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The Utmost Importance of Phonetics and Phonology

The Utmost Importance of Phonetics and Phonology | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Speech has been used to communicate and express many things since the dawn of man. When we look at wildlife, we can see a pattern in a speech similar to human communication. To truly understand science speech, we must look deeper at the concept of communication.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Dan S. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Why Speech is Important?

World leaders, actors, entertainers, successful businessmen and other professionals all have one major thing in common, their speech. We look at presidential talks and product release conferences and see a pattern of a very attractive speaking form. It is subtle in a sense, we cannot pinpoint where exactly is the speaker performing so well, perhaps it is their accent. Others will say they are a professional public speaker, they are born with this talent of attractive speaking. If you ask any professional language teacher, they will tell you that this is a mere mastery of intonation and stress. In short, I like to call this art “emphasis”, as the word itself is a simple definition of these two worlds.

Also Read: How The Relationship With Your Students Influences Your Classes

Word Stress

To put emphasis on a word requires very little effort. However adding that small, subtle stress to a syllable or letter would mean the world of difference in terms of expression. Take this sentence for example; She didn’t hit me. You can literally add stress to any word in that sentence to emphasize it. A general rule is to add stress on one word, two in some cases. I want to express that the woman, did not hit me. Therefore emphasizing “she” implies that although I was hit, the woman did not hit me. The list of examples can be endless, yet this is a taste of the importance of empathy.

Speech and Communication

Communication is not meant for a simple order or instruction, it is a conversation in the closest form possible. We want to express our emotions, ideas and so on. In the intonation of a sentence I want to hint that I am not feeling well, however, my words would be quite the opposite. It is the subtle usage of intonation that I am able to express this. I cannot use actual words to express this, as this would be too obvious and I do not want to cause immediate attention. Maybe you already do this subconsciously, however with this information you will soon master the art.

Also Read: English in The United Kingdom and in The United States of America

There is no reason not to use emphasis on everyday conversation. If you are used to a tonal language, this may seem like a useless task. As an English speaker, I want to communicate in a work environment, family setting or just casual talk. There are many opportunities to express something in a different way to communicate a fact, idea and other various concepts. Perhaps I want to wish someone my condolences in a genuine heartwarming way. I want to express the urgency in an important document. My boss is giving me praise and I want to express how honored to hear it from him.

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Stress and intonation are key players in communication. It would be great to communicate telepathically, to know exactly what the other person is expressing! The closest thing we have are words. How we say these words, should not be limited to saying words in a standard format. Everyone is different, why should we use the same form of speaking?

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