Đề Xuất 2/2023 # Pronunciation Of Words With Weak And Strong Forms # Top 5 Like | Beiqthatgioi.com

Đề Xuất 2/2023 # Pronunciation Of Words With Weak And Strong Forms # Top 5 Like

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English is a stress-time language which means that some words are stressed and others are not when speaking. Generally, content words such as nouns and principal verbs are stressed, while structure words such as articles, helping verbs, etc. are not. 

The Structure of Words

A number of structure words have both weak and strong pronunciation. As a rule, the structure will take the weak pronunciation which means that the vowel becomes muted. For example, take a look at these sentences:

I can play piano.

Tom is from New England.

Here are these two sentences with accented words in italics.

Mary can play piano.

Tom is from Chicago.

‘Can’, and ‘from’ and ‘is’ are unaccented and the vowel is very weak. This weak vowel sound is often referred to as a schwa. In the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) the schwa is represented as an upside-down ‘e’. It is, however, also possible to use these words with a strong form. Take a look at the same structure words, but used with strong pronunciation:

You CAN’T play tennis. – Yes, I CAN.

Where is Tom FROM?

In these two sentences, the placement at the end of the sentence calls for the strong pronunciation of the word. In other cases, the usually unaccented word becomes accented as a means of stressing that something is contrary to what is understood by others. Look at these two sentences in a dialogue.

You aren’t interested in coming next week, are you?

Yes, I AM interested in coming!

Try the following exercise to practice both the weak and strong form. Write two sentences: One sentence using the weak form, and one using the strong form. Try practicing these sentences taking care to quickly glide over the vowel in the weak form, or pronouncing the vowel or diphthong sound firmly in the strong form. Here are a few examples:

I’ve heard you have a company in the city. No, I work FOR a company in the city.

What are you looking for?

She is our sister.

OUR sister is so talented!

Practice Activity

Decide how the word indicated would change the meaning in the following sentences when using the strong form. Practice saying each sentence aloud alternating between weak and strong forms. Do you notice how the meaning changes through stress?

I am an English teacher in Portland, Oregon. – strong ‘am’

I am an English teacher from Portland, Oregon. – strong ‘from’

He said that she should see a doctor. – strong ‘should’

They were able to find a job despite the difficult market. – strong ‘were’

Do you know where he comes from? – strong ‘do’

I’ll give the assignment to them. – strong ‘them’

She’s one of our most valued students. – strong ‘our’

I’d like Tom and Andy to come to the party. – strong ‘and’

Answers

I AM an English teacher … = It’s true even though you don’t believe it.

…. teacher FROM Portland, Oregon. = That’s my home city, but not necessarily where I live and teach now. 

They WERE able to find a job … = It was possible for them though you think not.

DO you know where … = Do you know the answer to this question or not?

… the assignment to THEM. = Not you, the others.

She’s one of OUR most valued students. = She is one of us, not of you or them.

… Tom AND Andy … = Not only Tom, don’t forget Andy.

Here are some of the most common words that have weak/strong pronunciations. Generally speaking, use the week form (schwa) pronunciation of these words unless they are stressed by coming at the end of a sentence or due to unnatural stress made to facilitate understanding. 

Common Weak and Strong Words

a / am / an / and / are / as / at

be / been / but

can / could

do / does

for / from

had / has / have / he / her / him / his

is

must

not

of / our

shall / she / should / some

than / that / the / them / there / to

us

was / we / were / who / would / will

you / your

Strong Forms And Weak Forms

auxiliar verbs am, are, be, been, can, could, do, does, has, had, shall, should, was, were, would,

prepositions at, for, from, of, to,

pronouns he, her, him, his, me, she, them, us, we, you,

conjunctions for, and, but, or, than, that,

particles to,

articles  a, the, an,

It is worth noting that there are some function words that don’t have weak forms, such as a stranded preposition, as in the example where are you going TO? , where the word to cannot be in its weak form. Function words are closed class items, that is that this limited group of words is exhaustive, and that we can’t make up new ones, whereas open class words (as most content word types are) are invented all the time! See Wikipedia on this for more detail.

These function words have strong forms which are pronounced with their dictionary form—this is the pronunciation we use when we talk about the word. This involves a stressed, full form of its vowel. In their weak form, many of these vowels are reduced all the way to the center of the mouth, the schwa vowel. The indefinite article “A”, is only pronounced with its strong form [eɪ] when we are emphasizing it. Normally it’s just pronounced with a schwa, [ə] . In some cases, weak forms can be reduced by dropping certain sounds from their pronunciation, such as him, her pronounced as ‘im, ‘er. In other cases, vowels are dropped and final continuant consonants like l, n, or m, become syllabic, so words like shall become sh’ll [ʃɫ̩]. Can you work out the strong form of these words?

[ ðə, əm, bɪn, ɪm, ənd, ðəm, ɪz, ðət, ʃɫ, ðn]

So what does this have to do with intelligibility? The basic idea is that we need to find a balance between strong forms and weak forms. Stressed forms are a way of emphasizing words, particularly for function words, so if we need to stress a function word we use its strong dictionary form. But otherwise we don’t use its strong dictionary form and we need to reduce those words appropriately so they don’t stand out. Unfortunately some people are mistaken, and believe that they need to stress these weak form words in order to be clear. Adding emphasis to unimportant function words is a way of making your text less clear, and more confusing. Frequently you can hear journalists or news readers reading their way through a newscast, choosing to emphasize unimportant function words as a way to keep their reading “interesting sounding”. It’s so common that I think most of us have become immune to this strange way of reading aloud! I also tend to hear people who were taught to read aloud as children. Forensics programs teach kids to make presentations, and when they read aloud they frequently are told to elevate articles like the word “the” to their stressed form, “thee”. Unless we mean to say “that particular one”, we should always make this word by using the pronunciation with schwa. It is worth noting that when we hesitate, we do elevate indefinite and definite articles, a and the, to their strong form just before a pause. So though we might say “I bought a dog,” if we hesitated before saying dog, we would say “I bought A… dog” and use the [eɪ] pronunciation.

More formal registers, like those that come with speaking classical text or verse, demand that we avoid these forms. However, they do not require that we avoid weak forms altogether! I recall coaching the voice work on a production of Mary Stuart by Friedrich Schiller, and the director was insisting that the word “to” in all instances must be pronounced in its strong form, as [tu] always, never [tə] or even [tʊ]. The actors that she hired were very adept at giving her what she wanted (which was no mean feat), but their language sounded stilted, and confusing, as they continued to draw attention to words that weren’t important to their message. What had been adopted as Good Speech was merely an obstacle to the audience’s deeper involvement and engagement with the ideas of the play.

Where’s My Exercise?

OK, I get it. I’ve trained you to want an exercise you can apply this concept with! Here you go:

Start with a text you are familiar with. Let’s use the start of the most famous Shakespearean soliloquy of all time:

To be, or not to be, that is the question, Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

Try these steps with the text:

Speak the text, making all the words their strong, dictionary form, even going so far as to dial “the” up to “thee”, and “a” up to “eh”.

Explore the text being very emphatic with your point, and emphasize as many words as possible, but not the function words.

Try to emphasize only one or two words per line, and reduce all the function words as much as you can.

Try eliding words together, like “That’s the question.”

Could you get away with a fully reduced weak form (à la informal register) in some of these words? “An’ by opposin’ end ’em.” How comfortable are you with that?

Now speak the text again, but this time try to find a balance—how far feels appropriate for you in reducing these words from their strong form?

In my experience, many people report that their tolerance to reducing words to their weak form in a classical text is very limited. Part of this comes from the tradition of Classical theatre—that people expect a certain level of elocution associated with these texts, an “extra-daily” approach that goes beyond the way we speak naturally. Overdoing this will also affect the meter, and those of us who feel a responsibility to uphold the structure of the meter will chafe against this idea. But I think it’s a great way of taking note of our expectations of a certain level of diction, and pushing our buttons.

Practice Changing Meaning Through Using Strong And Weak Forms

English is a stress-time language which means that some words are stressed and others are not when speaking. Generally, content words such as nouns and principal verbs are stressed, while structure words such as articles, helping verbs, etc. are not.

The Structure of Words

A number of structure words have both weak and strong pronunciation. As a rule, the structure will take the weak pronunciation which means that the vowel becomes muted. For example, take a look at these sentences:

Here are these two sentences with accented words in italics.

‘Can’, and ‘from’ and ‘is’ are unaccented and the vowel is very weak. This weak vowel sound is often referred to as a schwa. In the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) the schwa is represented as an upside-down ‘e’. It is, however, also possible to use these words with a strong form. Take a look at the same structure words, but used with strong pronunciation:

In these two sentences, the placement at the end of the sentence calls for the strong pronunciation of the word. In other cases, the usually unaccented word becomes accented as a means of stressing that something is contrary to what is understood by others. Look at these two sentences in a dialogue.

You aren’t interested in coming next week, are you?

Yes, I AM interested in coming!

Try the following exercise to practice both the weak and strong form. Write two sentences: One sentence using the weak form, and one using the strong form. Try practicing these sentences taking care to quickly glide over the vowel in the weak form, or pronouncing the vowel or diphthong sound firmly in the strong form. Here are a few examples:

I’ve heard you have a company in the city. No, I work FOR a company in the city.

What are you looking for?

She is our sister.

OUR sister is so talented!

Practice Activity

Decide how the word indicated would change the meaning in the following sentences when using the strong form. Practice saying each sentence aloud alternating between weak and strong forms. Do you notice how the meaning changes through stress?

I am an English teacher in Portland, Oregon. – strong ‘am’

I am an English teacher from Portland, Oregon. – strong ‘from’

He said that she should see a doctor. – strong ‘should’

They were able to find a job despite the difficult market. – strong ‘were’

Do you know where he comes from? – strong ‘do’

I’ll give the assignment to them. – strong ‘them’

She’s one of our most valued students. – strong ‘our’

I’d like Tom and Andy to come to the party. – strong ‘and’

Answers

I AM an English teacher … = It’s true even though you don’t believe it.

…. teacher FROM Portland, Oregon. = That’s my home city, but not necessarily where I live and teach now.

They WERE able to find a job … = It was possible for them though you think not.

DO you know where … = Do you know the answer to this question or not?

… the assignment to THEM. = Not you, the others.

She’s one of OUR most valued students. = She is one of us, not of you or them.

… Tom AND Andy … = Not only Tom, don’t forget Andy.

Here are some of the most common words that have weak/strong pronunciations. Generally speaking, use the week form (schwa) pronunciation of these words unless they are stressed by coming at the end of a sentence or due to unnatural stress made to facilitate understanding.

Common Weak and Strong Words

Power Your Language – Weed Out The Weak Words!

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“If you don’t mind uhm, I just wanted to share some uhm thoughts on our upcoming project and uhm at the same time basically check if we agree on these really important objectives and uhm I’ll try to keep it really short, I hope that’s ok with you…”

How do you as a listener react to a speaker opening like the above? Does s/he sound convincing? Why not? Because it is full of weak language.

Weak language is any word (or sound) that doesn’t add value to your message. But not only does weak language not add value – it dilutes and undermines your message.

To speak with more authority, assertiveness, and clarity, here are some common weak language traps to avoid:

Fillers

Uhm, basically, yeah, literally, kind of, like..

Filler words pop out or mouth when we don’t know what to say next. We also use them to protect us from the discomfort of silence.

Instead:

Think before you speak. Pause (your body language needs to show that you are not done yet to stop the audience from interrupting you). Ask a friend or a colleague to be your “filler word police”.

Hedges

In my opinion.. The way I see it.. I may be wrong .. but.. I would like to.. I just..

To hedge in language is to hide behind words and refuse to commit oneself. Hedges share two defects: they sound as you doubt your own words and they lengthen your sentences unnecessarily.

Instead:

Trim your hedges down to a minimum. Ask yourself: does the hedge add any information? If not, leave it out. If there is real uncertainty, prefer expressions not using “I”. E.g. “It appears that..”

And, and, and..

Stringing together several sentences by and or but makes it hard for the listeners to get your message. If you often get out of breath when speaking, this might be one of the causes.

Instead:

Speak in short sentences, emphasizing the key words and ending with a falling inflection. You will have time to breathe and think about your next sentence. The audience will have time to digest what you just said.

Qualifiers

Rather, very, quite, usually, generally, more, less, least, so, just, enough, indeed, still, almost, most, fairly, really, pretty much, even, a bit, a little, a great deal.

Often, qualifiers provide unnecessary padding to your message. We qualify too much because we are seeking attention, because we lack precise words to express ourselves, or because we think it sounds better.

Instead:

Get rid of excess qualifiers: “She came across it pretty much by accident”

Replace generic qualifiers with specific ones: “This sum is a great deal bigger than I expected” becomes “This sum is 50% bigger than I expected.”

Tags

A tag is a short question added to the end of a statement.

This is the best proposal, isn’t it? …, don’t you think? …, right? …, you see what I’m saying?

While the sentence preceding the tag is a clear statement of fact, the tag turns it into a question or a doubt.

There are also non-verbal versions of tags: A shoulder shrug, a nervous laughter, or a rising tone at the end of a sentence. Like verbal tags, they indicate doubt, submission or a will to please others.

Instead:

Simply remove the tag, ending your sentence on a falling inflection and with a confident smile.

———————————————————————————————————————

Coming back to the introduction example, this is what it sounds like without the weak language:

“If you don’t mind uhm, I just wanted to I will share some uhm thoughts on our upcoming project and uhm at the same time basically check if we agree on these really important the key objectives. and uhm I’ll try to keep it really short., I hope that’s ok with you…”

The message has now gained in clarity and assertiveness – using only half as many words!

As summer is here, now is the perfect time to start weeding your language, trimming your hedges, and nurturing your credibility.

Have a wonderful summer!

Maria

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