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Unit 33. It's BLUE, DARK Blue.

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Prominent Words in Speech Units (1)

Unit 33; Part B

Some speech units have more than one prominent word in them. Each prominent word is emphasised because it carries important information. The last prominent word in a speech unit is where the main falling or rising tone in the speech unit starts (see also Unit 39):
                A: How much further is the station?
                B: // ONLy about a MILE //
        
               A: Why did you buy such an old car?
               B: // THAT'S all I can afFORD at the moment //

Unit 33; Part C

Here is part of a conversation with speech units and prominent words marked. Listen and notice these in the recording:
       A: // It's NICK'S BIRTHday coming up// ISn't it// WHAT are you doing for THAT//
       B: // well I'd LIKE// to have a PARty// outSIDE// but we DON'T have a very big GARden// so that LIMits// HOW many people I can inVITE//
       A: // MY garden's pretty big// WHY don't you use THAT//
       B: // Are you SURE// that would be alRIGHT// that would be GREAT//
       A: // NO problem at ALL//

 



Exercises

flag.jpgThese extracts are divided into speech units (see Unit 32), each containing one prominent word. Listen to the extracts as many times as you need and underline the prominent word in each speech unit.
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  1. // most of the time// we advertise jobs// in national newspapers// and on our website// occasionally however// we might approach someone// to see if they're interested// someone we might really want//
  2. // when we ran out of money// we worked for a bit// and then got a train// somewhere else// and eventually we ended up// in a little village// in the Andes// way up high//
Now read the extracts aloud, making sure that you emphasise each prominent word and that you link words within speech units smoothly together without pauses.
flag.jpgListen to these extracts as many times as you need. Mark all the speech unit boundaries using // and underline the prominent word in each speech unit. (Each speech unit has only one prominent word.)
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  1. should   the   government   pay // for    health    care    or   do   you    think   it's   the   individual's    responsibility   to    save    money   for   when   they   need    treatment    my    personal    view    is   that   we    should   pay    for   our   own    treatment
  2. I'm    impressed    with    your    cooking    Annie   that   was   very   nice    I    particularly    liked    how   you    did   the   rice    I'd    really    like   the    recipe    sometime    if   you   could   write    it   down   for   me
Now read the extracts aloud, making sure that you emphasise each prominent word and that you link words within speech units smoothly together without pauses.

flag.jpgSome of the speech units in these extracts have one prominent word and others have two. First, underline the words that you think are likely to be prominent.
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  1. // we've had wonderful weather// for the last two weeks// but Adam and Emma// have been up in Scotland// where they've had heavy rain// and even fooding// in the western parts of the country//
  2. // I was thinking of buying// a second-hand car// from this garage// but because I don't know anything about cars// I paid for the AA// to inspect it// and they found all kinds of things wrong// so of course// I didn't buy it//
Now listen and check your predictions.
There are many ways of saying these extracts, so if your predictions are different from those on the recording this doesn't necessarily mean they are wrong.

Follow up: If you made a recording for the activity at the end of Unit 32 and marked speech unit boundaries, listen to the recording again and try to underline all the prominent words.

 
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