonant > vowel
  • We link words ending with a consonant sound to words beginning with a vowel sound
  • vowel > vowel
  • We link words ending with a vowel sound to words beginning with a vowel sound


In this lesson we look at:
  • Understanding Vowels and Consonants
  • Linking Consonant to Vowel
  • Linking Vowel to Vowel





Understanding Vowels & Consonants for Linking

To understand linking, it is important to know the difference between vowel sounds and consonant sounds. Here is a table of English vowels and consonants:


Quote:
vowels __________ a e i o u

consonants _______ b c d f g h j k l m n p q r s t v w x y z


The table shows the letters that are vowels and consonants. But the important thing in linking is the sound, not the letter. Often the letter and the sound are the same, but not always.

For example, the word "pay" ends with:

  • the consonant letter "y"
  • the vowel sound "a"

Here are some more examples:

though ------ know

ends with the letter h ----- w
ends with the sound o ----- o



uniform ----- honest

begins with the letter u ---- h
begins with the sound y ---- o








Linking Consonant to Vowel

When a word ends in a consonant sound, we often move the consonant sound to the beginning of the next word if it starts with a vowel sound.

For example, in the phrase "turn off":


We write it like this: turn --- off
We say it like this: tur --- noff


Remember that it's the sound that matters. In the next example, "have" ends with:
  • the letter "e" (vowel)
  • the sound "v" (consonant)

So we link "have" to the next word "a" which begins with a vowel sound:


We write it like this: Can I have a bit of egg?
We say it like this: Ca-nI-ha-va-bi-to-fegg?










Linking Vowel to Vowel

When one word ends with a vowel sound and the next word begins with a vowel sound, we link the words with a sort of W or Y sound.


  • If our lips are round at the end of the first word, we insert a W sound:


We write it like this: too often who is so I do all
We say it like this: tooWoften whoWis soWI doWall

  • If our lips are wide at the end of the first word, we insert a Y sound:


We write it like this: I am Kay is the end she asked
We say it like this: IYam KayYis theYend sheYasked
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Chapter # 4

How to Pronounce -ed in English

The past simple tense and past participle of all regular verbs end in -ed. For example:

base verb(v1)-------- work
past simple (v2) -------worked
past participle (v3) -------worked



In addition, many adjectives are made from the past participle and so end in -ed. For example:
  • I like painted furniture.

The question is: How do we pronounce the -ed?

The answer is: In 3 ways - / Id/ or / t/ or / d/





If the base verb ends in _____example ______example_____ pronounce
one of these sounds:_____ base verb*:_____with -ed: ____the -ed:



unvoiced ----- /t/ ______ want __________ wanted _________ / Id/

voiced ------ /d/ ________ end ___________ended

unvoiced ----/p/ _________hope __________hoped ___________/ t/
------------ /f/ _________ laugh _________ laughed
-------------/s/ __________fax ___________ faxed

voiced all other sounds,
for example...
_____________________ play ___________ played _________ / d/
_____________________ allow ___________ allowed





note that it is the sound that is important, not the letter or spelling. For example, "fax" ends in the letter "x" but the sound /s/; "like" ends in the letter "e" but the sound /k/.

Exceptions

The following -ed words used as adjectives are pronounced with /Id/:

aged
blessed
crooked
dogged
learned
naked
ragged
wicked
wretched
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Commonly Mispronounced Words



aegis: ee-jis, not ay-jis

asterisk: as-ter-isk, not as-ter-ik

alumnae: a-lum-nee, not a-lum-nay

archipelago: ar-ki-PEL-a-go, not arch-i-pel-a-go

athlete: ath-leet, not ath-a-leet

candidate: kan-di-dayt, not kan-i-dayt

chimera: kiy-MEER-a, not CHIM-er-a

disastrous: di-zas-tres, not di-zas-ter-es

electoral: e-LEK-tor-al, not e-lek-TOR-al

etcetera: et-set-er-a, not ek-set-er-a

lambaste: lam-bayst, not lam-bast

larvae: lar-vee, not lar-vay

library: li-brar-y, not li-bar-y

mischievous: MIS-che-vus, not mis-CHEE-vee-us

mispronunciation: mis-pro-nun-see-ay-shun, not mis-pro-nown-see-ay-shun

nuclear: noo-klee-ur, not noo-kyu-lur

nuptial: nup-shul, not nup-shoo-al

primer: (schoolbook) prim-mer, not pry-mer

picture: pik-cher, not pit-cher

prescription: prih-skrip-shun, not per-skrip-shun

prerogative: pre-rog-a-tive, not per-rog-a-tive

peremptory: per-emp-tuh-ree, not pre-emp-tuh-ree

probably: prob-a-blee, not pra-lee or prob-lee

Realtor: reel-ter, not ree-la-ter

supposedly: su-pos-ed-lee, not su-pos-ab-lee

spurious: spyoor-ee-us, not spur-ee-us

ticklish: tik-lish, not tik-i-lish

triathlon: try-ath-lon, not try-ath-a-lon
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Chapter # 5


How to Pronounce "the" in English

Normally, we pronounce "the" with a short sound (like "thuh"). But when "the" comes before a vowel sound, we pronounce it as a long "thee".



vowel sound ______ we write ______ we say

A ________ the apple _________ thee apple
E ________ the egg __________ thee egg
I ________ the ice-cream _____ thee ice-cream
O ________ the orange _______ thee orange
U _________ the ugli fruit ______ thee ugli fruit






It is important to understand that it is what we say that matters, not what we write. It is the sound that matters, not the letter used in writing a word. So we use a long "thee" before a vowel sound, not necessarily before a vowel. Look at these cases:




we write ________ with ___________ we say ___________ with
the house ________ consonant (h) ___thuh house ______consonant sound
the hour ________ consonant (h) _____thee hour ______vowel sound
the university _____ vowel (u) _____thuh youniversity ____consonant sound
the umbrella ______ vowel (u) _____ thee umbrella _______ vowel sound







Emphatic the [thee]

When we wish to place emphasis on a particular word, we can use "emphatic the" [thee], whether or not the word begins with a consonant or vowel sound. For example:

A: I saw the [thuh] President yesterday.
B: What! The [thee] President of the United States?
A: Yes, exactly.
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can some body help or can give me tips on english paragraph's precis.please guide me about the precis and exact rules of precis.
usman khan awan
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@ Usman awan

Explore following links :

Precis : http://www.cssforum.com.pk/css-compu...s-writing.html


Paragraph : http://www.cssforum.com.pk/css-compu...h-writing.html

Chao,
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Chapter # 6


Pronunciation Workshop



Pronunciation Tips

These English pronunciation tips will help you get the most out of your Pronunciation Power program.

Tip 1
Do not confuse pronunciation of words with their spelling! For example, "threw" and "through", although spelled differently, are pronounced the same. Also, identical letters or letter clusters in words do not always produce the same sound. For example, the "ough" in "though" and "through" represents a different sound in each word. Learn to practise what you hear, not what you see.

Tip 2
Imagine a sound in your mind before you say it. Try to visualize the positioning of your mouth and face. Think about how you are going to make the sound.

Tip 3
Listen to and try to imitate the Pronunciation Power instructor. In addition to listening for specific sounds, pay attention to pauses, the intonation of the instructor's voice and patterns of emphasis. This can be just as important as the pronunciation of sounds.

Tip 4
The English language has many different dialects, and words can be pronounced differently. It is important, however, that you pronounce words clearly to ensure effective communication.

Tip 5
Finally, the Pronunciation Power program is a tool to help you. But you must practise what you are learning! Remember that you are teaching your mouth a new way to move. You are building muscles that you do not use in your own language. It is like going to the gym and exercising your body. Use the program to exercise your mouth a little bit each day.













Additional Exercises

This page contains additional exercises that you can do using your Pronunciation Power program.

Additional Exercise 1

Choose a Sound in Pronunciation Power Main Menu.
Go to Exercises and choose Sentences.
Write down all the words that have that sound.
Check your work by using the toggle button.

Additional Exercise 2

Choose a Sound in Pronunciation Power Main Menu.
Go to Exercises and choose Sentences.
Write down the words from the Sentences that have unusual spellings for that Sound.
Find other words in a dictionary that use the same spelling for that sound.
Example: Sound uw as in pool: unusual spellings - through, blue

Additional Exercise 3

Choose a Sound in Pronunciation Power Main Menu.
Go to Exercises and choose Sentences.
Give 2 examples of each of the different ways of spelling a sound.
Example: Sound f as in fat: other spellings - phone/phonetic, cough/enough

Additional Exercise 4

Choose a Sound in Pronunciation Power Main Menu.
Go to Exercises and choose Sentences.
List 20 words that have silent letters in them.

Additional Exercise 5

Find which vowel sounds use 2 vowels to spell a single vowel sound.
Example: country, boat

Additional Exercise 6

Find which consonant sounds use 2 consonants to spell a single consonant sound.
Example: ship, think

Additional Exercise 7

How many different ways can you spell the following sounds?

iy as in me
ow as in road
uw as in soon
U as in put
f as in staff
s as in sent


Additional Exercise 8

Choose a Sound in Pronunciation Power Main Menu.
Go to Exercises and choose Sentences.
Write down 20 words. Break these words into syllables.
Check your work in a dictionary.

Additional Exercise 9

Choose a Sound in Pronunciation Power Main Menu.
Go to Exercises and choose Sentences.
Find and write down the following:

30 different 1-syllable words
20 different 2-syllable words
10 different 3-syllable words
5 different 4-syllable words

Check your work in a dictionary.












Pronunciation Glossary


These are some of the words used to talk about pronunciation. You will find them in the instructions for your Pronunciation Power program.

Air flow
The flow or passage of air out of the mouth.

Aspiration
A small "explosion" of air when you make a sound.

Auditory
Hearing (not seeing).

Clusters (blended sounds)
Two or more sounds put together to make a single sound.

Curl
A position of the tongue where the tongue is shaped in a curve, not flat.

Flatten
A position of the tongue where the tongue is flat not round.

Glide / Slide
Move the tongue as you say the sound.

Hard palate
Hard part of the roof of the mouth.

Intonation
Change in pitch of a sentence, up and down.

Lengthen sound
Make the duration of the sound longer.

Lips spread
Lips are open slightly and pulled back.

Lower
Bottom of mouth.

Pitch
Amount of height or depth of a sound.

Pressed lips
Top and bottom lips touching.

Protruded lips
Rounded lips, pushed out.

Roof
Top part of your mouth, inside.

Round lips
Make a circle with lips.

Shorten sound
Make the duration of the sound shorter.

Soft palate
Soft part of the roof of the mouth.

Tap
Touch quickly.

Tooth ridge
The hard area directly behind your top front teeth.

Top of mouth / Roof of mouth
Area of tooth ridge, hard palate and soft palate.

Unvoiced (voiceless)
The vocal cords do not vibrate.

Upper
Top of mouth.

Visual
Seeing (not hearing).

Voiced
The sound is made by vibrating the vocal cords (voice box). To test whether you are making the sound voiced, put your fingers on your voice box. With a voiced sound you should feel a vibration. All vowels are voiced.
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