When Americans speak they divide longer sentences into units. Accent & pronunciation teachers call these units “thought groups”.
You can just think of them as phrases.✔
The words in each phrase or thought group receive different types of stress.
- The smaller words, such as articles & prepositions, are usually unstressed.
- The important words, usually nouns & verbs, are stressed.
In each phrase or thought group there is also a very important word called the focus word.
When Americans speak we give the most emphasis to the focus word. ☝
We pause briefly between each phrase or thought group.⤼
Many non-native English never learned to use thought groups, focus words & pauses.
This often creates “accented” speech that is too fast for American listeners to understand.
It can also create speech that sounds very flat & monotonous to American listeners.
There are no solid rules for dividing longer sentences into phrases or thought groups. It really depends on the idea that you are trying to convey.
BUT…using thought groups when you speak will allow Americans to process what you are saying & understand you more easily.
I teach you to use THOUGHT groups in my ✪iPad book for the American accent.✪
If you’re an iPad user, click on the link above to see this (the first chapter is free).
Using to speak using phrases or thought groups is one of the KEY SKILLS that I teach you in my Skype based accent reduction coaching program.
This is one of the most powerful techniques you can learn for speaking American English more clearly!
Tags: skype accent reduction, thought groups