Speech Rhythm of American English

How to make your speech more effective

Lesson 1

Just like music, English speech has a beat. The combination of strong and weak beats creates the rhythm of English. English speakers expect to hear a certain rhythm when they listen to you. In Lesson 1, you will learn the two basics of creating a good rhythm. First, let’s watch the video to see the overview of how to make your speech more effective.

Stress and Rhythm in English | A QUICK Overview

Basic Rhythm 1: Syllable Stress in Words

A syllable is a part of a word that has a vowel sound. You create the basic rhythm by stressing and unstressing vowel sounds. Stressing the vowel sound means you say it louder, longer, and higher in pitch. Remember one syllable is stressed in words with two or more syllables. If you stress the wrong syllable, your listeners might not understand you. Look at the pictures below. Which syllable do you stress to say "two lips" and "tulips"?

Watch the video below and practice stressing one syllable in a word. Clap your hands along with the speaker.

American English Rhythm Practice: Clapping

Basic Rhythm II: Counting Syllables in a Word

Syllables are the number of beats in a word. Counting the number of syllables will help you became aware of the rhythm. Can you count the number of syllables in a word? Let’s place your thumb under your chin. Count the number of times you move your jaw while you say a word. That will give you the number of syllables in that word.

Syllable Patterns Lessons

Watch the linked video and practice counting the number of syllables in a word.