BY LYNDA KATZ WILNER
Are you proficient in English? How confident are you with the stress patterns and pronunciation of words? If you are learning to speak American English, there are several rules of stress and intonation that will help you be better understood. If you have spoken American English since birth, you may not even be aware of these rules! Perhaps you can assist your team members (if they are asking for help) to pronounce these so they are better understood.
These practical tips can make a significant difference in communication.
How do we say Proper Nouns?
First, let’s define proper nouns. They are nouns for specific names of people, places, monuments, teams, streets and roadways, magazines, holidays, etc. We capitalize the first letter of each word (unless it is a preposition or conjunction). For example, United States of America. If there is more than one word in the proper noun, we need to emphasize the correct part to be understood easily.
This is particularly noted when saying our names. Depending on our first language, we have a stress pattern and rhythm for first and last names. In American English, we stress the last part. If we use the stress pattern of our native language, people may have difficulty differentiating the first from the last name. Our name is our identity, and we want people to understand it and be able to use it.
My name is Lynda Katz Wilner. When I say it, I stress the last word, Wilner.
I live in Baltimore, Maryland.
I read the article in the Wall Street Journal.
What is the rule?
We stress the last word of proper nouns with a HIGHER PITCH, LOUDER VOLUME, and LONGER VOWEL. For example, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore Ravens, The New York Times, Washington Monument, New Jersey Turnpike, Easter Sunday, to name a few.
I’ll highlight more rules in future Tuesday Tips emails.
Check out the online training platform “Master the American Accent” and to watch video tutorials, receive tip sheets and learn more practical rules click HERE.
Reach out to me about accents, public speaking, or communication skills at LKWilner@Successfully-Speaking.com.
For more information about Successfully Speaking Click HERE.
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