http://www.engvid.com Do you sound like a robot when you speak? You can transform your speech from boring to fascinating by using good English rhythm. In this lesson, you will learn many ways to make your speech more captivating for your audience by adjusting your speech rhythm, which includes syllable stress, word stress, and vocabulary choice. You will also learn how you can use poetry to improve the rhythm of your everyday speech and be interesting in any situation!
Hi, everyone. I am Jade. Today we are talking about the rhythm of English. And that’s not my normal voice. I’m showing you that because rhythm is really important when you’re speaking a different language, and every language has its own rhythm. So, I thought today, I’ll tell you a little bit about the rhythm of English. What does English actually sound like if we break it down?
It’s really important to improve the rhythm of your English speech, because we try to avoid what’s called monotone. Monotone voices are… Well, it’s a big subject, but one thing about monotone voices is they don’t go up or down, and they’re not very expressive. So we try to avoid that, and we can see that actually in English poetry. And I think in… I think poetry in general is one way that you can develop your rhythm in English, because poetry is written in a way that calls attention to rhythm of English.
So here’s a little bit of a famous poem in English. Don’t worry if you don’t know what the words mean, because it’s quite an interesting poem in that the words are invented words for this poem. Like it’s… They’re not real things, but when we hear it, we get a sense of what it means. But in terms of rhythm, it’s interesting because so much of English poetry is written in what’s called iambs, which is basically an unstressed followed by a stressed syllable. So I’ll write that down for you. Iamb, stressed followed by… Ohp, wrong way around. Unstressed followed by a stressed syllable and repeated like that.
And you’ve heard of Shakespeare, right? You have heard of Shakespeare, that famous poet? Well, he wrote in iambic pentameter, which means five of those repeated. So, one, two, three, four, five. Shakespeare wrote in iambic pentameter. Not continuously always through everything he ever wrote, but if there was ever an important character in one of his plays, that was in iambic pentameter.
This poem is not in iambic pentameter, because we don’t have five. I’ll show you. So, when we read the poem… Well, when I read the poem, I want you just to listen to the rhythm, and then I’ll talk a little bit about it because it’s one thing for me to tell you the rhythm of English is iambs; unstressed, stressed, unstressed, stressed, unstressed, stressed, but what does that actually mean? So, here we go, I’ll read it to you.
„Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch.
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious bandersnatch!”
So, poetry is more rhythmic and elegant than just our normal speech, but our normal speech likes this unstressed, stressed, unstressed, stressed rhythm, so there is similarity.
So let’s find where the stresses are here, so that when I read it again, you can follow it. So, because it’s unstressed, stressed, here is the first stressed. And, did you notice when I read it, it was „behware”, not „be-ware”? It’s „behware”. Our connecting words are not so important. You can see here, unstressed words: articles, „the”, „a”, they’re not so important so we don’t stress them. We can stress them but that’s a different point. Names, usually stressed. We had an unstressed there, so we’re going to stressed again. Unstressed, secondary stress.
We have one… Oo, it’s not… You cannot see what I’m doing here. I’m going to put it down a little bit for you. Stressed, unstressed, secondary stress. There’s always one main stress in a word, but if there’s an extra stress, it’s not as… Not as much as the first. Unstressed, „my” is a pronoun. Pronouns: „he”, „she”, „it”, „my”, „his”, unstressed. Noun, stress again. And this is going to repeat throughout the poem, so I’m just going to go a little bit quickly this… A little bit more quickly this time. Unstressed, stressed, unstressed, stressed, unstressed, stressed, unstressed, stressed. Again, we’ve got „beware”, unstressed, stressed, unstressed, name. And the last line, again, unstress, stress, unstress, and the word „bandersnatch” has two stresses, but the first… The main stress is on the first syllable.