What You Never Knew About English

music metronome

Let us show you something about English that you are likely not aware of.

If your native language is Russian, Spanish or Japanese, you probably sound quite plain in regards of your speech intonations.
That is because in these languages (like in many others) all the words in the sentence are stressed equally.
So, if the sentence consists of 4 words, you will emphasise all 4 with a stress.

However, English is a stress-timed language with irregular syllable length.
This means that it takes the same amount of time to say a sentence with 3 words and with 8 words.

That’s because the way Americans do the basic rhythm of a sentence is:

stress important words and distress the rest

How to decide what is important?

You’ll probably hear it from the sentence context. But if to put it in rules:

Content words are normally stressed – nouns, main verbs, adjectives, adverbs.
Function words are normally unstressed – articles, pronouns, auxiliary verbs, prepositions.

Now, please,  listen to the example in the video below: each sentence has a different amount of words.

However, you hear only 3 stresses in each. But then an important word appears, another stress is added too. 

Hopefully, from now on you will start hearing this everywhere you go. And don’t forget to practice putting stresses too.

Email us, if you need help with your accent in English: clients@turnfix.com