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English prosody: rhythm and melody

 What does it take to speak English fluently as an adult learner of the English language?   To learn to speak English well, we need to study two areas: pronunciation and prosody. Pronunciation is about saying words correctly. But even if we say all the words correctly, we are not understood easily when we do not use the rhythm and melody of English. Rhythm means a regular pattern in the flow of things, such as the tick, tick, tick of a clock or the lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub of a beating heart. Melody means the ups and downs of voice. All spoken languages have rhythm and melody, but they differ in the way they occur and perform in speech. Speaking English fluently implies the ability to produce the rhythm and melody proper to English. In linguistics, the study of the rhythm and melody of a language is called prosody. Aspects relating to English prosody are syllable counting, word stress, sentence stress (also called rhythm stress), thought grouping, focus word stress, and intonation. So to speak in the prosody of English, we need to learn all these aspects. 

To approach prosody in a systematic way, linguists divide the flow of speech into units that share similar properties and then organize the units from the smallest to the largest in a ranked order. When speech sound is organized in this way, a prosodic hierarchy is obtained. The units of a prosodic hierarchy from bottom to top are syllables, words, rhythm units, thought groups and sentences. Sentences must have intonation, thought groups must have focus words, rhythm units must have stressed syllables, and syllables must have vowel sounds. To satisfy these requirements we need to learn syllable division rules, word stress, rhythm (sentence) stress, focus word stress and intonation. The book English prosody: Rhythm and melody is designed to help you learn all these aspects of English prosody. 

The contents of the book is here.

Check out my other website that is purely devoted to English pronunciation and prosody. The content of the site is based on my two book on pronunciation and prosody 


Purchasing Information

In the e-book format:  English prosody: Rhythm and melody

You can find the audio-book format of English prosody: Rhythm and melody at Audible

The same audiobook can be purchased directly here for $9.99

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