Speak English Professionally Coursera with engsub – Lesson 3: Key Pronunciation: Stress & Intonation

[MUSIC] Welcome to lesson two. In this video, I’ll review key
pronunciation skills to help you improve your fluency
when you speak English. I’ll discuss word and
sentence stress and intonation. By the end of this video, you’ll know
which syllable stressed in a word in which words to stress in a sentence. You’ll also know when to use rising and
falling intonation. First, what is word stress? In English we stress just
one syllable in every word. We say that one syllable more loudly, we
say it higher and we make it last longer. Let’s look and listen to some
words with two or more syllables. Chicago, grandmother, technology. Let’s try some more. Strengthen, January, university. Which syllable gets the stress? Why is word stress so important? Word stress is like a magic
key to clear English. As you talk to people,
listen to the news, watch movies, you must listen for and
practice word stress. It will help you to
understand what you hear and it will let others understand you. In the resources for this lesson, you will
find materials to practice word stress. Use an audio dictionary to
listen to each of the words and mark which syllable gets the stress. Listen for the syllable that’s
a little louder and longer. Practice to get it right. Now let’s look at the second key
pronunciation skill, sentence stress. Sentence stress gives English
its rhythm and its beat. It’s that ta, ta, ta, ta, ta,
ta you hear when you listen to English. How do we create it? When we say a sentence, some words
are strong, and others are weak. The last word is the strongest and
longest. This combination of strong and weak
words creates rhythm in each sentence. Let’s see if you can hear it.>>He bought some jeans, ta, ta, ta, taa. He bought a pair of jeans,
ta, ta, ta, ta, ta, taa. John bought two pairs of jeans, ta, ta, ta, ta, ta taa.>>Great listening, you heard correctly. So why were the verb, buy and
the nouns, pair and jeans, stressed? To put it simply,
those are the important words, the keywords in the sentence and
we always stress the important words. We call them content words. Verbs, nouns, adjectives and
adverbs, can be content words. I other words,
they give us the meaning of the sentence. They can also be negative such as no,
not, don’t, aren’t and can’t. Try and choose the content
words in the next sentences. What about the words we don’t stress? They’re structure words. We use them to construct our sentences,
but they don’t carry a lot of meaning, and we don’t stress them. We can leave them, and our listeners
will still be able to understand us. So what are they? They’re the prepositions, the pronouns, the articles, the modals and
the helping verbs. What do you need to remember
about sentence stress? Content words are the key words. They are the words we stress. They are longer and louder. They always have a beat. If you take them out,
the sentence will make no sense. On the other hand, we do not stress the
structure words, often the little words in sentences, if you remove them,
the sentence will still make sense. So by saying the content words loudly,
and make them last longer and the structure words softly and shorter,
we create the rhythm of English. Now, let’s add intonation to what we’ve
learned about word and sentence stress. What is it? It’s the way your voice rises when
you ask a question that gets yes or no for an answer. Questions like, do you have the letter? Did you make the call? Rising intonation tells your listener
you’re asking a question and want yes or no for an answer. Intonation is also the way
your voice rises and falls when you make a statement or
ask an information question. For example, summer weather
in Atlanta is hot and humid. What’s the weather like in your country? In rising,
falling intonation your voice rises and falls on the last important
words of a sentence. Rising falling intonation tells
your listener that you’re finished. It’s their time to say something or
to answer your question. Let’s do a quick review
of what we’ve learned. First, word stress. We stressed one syllable in every word. We say that syllable louder,
longer and higher. Second, we looked at sentence stress. In every sentence we stress the content
words, but not the structure words. By saying the content words longer and
louder and the structure words shorter and softer, we create the rhythm of English. And last, we discuss rising and
falling intonation. Intonation let’s your listener know what
that you are finished with your statement or question. The best way to improve these
skills is to listen and practice. [MUSIC]

16 thoughts on “Speak English Professionally Coursera with engsub – Lesson 3: Key Pronunciation: Stress & Intonation

  1. Very interesting and easy to follow. I love this video clip very much.
    I have one question.
    Should I stress all content words in a sentence?
    I sincerely need your guide.

  2. Hi Teacher,
    Does the rule of stressing the content words (nouns or verbs) still apply in question intonation?
    I can see that you just stress the last word in rising intonation in ayes/no question?

  3. When you say DON'T stress the pronouns, prepositions and helping verbs (structure words),

    Do you mean all pronouns in general?
    Ex: Relative pronouns (who, whom, whose etc.)
    Indefinite pronouns (anybody, somebody, few, many, all etc,)
    Reflexive pronouns (myself, ourselves, yourself, etc..)

    Do you mean all prepositions in general?
    Ex: beneath, beside, during, opposite, towards, etc..

    Do you mean all helping verbs in general?
    Ex. Conditionals ( could, should, would, can, shall, will might, may, must)

  4. I was serious at the moment… but when this 2:08 came I started bursting out laughing 😆 I don't know why!

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