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  • Writer's picturegeoff

Focus On THIS When You Learn A Word

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Dictionaries do it; educational teachers do it...they think they're being helpful because they break a word up into really small, really strong syllables.

Think of the word "education". It is often taught like "ED" "U" "CA" "TION". But people don't talk that way, and it's causing people to have pronunciation that doesn't sound natural.

I'm saying that when you're learning a word ,the thing that you're going to want to pay attention to is syllable stress. A syllable is basically a small section of a word.

Education--that has four syllables; however, we're not going to pronounce every syllable the same way. There's going to be a stressed syllable--you need to hold that syllable slightly longer and use a higher pitch; all the other syllables need to be weaker and they also need to be lower in pitch.

So, whenever you're learning a new word, I think it's helpful to use a site like where you can hear how that word appears in context. Another strategy you can do is remove all the consonant sounds, but keep the vowels--so again, if I'm learning education I'll just do like E - U -A - I, then I'm going to put the constants back in.

When I'm doing that exercise, I also want to make sure it flows so the breath never stops. Once you feel more comfortable with these stressed syllables and words we can now take a look at stress in entire sentences.

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