QW 090812 “Speak like singing”

The 0802 QW piece that I wrote was titled “A new orientation”, in which I talked about the new focus on my pronunciation project: “I’ll be focusing on my intonation, rhythm, melody, and ‘the vibe’ to realize ‘naturalness’ I’m pursuing.” That was almost a month ago, but I wasn’t fully determined to go into the next phrase of the project, or I haven’t actually seen where and how I should be headed.

Recently, I realized that I have a problem with stress, to be more specific, “sentence stress”. As you may know, the English language has word stress and sentence stress. Word stress no longer seems to bother me, but sentence stress does in some cases. Sentence stress is part of supra-segmentals, more global features of pronunciation than how to pronounce each word correctly. To nail proper sentence stress, you need to fully understand what the sentence means, weigh the importance of each word in the sentence, and render the appropriate stress on appropriate words or phrases.

Besides improper location improper sentence stress, I tend to have an unnatural rising intonation within a sentence. It’s perfectly okay or even advisable to have hanging intonations at the end of clauses. One of my problems may be this quasi-questioning rising intonation. Another problem of mine is that I tend to have unnatural, meaningless, or random sentence stress when both speaking spontaneously and reading texts aloud. I might have focused too much on how to pronounce each word correctly and pay far less attention to more global stuff, sentence stress.

A slogan for the Pronunciation Project Phrase 2 is “Speak like singing”. I like singing. I’m not a bad singer, actually. In order to sing a song well, you need to understand so many things about the song; meanings of the whole lyrics, transition of scales, when, where and how to raise and lower tones, proper choices of voice quality and volume etc, etc. When speaking English, don’t you think we need to do pretty much the same things? We need to understand meanings of the sentences, paragraph, and passages we’re about to read aloud, or what we’re trying to say. We need to nail transition of tones, raising and lowering intonations on the right spots. We need to know the proper choices of voice quality and volume that suit what we’re speaking. Yes, it’s pretty much “Speak like singing”.

Speak like singing. Talk like singing. Sing to someone who's willing to listen to you.

(40 minutes / 412 words)




English learner


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