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    How to identify tone-unit boundaries

    It is well known that utterances may be formed by one or more sentences and somebody can determine where one sentence ends and another begin. In the same way, in phonology, utterances can be divided into tone-units. Someone can determine where these tone-units begin and where they end. [read the full article …]

      Difficulties in identifying a tonic syllable

      In theory, the tonic syllable is the only one that carries a movement in pitch; therefore it can be identified relatively easy. That is in theory! In practice is not that simple. [read the full article …]

        High and low heads

        The head is that part of a tone-unit that extends from the first stressed syllable to the tonic syllable, but not including it. There are two pitch possibilities in the head which are called high head and low head.

        In the case of the high head, the stressed syllable that begins the head is high in pitch, often higher than the beginning pitch of the tone on the tonic syllable. [read the full article …]

          Reading aloud in ESL classroom

          Written version: Reading aloud in ESL classroom | Written version.
          Audio version: Reading aloud in ESL classroom | Podcast.
          Video version: Reading aloud in ESL classroom | Video.
          YouTube: Reading aloud in ESL classroom | YouTube.

          Reading aloud a piece of text is not a very popular ESL activity. Many ESL teachers say that reading aloud is unrealistic because it is never done in real life, we never read aloud in real life. That might be true, but the situation is quite different when we are talking about learners of English. [read the full article …]

            Rise-fall tone followed by a tail

            We find a similar situation in the rise-fall tone case as we have seen with the fall-rise tone. If the tonic syllable is followed by a single syllable in the tail, the “rise” part of the tone takes place on the tonic syllable (the first one) and the “fall” part on the second syllable (see the examples below). [read the full article …]

              Fall-rise tone followed by a tail

              Identifying a fall or a rise tone is not very difficult but a fall-rise tone is much more difficult to recognize especially when it is extended over a tail. When that is the case, its characteristic pitch movement is usually distorted or broken up by the structure of the syllable they occur on. [read the full article …]

                Speaking practice in pairs or groups in ESL classroom

                Written version: Speaking practice in pairs or groups in ESL classroom | Written version.
                Audio version: Speaking practice in pairs or groups in ESL classroom | Podcast.
                Video version: Speaking practice in pairs or groups in ESL classroom | Video version.
                YouTube: Speaking practice in pairs or groups in ESL classroom | YouTube.

                Everybody says that pair work and group work are among the best approaches when it comes to speaking practice in an ESL classroom. I totally agree if we would live in a perfect world, but we don’t. When it comes to speaking practice one of the advantages of pair work (or group work) in an ESL classroom is that students feel more comfortable speaking to each other than speaking with the teacher. Definitely, it is a very effective way of practicing speaking skills.

                As I said, we don’t live in a perfect world, so the right conditions for doing speaking practice in pairs or groups is not always appropriate. [read the full article …]

                  Pitch possibilities in the simple tone-units

                  Two important things have to be known: tone is carried by the tonic syllable and intonation is carried by the tone-unit. These two things are going to be analyzed in this article. [read the full article …]

                    The structure of the tone unit

                    The tone-unit has a very clear internal structure and the tonic syllable is one of its components. There are two types of tone-units: simple and compound. Each simple tone-unit has only one tonic syllable. [read the full article …]

                      ESL Lesson Plan – My best friend – the dog

                      Level: Intermediate
                      Topic: Pets, dogs
                      Aim of the lesson: Talking about your pet
                      Length of the lesson: 45 minutes

                      Content:
                      The lesson
                      Explanations for teachers [read the full article …]