Prosody Practice

Putting it all together

Below are a few paragraphs from a Voice of America report about the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Choose one or two of the sentence and then use what you have learned about prosody to decide which of the words are content words and which are function words. Try using word art (see: Stress Lesson for an example of word art) to write the sentences while showing the changes in pronunciaiton stress, intonation, and rhythm for the content and function words. Next, practice saying the sentences out loud.

The Golden Gate Bridge has been called one of the world’s most beautiful bridges.  It is also one of the most visited places in the world. Experts say about nine million people visit the bridge each year.  They say more than one thousand million vehicles have used the bridge since it opened almost seventy years ago.

The bridge has always been painted the color called “international orange.” The color was chosen because it went well with the natural surroundings.  It is also easier to see in the heavy fog that often covers the area.

But the Golden Gate Bridge was not named for its orange color.  It was named for the body of water that it crosses, the Golden Gate Strait. The Golden Gate Strait is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.

Have you practiced saying the sentences out loud? Did you stress the content words? Did your intonation and rhythm change as you pronounced the different content and function words? Below is a link to the Voice of America report on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Listen to it. Can you hear how the reporter adds stress to the content words? Can you hear how he changes the intonation of his voice before and after the content words? 

We suggest that you spend time listening to how native American English speakers use stress, intonation, pause, and rhythm to add emotion and meaning to their words and sentences. Listen to the news on television. Listen to your American neighbors. Listen to your friends at work. The more you listen the more you will learn about the "music" of American-English. Your pronunciation will improve as your listening improves.


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                         Program content & web design by Chris Opall © 2011.   Page last updated   May 5, 2012



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