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How To Teach The Rhythm Of American English

Oct 16, 2019

Lesson 10

Did you know that rhythm is the #1 reason that non-native speakers are not easily understood when speaking English.

Most people think that the sounds and pronunciations of common words are the biggest problem when speaking English and don’t get me wrong... all that other stuff is important, but you can make a ton of mistakes with pronunciation, and if your rhythm matches what your listener expects, you will still be easily understood.

Rhythm is so important because the human ear is accustomed to a certain timing when recognizing and understanding other people’s speech.

And many teachers struggle with how to teach the rhythm of American English.

English has a very predictable timing so if your speech does not match what your listener expects, you will not be understood. That’s why when we speak too quickly, people don’t understand us.

Non-native English speakers use a very different timing than what people expect when hearing spoken English, so this happens to them all the time. They are often not understood by their listeners. 

The good news:  Rhythm is somewhat predictable. Not totally predictable, but there are a lot of useful rules and patterns that you can learn.   

In this lesson, I am going to show you how I introduce the concept of rhythm to a student who speaks English as a second (or third or more!) language.

In this lesson I'll explain:

  • What Is a Syllable?
  • How To Count Syllables
  • How To Stress A Syllable

And then I'll show you how to practice with your student using some difficult, but common multi-syllabic words.

What do you teach first to your students?  Sounds/pronunciations or rhythm?  Let me know in the comments below.


Click here to watch my lesson about the difference between sounds and letters.  



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