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3.4: Speaking Strategies - General Speaking Skills, Part III

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    Now that you’ve understood the importance of your body when speaking, and hopefully have practiced a lot, then it’s time to practice intonation. Intonation is basically how your voice sounds when you’re having a conversation—the tone of your voice rises and falls. This rising and falling tone gives our words meaning, and helps our speakers to feel what we’re saying.

    For example, imagine you have a very important test tomorrow. How would you express the importance of this test to your friends? There are many ways!

    You can make a word longer: “I have a huuuuuuuge test tomorrow.” By making the word longer, you place emphasis (or stress) the word, which tells your listener that this is important information. When you make words longer, you usually don’t have to explain to the listener how you feel. They’ll know!

    You can pause before the important word: “I have a … huge test tomorrow.” By pausing before the word, you, again, tell your listener that this is important information.

    You can also just put emphasis or stress on a word” “I have a HUGE test tomorrow.” In other words, make the word or phrase louder than the rest of the sentence.

    Let’s practice! Remember the Speaking Assignment from Unit 3?

    Speaking Assignment

    Take turns standing in front of a partner. Check your posture (Unit 1), speak in a loud, slow, clear voice (Unit 2), and repeat the following sentences. This time, choose which word you’re going to make longer, stronger, or pause before saying:

    “Good morning. My name is ___________________________________________________________.

    I’m a student at _________________________________________________________________________.

    My major is _____________________________________________________________________________.

    My hobby is _____________________________________________________________________________.

    Thank you.”

    This page titled 3.4: Speaking Strategies - General Speaking Skills, Part III is shared under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Daniel Velasco.

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