Sunday, August 28, 2022

How to Pronounce: Verbs in Everyday Speech

VOA Learning English: How to Pronounce: Verbs in Everyday Speech

Imagine you want to talk about an action. Perhaps you want to talk about something you will do in the future. For example:

I’ll call you. 

 A simple statement like this can teach you a lot about American English. I’ll explain.

In American English, we generally stress content words – nouns, adjectives, and verbs. We generally do not stress function words – words like pronouns, modals, determiners, and so on. Stress means to say something louder or more forcefully.

So, what is the connection between this information and the statement “I’ll call you.”

Listen carefully:

    I’ll call you. 

Note that I stress the important content word – the verb call. It is the main verb in the sentence. I don’t stress the pronouns I or you, and I reduce the helping verb will. Listen again:

    I’ll call you. 

This general idea holds true for all kinds of statements. Here are some examples.

    I saw her.

    It’s nice to meet you. 

In both of these examples, I stressed the main verb. The other words did not get as much stress. 

The next time you listen to Americans speak, pay careful attention to how they stress verbs. Make careful note of how they do not stress helping, or auxiliary verbs. With time and careful study, you will stress words much like Americans do! 

That’s all for today! Keep up the good work.