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  1. #1
    englishhobby's Avatar
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    Default Could someone record this phonetic exercise?

    Hello,
    I teach English at university to third year students who are going to work as school teachers after they graduate. Now there's a little problem. We have a textbook with phonetic exercises which the students need to read properly. I read the exercises to them as an example, but I feel it would be much better if we had this exercise read by a native speaker. If someone could help us - record the exercises for me and my students, we would be very grateful to you.

    We've already had these exercises recorded by an American, but the problem is that he was really trying hard to do his best and read it as A PHONETIC EXERCISE, putting stress on words at random:
    Upload Audio | Listen to Audio | Kiseleva, exercise 22, p. 28 | YourListen

    while we need it read NATURALLY, just in a way people usually talk, with the most common intonation for these sentences, with the right words stressed (if you know what I mean).

    I am aware of the fact that my request may be difficult to fulfill, but I hope someone will help. (You can download the file you created on http://yourlisten.com )

    If not, it's OK (I had hesitated a lot before I started this thread).

    Here's the first exercise we need the recording of (it should be read with the most common / typical / neutral intonation for such type of sentences):

    1. Meet Bess. Send Eve. Spell "be". Help Ted.
    2. Ben sees Nell. Pete needs help. Eve helps Emm. Steve meets Bess. Let's meet Ed. Let's spell "ten". Let's send Ben. Let's help Eve.
    3. Pete sees Steve's pen. Ben needs Ed's tests. Let Ted meet Eve. Let Ben send Pete. Let Bess spell "test". Let Ben help Nell.
    4. He sees ten pens. He needs ten cents. He needs Steve's help.
    5. Lend me Pete's pen. Send me Ben's test. Let me see Bess. Let me help Ed.
    6. Ben, spell "test". Nell, help Eve. Pete, meet Bess. Ted, send Emm.

    I would appreciate it if you will help us. Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by englishhobby; 06-Sep-2012 at 21:09.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up.)

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone record this phonetic exercise?

    I would be happy to try to help. However, I don't think I could read out 'naturally' that series of unnatural statements.

  3. #3
    englishhobby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone record this phonetic exercise?

    Thank you, 5jj! (I realize that the statements are unnatural )) but in Russia where I live there is a big problem - sometimes (and quite often) "experienced" teachers demand that the handouts and textbooks for students written by them (the teachers) years and dozens of years ago should be still used in class ((. So I can't substitute most of them with my own materials. On the other hand, isn't it possible to think of some context these sentences could be used in? We use them to show how to pronounce categoric statements with falling intonation (on the last word in all of the above sentences, later we'll be dealing with logical stress, so the stress will be moved from the last word to the one the speaker wants to emphasize, but NOT in the above exercise yet). In each row there should be the same intonation pattern with intonation falling on the last word.

    So, how can we create these audio files? I have tried to send you a private message, but I always get the message "Sent Items contains 0 messages."
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up.)

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone record this phonetic exercise?

    I am sorry if my "I would be happy to try to help" was unclear. What I meant was that I would be happy to to help if there were material I could do something with. However, as I said, "I don't think I could read out 'naturally' that series of unnatural statements." I do not think I would produce anything more satisfactory for you than your American colleague.

  5. #5
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone record this phonetic exercise?

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    So, how can we create these audio files? I have tried to send you a private message, but I always get the message "Sent Items contains 0 messages."
    That's because when you send a private message, they're not automatically saved to "sent items". You have to tick an additional box for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    We've already had these exercises recorded by an American, but the problem is that he was really trying hard to do his best and read it as A PHONETIC EXERCISE, putting stress on words at random:
    Upload Audio | Listen to Audio | Kiseleva, exercise 22, p. 28 | YourListen
    I* am afraid that I can't make much of it either. I've listened to the recording by your American colleague, and that's kind of how I sound reading the exercise, only with a different accent. I agree with 5jj that it's very difficult to make unnatural statements sound natural.

    *I'm not native speaker, but my BrE accent was reviewed favourably by three speakers of BrE in this forum (1, 2 and 3).
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 07-Sep-2012 at 09:18.

  6. #6
    englishhobby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone record this phonetic exercise?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I am sorry if my "I would be happy to try to help" was unclear. What I meant was that I would be happy to to help if there were material I could do something with. However, as I said, "I don't think I could read out 'naturally' that series of unnatural statements." I do not think I would produce anything more satisfactory for you than your American colleague.
    It's OK.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post
    That's because when you send a private message, they're not automatically saved to "sent items". You have to tick an additional box for that.
    Thank you, Chicken Sandwich.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post
    I agree with 5jj that it's very difficult to make unnatural statements sound natural.
    I understand. I just thought that there is always a chance for almost any grammatically correct statement to sound natural in certain context. For example, someone could say "Ben sees Nell" when telling their friend about Ben who met Nell in the street and describe some funny situation that followed this meeting, why not? "In the crowd Ben sees Nell. He comes up to her and you know what happens? She ..." Would it sound unnatural? My American colleague says 'Ben SEES Nell', putting stress on SEES. Wouldn't it be natural in this situation to put stress on NELL ('Ben sees NELL')?

    Can't these sentences be used just as drills to practice sounds and simple intonation patterns?
    Last edited by englishhobby; 07-Sep-2012 at 20:13.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up.)

  7. #7
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone record this phonetic exercise?

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    Can't these sentences be used just as drills to practice sounds and simple intonation patterns?
    I don't know, but I think that it's more useful to practice speaking in natural contexts and situations. It's not apparent to me how one could benefit from these exercises, but then again, I have never studied phonetics in a classroom setting.

  8. #8
    englishhobby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone record this phonetic exercise?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post
    I don't know, but I think that it's more useful to practice speaking in natural contexts and situations. It's not apparent to me how one could benefit from these exercises, but then again, I have never studied phonetics in a classroom setting.
    Just to learn how to pronounce English sounds one doesn't necessarily need context from the start, so I think. You start with repeating sounds (without any context, of course, as it's impossible to find context for just one separate sound, though it's possible (and necessary on the first stage) to practice pronouncing English sounds separately), then you pass on to repeating separate words (the emphasis is on the sounds, so context isn't that important on this stage), then sentences (context is beginning to "appear" but still is vague, and then microdialogues (here's the first time that you do need context, by that time, hopefully, you have mastered the English pronunciation, and you start learning vocabulary in context, listening, reading, speaking etc. That's how I view it (though I don't insist on this method being the best, to me it seems quite logical and effective.)
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up.)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Could someone record this phonetic exercise?

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    Just to learn how to pronounce English sounds one doesn't necessarily need context from the start, so I think. You start with repeating sounds (without any context, of course, as it's impossible to find context for just one separate sound, though it's possible (and necessary on the first stage) to practice pronouncing English sounds separately)
    If you are teaching a student phonetician the cardinal vowels, then I suppose that 'sound without context' makes sense. If you are trying to help learners speak English naturally, then 'sound without context' seems a very strange idea to me.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Could someone record this phonetic exercise?

    Teaching pronunciation is different from teaching appropriate word stress. The way the three words "Ben", "sees" and "Nell" are pronounced does not change (although of course with some words there will be regional variations in their pronunciation).

    However, the choice of which word to stress entirely depends on context. I'm not sure I can really imagine why your American friend stressed the word "sees" in the sentence "Ben sees Nell" unless he was simply trying to elongate the "double e" sound in the middle and ended up stressing the word inappropriately.

    The simple statement "Ben sees Nell" should not have any particular stress on any one word. However, if the sentence is being used as, for example, the answer to a question, then the question will dictate the stress:

    Who sees Nell?
    Ben sees Nell.

    Who does Ben see?
    Ben sees Nell.

    How does Ben find Nell? / What does Ben do to Nell?
    Ben sees Nell.

    In all of those examples, the pronunciation of the three words is identical.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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