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Unit 34. I've Always been Terrified of Spiders.

Prominent words in speech units (2)

Unit 34; Part A

Within a speech unit, we can emphasise different words to convey different meanings. Compare the replies in these conversations:
      A: How long have you been frightened of spiders?
      B: // I've ALways been terrifed of spiders//
(saying how long)
      A: Why don't you try keeping a spider as a pet?
      B: // I've always been TERrifed of spiders//
(giving the reason)

      A: Is there anything that really frightens you?
      B: // I've always been terrifed of SPIders//
(saying what frightens him)

      A: I've just finished reading Homebush Boy.
      B: // THAT'S the book I wanted//
( = I couldn't remember the title until you said it)

      A: I'm going to read
The Riders next.
      B: // That's the book I wanted//
(= it's a pity you got it first)

     A: I couldn't get you The Collector, so I bought The Magus instead.
     B: // That's the book I WANted//
( = you were wrong; I did want The Magus)

Unit 34; Part B

We sometimes emphasise a word by making it prominent in order to -
  • make a contrast with something previously said (see also Unit 46). Compare:
    A: Did you find your keys?
    B: Yes, // they were under the TAble//

    but: I left my keys on the table, but when I came back// they were UNder the table//
  • correct something previously said (see also Unit 47). Compare:
    I noticed something white at the end of the garden, but when I got closer I couldn't believe it. // It was a white RABbit//
    but: A: When we were small we used to have this grey rabbit. B: // It was a WHITE rabbit//

    A: How does your family know so much about medicine?
    B: // My father's a DOCtor//

    but: A: Your brother's a doctor, isn't he?
    B: No, // my FAther's a doctor//



flag.jpgMatch each opening to the appropriate response. Prominent syllables in the responses have capital letters.
Key.(Female speaker = Australia)
1a + (ii), 1b + (i);
2a + (ii), 2b + (i);
3a + (i), 3b + (ii);
4a + (ii), 4b + (i)


Now listen and check your answers.
flag.jpgUnderline the word in B's replies that you think is most likely to be prominent in each case.
Key.(Speaker A = Spain)
1    She's got three SISters.   
2    I'm going NEXT week.   
3    It's in EAST Newtown.   
4    We live at fifty-NINE.  
5    I said I'd be there LAter.
6    It was a BIG mistake.
7    But I work at HOME on Fridays.
8    You should have taken the first on the RIGHT.

Example: A: What do you think Jill will want for lunch? B: She's coming after lunch.
1    A: Jean's got three brothers. B: She's got three sisters.
2    A: Have a good time in Paris this week. B: I'm going next week.
3    A: I thought the office was in West Newtown. B: It's in East Newtown.
4    A: You're at fifty-seven, aren't you? B: We live at fifty-nine.
5    A: You said you'd be there at 8.00. B: I said I'd be there later.
6    A: Do you think leaving school at 16 was a mistake? B: lt was a big mistake.
7    A: I'll see you in the office on Friday. B: But I work at home on Fridays.
8    A: We took the first on the left. B: You should have taken the first on the right.

Now listen, check your answers and then say the B parts aloud. All of these are said in one speech unit with only one prominent word. Practise saying them without putting extra prominences in. (For example, say: // she's coming After lunch//, not: // she's COMing After lunch//.) 
flag.jpgEach A part in this conversation is said as one speech unit with two prominent words. Underline the two words you think are most likely to be prominent in each A part.
34.3.jpgKey.In an OLD house by the RIVer.
It's only a SHORT walk from the STAtion.
It's FIVE minutes from the BUS stop.
The FIRST house on the LEFT.

A: Why don't you come and see us?
B: Where do you live?
A: In an old house by the river.
B: I'd probably come by train.
A: It's only a short walk from the station.
B: And if I came by bus?
A: It's five minutes from the bus stop.
B: It's in Mill Lane, isn't it? Where exactly?
A: The first house on the left.

Now listen, check your answers, and then say the A parts aloud. Make sure you emphasise the two prominent words in each speech unit and link all the words in the speech unit smoothly together without pauses.

Follow up: Suggest what might have been said immediately before each of these statements:
      (i) //I I've never SEEN him before//       (ii) // I've never seen HIM before//

Unit 33      Unit 34     Unit 35 forward.jpg

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