Reflecting back to my previous recordings, I found out that most of my recordings are longer than my archetype which show that my pronunciation is still very much influenced by my native language especially on the stress pattern I assume. I probably still pronounced unstressed syllables longer than they should be. Thus, the practice on rhythm that I have been doing this week will be beneficial for me in enhancing my English pronunciation.
I started my deliberate practice by reading theories on rhythm first since I did not remember learning this specifically in college during my bachelor degree program. Discussion on rhythm is closely related to word and sentence level stresses in that rhythm is a combination of beat patterns of strongly stressed, lightly stressed and unstressed syllables and pauses (Celce-Murcia, Brinton, & Goodwin, 2010). In other words, it involves stressing and de-stressing of syllables to create the musicality of the language. I learned that Native speakers of English rely on the distinction between these stressed and unstressed syllables when listen to people in that they focus more on the stressed syllables to get the meaning of the utterances. Therefore, failure to produce them correctly may hinder their understanding on the utterances. Thus, I realize that it is really important to learn the stress patterns of English as well as to teach these stress-timed nature or rhythm of English to EFL learners. The stressed-timed nature of English is well illustrated in this following figures from Celce-Murcia, Brinton, & Goodwin (2010), and I found them useful for my drilling practices:
Then, I read the transcription of my archetype again, and put the stress patterns on it. Even though it took me sometime to finally finish putting of the stress patterns on my transcription, I found that it was easier for me to understand the nature of this rhythm because I already work on the word-level and sentence-level stresses. Here is my transcription:
The smallest dots show the unstressed syllables; the medium-sized dots show the stressed syllables, and the biggest dots show the sentence-level stress or the stressed words in sentences. When I tried to record myself for the first time after practicing this rhythm patterns, I found it more challenging since I was more aware of rhythm patterns, and I tried to be as precise as possible, but it turned out to be too exaggerating. Here is the result of my recording after several trials:
It is not perfect yet, but I am sure with more practice it will get better. For the next blog post, I will focus my practice on the prominence.
Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D.M., & Goodwin, J.M. (2010). Teaching pronunciation: A course book
and reference guide (2nd Ed). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.