English Study Tip Number 16
Using English Rhythm Well

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Research done in a Canadian university showed that students who studied only the rhythm and intonation of Chinese (no words, no grammar) could pronounce well after only a few weeks of practice. Some students were even judged to be native speakers of Chinese! By focusing on rhythm for a short time, you can make great improvements to your English pronunciation.

In English, rhythm is especially important. The up and down movement of English is almost like jazz music, so every student should listen often to get used to it. Teacher Joe's students practice English rhythm in every class until they can do it smoothly and easily.

Whenever you listen to English, try to listen to groups of words and identify the strong syllable in each group. For example, in English "go", "can go", "am going" and "will be going" all have one strong beat. The most important syllable ("go") is almost always stressed, unless we want to communicate something special by emphasizing a different syllable. More importantly, "go", "can go", "am going" and "will be going" all take about the same amount of time to say in English!

This is very different from most languages, where one syllable gets one beat. Listen to some of Teacher Joe's Words of Wisdom and see if you can follow the rhythm. Or for an extra challenge, you can try Teacher Joe's Dictations - listen and repeat some sentences every day until YOU have RHYTHM!

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