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Warm up

1. Take a deep diaphragmatic breath on the count of 5. On the next count of 5 hold it, and on the next count of 5 release the air. Proceed in the same way on the counts of 6 and then 7. Try to breathe in and out softly.

2. Take a deep diaphragmatic breath and count aloud from 1 to 5. Try to use all air you have in your lungs. Make sure that your vocal cords are relaxed. Check on it by putting your hand on your throat - the neck muscles should not be tensed. Proceed in the same way now counting to 6 and then to 7.

3. Take a deep diaphragmatic breath and say the following "One by one they went away". If you have some air left let it out freely. Make sure that your vocal cords are relaxed. Proceed in the same way adding one unit to the sentence "One by one and two by two they went away", and so on up to "five by five..."

4. Do the same as in 3 but starting with the lowest voice you can make and picking its range on each number. The last number should be said on the highest peach of your voice. Try not to go beyond your natural voice.

5. Do the same as in 4 but starting on the lowest pitch and going to the highest.

6. Take a deep diaphragmatic breath and read the following poem. Start by taking a breath after each line. Increase the number of lines read at one breath until you read the whole poem at one breath. Try to control the output of the air and make sure that your vocal cords are relaxed.

The queen of hearts,

She made some tarts,

All on a summer's day.

The knave of hearts,

He stole those tarts,

And with them ran away.

The king of hearts

Called those tarts,

And beat the knave full sore;

The knave of hearts

Brought back those tarts,

And said he'd steal no more.

/ From Old Nursery Rhymes/



The chart shows the main English vowel sounds.

/ e / letter     / i / / i: / / / / / /u:/
/ /   / / / / / / / :/ / /

Write the words in the right box:




hug woman heat family horse party busy machine odd

father good weather letter could mother breakfast accent cool

log women work daughter pullover banana tree

camp jeans walk


roof banana suit

head father canoe garden want worry worm

fan sausage floor search building machine


Practise the following pairs of words:

eat - it

lead - lid

sheep - ship

reach - rich

week - wick

evening - Englаnd

Peter - pity

leader - litter

reader - riddle

seasick - sixty

recently - incident

leadership - industry

frequency - fricative

scenery - signature

eagerness - dignity

Practise the following proverbs:

A friend in need is a friend indeed.

Honey is sweet, but the bee stings.

Eat at pleasure, drink with measure.


A How strong you are, Mr Strong!

B All the Strongs are strong.

A But you're the strongest!

B How strange you are, Miss Strange! I suppose all the Stranges are strange.


B Ouch!

A And strong!


This unit is about prominence and the decisions a speaker makes in distributing prominence to give an utterance its intended meaning. In any conversation between speakers of English some words are more noticeable than others. By assigning a prominent syllable to a certain word (at a particular point in the developing conversation) the speaker foregrounds or "highlights" that word. Decisions to highlight the selected words are influenced by the conversational context.

e.g. - Did you take motorbike?

‑ No, I hired a motorbike.

e.g. -Did you hire a car?

‑ No, I hired a motorbike.

A prominent syllable is always an accented syllable of a word, but the converse doesn't apply. So any accented syllable (the syllable caring the word accent) could be prominent if the speaker chooses to highlight the word containing it. The syllable "hired" and "mo" of "motorbike" will always have word accent in the above examples, but whether either or both of them also have prominence will depend on the context.


º 1.1. Listen to this conversation and try to answer the questions:

a) What is Alan trying to do?

b) Why does he find it so difficult?

c) How does Louise react to his attempts?

1.2. Now listen to this short extract from the conversation. In the transcript below draw a box round the words, which you think are noticeable.

Alan: Turn slightly towards me. Your head slightly towards me.

Louise: Right?

Alan: No ‑ only slightly towards me.

1.3. Work with "Uniton". On the screen you'll se the diagrams of the utterances (intensity and fundamental frequency traces). A highlighted word is more noticeable of a syllable because it contains a prominent syllable. The most important features of a syllable, which is heard as prominent, are raised level of pitch (fundamental frequency) and an increased volume (loudness, intensity).

Analyze the diagrams and try to say which words are most prominent and what parameters (either or both of fundamental frequency and intensity) this prominence is achieved by. Compare your transcript with the diagrams.

1.4. Listen for more examples (find at least three) where a word, which occurs more than once is sometimes highlighted and sometimes not. Write down these examples.


2.1. A speaker highlights the words which are most significant at that point in the conversation.

e.g. Turn slightly towards me.

Alan could have asked Louise to move in several different ways. For example, he could have said any of these

walk to the right

come slightly to the left

turn towards me

At this point in the conversation Alan wants Louise to notice:

a) turn - this is the action he wants her to take;

b) towards - she doesn't know which way he wants her to turn.

So, at this pint he highlights "turn" and "towards". Later he repeats the two words "slightly towards" but this time he highlights "slightly" because this is the one she hasn't responded to: No - only slightly towards me. A word may at one point of the conversation be very significant and at another point be part of the background of what the speaker says. In order to make hearer notice the word when it is significant the speaker highlights it.

2.2. Try to explain why a speaker highlights the words in the examples you have written down. Use the above explanation as a model.


3.1. Listen again to these extracts and repeat each one. Work with "Uniton". Try to imitate the speaker (Alan) and to make the diagram of your speech similar to that of his (the model diagram). Compare diagrams overlapping them on the screen.

1) Turn slightly towards me. 2) Your head slightly towards me. 3) Only slightly towards me.

Note: when we wish to show which syllable is prominent we print them in CAPITAL LETTERS.

3.2. Now try these. Listen first and repeat each one.

1) Just a bit further to the right. I mean to my right.

2) Like that. Not quite like that.

3) How about a smile? Can you make it more natural smile?


4.1. Listen to the following utterances; you'll hear each one twice. Decide which of the questions (a) or (b) provides a suitable context for what you hear. The highlighting is not transcribed here, so you must recognize which word is made prominent.

1. They hired a car. - a) Did they take a car?

b) Did they hire bikes?

2. No, the train was delayed. - a) Had she already arrived at the station.

b) Was the train late?

3. The bank's on the corner. - a) Where's the bank?

b) What's on the corner?

4. I sent him a letter. - a) Aren't you going to send Tommy a letter?

b) How does Mr. Pringle know your news?

5. It's next Tuesday. - a) Is it your birthday next week?

b) Was it your birthday last Tuesday?

4.2. First listen to this short conversation. Then listen again and repeat B's part.

A: What did you have for starters?

B: I had chicken soup.

A: And what did the others have?

B: Chris had tomato soup and James had tomato salad.

Now go on. Take B's part and respond to A's questions. Or work with a partner and take it in turns to take the parts of A and B. Highlight the words you want to make more noticeable in each of the responses.

A: And what did you have for desert?

B: I had apple pie.

A: What did the others have?

B: Chris had cherry pie and James had cherry cake.

A: It's your birthday this month isn't it?

B: Yes it's the thirty first.

A: Are both your sisters' birthdays this month too?

B: Yes, Sara's is the twenty-first and Jenny's is the twenty-fourth.

A: Where did he wait for you?

B: At the back entrance.

A: And where had you arranged to meet?

B: At the main entrance, which is right in the main street.

A: When did you visit Japan?

B: I went last year.

A: And are you going again?

B: Yes. I'm going this year. In fact I'm going this month.

A: What's the problem?

B: She's got black shoes.

A: And why is that a problem?

B: She needed white shoes to go with her white dress.

4.3. Listen to this example. The same or similar words are used to reply to three different questions.

1) A: Is Colin happy in this job?

B: NO. He's GOING to MOVE.

2) A: What's Colin going to do?

B: He's going to MOVE.

3) A: Did you see Colin had moved?

B: No, he's GOing to move.

Now go on. Take B's part and use the same words to give suitable answers to three questions.

  1. A: When is Peter's birthday?

A: Is Peter's birthday the thirty-first?

A: Did you say the Peter's birthday the twenty-fourth?

B: (No.) It's the twenty-first.

  1. A: Are you going to the concert tonight?

A: How will you get in?

A: Do you think there will be any tickets left?

B: I've got a ticket.

  1. A: What does Ann do?

A: Does Ann sell books?

A: Did you say Ann makes Clothes?

B: (No.) She sells cloths.

  1. A: What's the matter with Charles?

A: Is he afraid he'll catch a cold?

A: Has Charles got flue?

B: (No.) He's got a cold.

  1. A: When Are you leaving?

A: Shall we see you here on Thursday morning?

A: You'll miss the party on Wednesday night, won't you?

B: (Yes.) (No.) We're not going till Thursday night.

4.4. For this activity work with a partner if possible. B uses the same words to respond to the two different things that A says.

  1. A: Paul looks happy!

A: I think Paul needs a new car.

B: He's got a new car.

  1. A: We must get some flowers.

A: Don't forget to get them a present.

B: I've got some flowers.

  1. A: Let's go to Paris.

A: Have you had a good weekend?

B: I've been to Paris.

  1. A: You need something hot.

A: The soup's good here.

B: Then I'll have some soup.

  1. A: How did you know it was Mike who rang?

A: Why hasn't he written?

B: He said he'd phone.


º 1. Listen to the dialogue and answer the questions.

What is Sue going to do?

What is she worried about?

What will they have to do if Sue accepts the offer?

2. Listen to the dialogue once more and find the phrases which were mentioned more than once. Explain the speakers' choice in highlighting the words. Practise reading these phrases paying most of your attention to highlighting.

J = Joe

S = Sue

J: Goodbye, darling! Good luck with the interview!

S: Thanks. I'll need it. I hope the trains are running on time. If the trains are delayed, I'll get a taxi. If I'm late with the interview I'll be furious with myself!

J: Just keep calm! Phone me when you can.

S: I will. As soon as I come out of the interview, I'll give you a ring.

J: When will you know if you've got the job?

S: They'll send me a letter in the next few days. If they offer me the job, I'll accept it, and if I accept it, we'll have to move house. You know that, don't you?

J: Sure, but we'll worry about that later.

S: OK. What are you doing today?

J:I can't remember. When I get to the office I'll look in my diary. I don't think I'm doing much today.

S: Don't forget to pick up the children as soon as you get back from work.

J: I won't. You'd better go now. If you don't hurry, you'll miss the train.

S: OK. I'll see you this evening. Bye!

J: Bye, my love. Take care, and good luck!

3. Listen to the dialogue and try to define the stressed syllables and the pitch movement within the heads and nuclear tones.

4. Practise reading the dialogue.

5. Be ready to act it out.


Student A. You're a customer in a small restaurant and are ready to order. The menu is quite limited, but there're different kinds / flavors of each thing. Student B is a waiter / waitress and will ask you for your order.

Menu: Fruit Juice or Soup Fish or Salad Ice-Cream or Sorbet Coffee- Black or White

1. Choose from the menu what you would like for each course.

2. Ask the waiter for more information.

3. Choose from the selection of thins you're offered.

Student B. You're a waiter / waitress in a small restaurant. The customer's menu is limited and Student A needs more information about the kinds / flavors of the things in each course before he/ she can order.

1.Ask the customer to choose something for the first course.

MENU   Starters - Fruit Juice: pineapple, grapefruit, orange. Soup- tomato, vegetable, mushroom. Main Course - Fish: cod, trout, plaice Salads: chicken, salmon, egg, cheese. Dessert- Ice-cream: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry Sorbet: lemon, peach, raspberry Coffee: black or white.

2.Give more information about the things he / she chooses.

3.Then ask about the next course.

Tasks: 1. Prepare a conversation between a customer and a waiter. Don't forget to highlight the words which are most important in the conversational context. Make use of "Practice activities".

2. Record your conversation on the tape.

3. Work with "Uniton". Analyse the diagrams of your speech; see whether you managed to make the proper words more / most prominent and what parameters this prominence is achieved by.


º Listen and read

1. Which of the following situations would make you the most anxious?

Walking up a dark street alone at night.

Giving a speech to a large group of people.

Being late for something.

Waiting to see the dentist.

Waiting for someone who is late.

2. Listen to this extract from The Way Up to Heaven by Roald Dahl.

Which of the above situations makes Mrs Foster the most anxious?

Does her husband's behaviour make it better or worse?

3. Choose the correct answer (a, b or c).

1 Mrs Foster's fear of missing a train or plane was so strong that

a it made her ill.

b it was like an illness.

c it made her throw things.

2 She got so nervous that a muscle in her eye began to tremble and

a didn't stop until she'd been travelling for at least an hour,

b stopped as soon as she was on the train or plane,

c didn't stop until just before she caught the plane.

3 Mrs Foster used to spend the half hour before it was time to leave

a walking around, а waiting for her husband.

b waiting for the lift with her husband.

c walking from room to room with her husband.

º All her life, Mrs Foster had had such a strong fear of missing a train, a plane, a boat or even the start of a play that her fear was almost an illness. In other respects, she was not a particularly nervous woman, but just the thought of being late on occasions like these used to throw her into a terrible state. As a result, a small muscle in the corner of her left eye would begin to tremble. It was not very much, but the annoying thing was that the problem refused to disappear until an hour or so after the train or plane - or whatever it was - had been safely caught.

It is really strange how in certain people a simple fear about a thing like catching a train can grow into serious anxiety. At least half an hour before it was time to leave the house for the station, Mrs Foster used to step out of the lift all ready to go, and then, as she was unable to sit down, she used to move about from room to room until her husband, who must have known about her state of mind, finally joined her and suggested in a cool dry voice that perhaps they had better go now, had they not?

Mr Foster may possibly have had a right to be annoyed by this silliness of his wife's, but he could have had no excuse for increasing her anxiety by keeping her waiting unnecessarily. It is not, of course, certain that this is what he did, but whenever they were going somewhere, his timing was so exact - just a minute or two late, you understand - and his manner so calm that it was hard to believe that he was not purposely causing pain to the unhappy lady. He must have known that she would never dare to call out and tell him to hurry. He had trained her too well for that. He must also have known that if he was prepared to wait just a little longer than was wise, he could make her nearly crazy. On one or two special occasions in the later years of their married life, it seemed almost as though he had wanted to miss the train, simply to increase the poor woman's suffering.

If the husband was guilty, what made his behaviour doubly unreasonable was the fact that, with the exception of this one small weakness, Mrs Foster was, and always had been a good and loving wife. For over thirty years, she had served him loyally and well. There was no doubt about this. Even she knew it, and although she had for years refused to let herself believe that Mr Foster would ever consciously hurt her, there had been times recently when she had begun to wonder.

Listen to the text and analyse it from the phonetic point of view:

1. Divide the text into intonation groups, determine their structure in each case.

2. Watch the Nucleus in each of them and the tone used.

3. Analyse the head in each intonation group: type, number of rhythm groups.

Practise the text reading. Make the recording of your reading on a tape.

Work with "Uniton". Compare the diagrams of your reading with the model one.



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TELLING AND REFERRING | The Tones | The transcription | B: // SORRy // (homework)// THURSday | SPEECH MELODY. ITS COMPONENTS | TYPES OF TONES (2). TYPES OF HEADS. | Lisa: Hello, Tony. Did you go for your interview yesterday? | Student A, Student B. | FALLING AND RISING TONES | Listen and read |

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