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Speaking clearly. Improving voice and articulation: Фонетический практикум

Голосов: 11

В практикуме указываются причины появления русского акцента в речи русскоязычных студентов, говорящих на английском языке, и приводятся методические приемы и упражнения по его устранению. Упражнения способствуют лучшему усвоению и тренировке английского произношения, ритма, закреплению интонационных моделей в двух видах речевой деятельности: чтении и спонтанном говорении. Данный практикум предназначен для студентов гуманитарных факультетов, факультетов прикладных наук, аспирантов, преподавателей, а также всех желающих улучшить английское произношение и приобрести английский акцент при изучении английского языка.

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               into the back of the wardrobe after the party — the way
               you usually do.
Mike.          I’ve looked for it everywhere. And it’s not in the
               wardrobe. Have you tidied up my bedroom again and
               put all my things away in new places where I’ll never
               find them?
Mother.        I always put ties away in the wardrobe where they
               belong, so don’t blame me. Are you sure you haven’t
               worn that tie since Saturday?
Mike.          No, I don’t think so.
Mother.        On Tuesday you went out with Janet and I think you
               put it on then. You didn’t come in until one o’clock in
               the morning and I was already in bed. Perhaps you took
               it off in Janet’s house and left it there.
Mike.          Ah! I remember now. It was a bit hot and I took my tie
               off in the car on the way home on Tuesday. I suppose
               it’s still on the shelf under the dashboard.
Mother.        As usual you’ve only got yourself to blame. It’s a good
               job your head is firmly fixed to your shoulders —
               otherwise I’m sure you’d lose that too.

                             O’Connor J.D.
Miss Tooley.       How do you think we ought to start?
J.D. O’Connor.     My idea is this. Suppose we just say a few ordinary
                   sentences. After that we’ll go back again and notice
                   how we’ve said them and what sort of tune we’ve
                   used, and then we’ll try to make some clear and
                   general rule about them.
Miss Tooley.       Yes, that’s a good idea. Now the first thing I said
                   was this: «How do you think we ought to start?»
                   I wonder if the listeners can hear the tune. «How
                   do you think we ought to start?»
J.D.               You see, listeners, that sentence starts on a fairly
                   high note and it continues on that same note
                   until it reaches the word «ought». Just listen.
Miss Tooley.       «How — How do you think we — How do you
                   think we ought to start?»

J.D.           Like that, you see. The word «ought» is said on a
               slightly lower note, and the sentence continues
               on that lower note until it gets to the very last
Miss Tooley.   How do you think we ought to start? How do you
               think we ought to start?
J.D.           Again, you see. The word «start» is on a slightly
               lower note and not only that, it falls as you say it:
               «start — start».
Miss Tooley.   Yes, it does. It falls right down to the bottom
               of my voice, listen: «How do you think we ought
               to start? How do you think we ought to start?»
J.D.           So the sentence is really in three parts,
               corresponding to the number of stressed syllables:
               «how», followed by four weak syllables, then
               «ought», followed by one weak syllable; and, lastly,
               «start», followed by nothing at all.
Miss Tooley.   How do you think we — ought to — start?
J.D.           We can make a good rule out of that. In sentences
               like this, the first stressed syllable and any weak
               or unstressed syllables following it, are said on
               a fairly high note; the second stressed syllable and
               any more weak syllables after that, are said on
               a slightly lower note, and the same with the third,
               and the fourth, and so on until you come to the
               last stressed syllable of all, which not only begins
               on a lower note than the previous one, but also
               falls right down until it can scarcely be heard at all.
               Well, now we must go back to the beginning and
               see if our rule works for some of our other

                         S E C T I O N III

                    THE EXPRESSIVE VOICE

                     MUSIC TO YOUR EARS
      There is a unique instrument, developed somewhat indepen-
dently by a number of cultures, that most of us admire and consider
musical. It’s called the bagpi pe.
      The bagpi pe has a bag — a bellows — that is squeezed by the
pi per to produce the breath of the instrument. That air is then
directed into as many as five drones, each of which emits a different
pitch. Those sounds remain constant, unmodulated, ...as long as air
passes through them. They begin tentatively, but build quickly to full
volume. At that point, the bagpi pe is not fully functional.
      Ah, but then the remaining component of the instrument, the
reed melody pi pe, the chanter, begins to skirl, laying the tune over
the drones, and music happens! The music is sometimes plaintive,
sometimes exuberant, as the pi per varies the phrasing and tempo of
the piece.
      Many of us have seen and heard the massed pi pers and drum-
mers of the famous Black Watch, in their ribbons and kilts, proudly
marching down a field. When that stirring melody, «Scotland the
Brave» fills the air, everyone present must respond with excitement
and awe! That’s an expressive musical voice!
      Your voice, if you use it effectively, is just as expressive! The
human voice can be a mirror of your thoughts and emotions. …...
      Nothing equals the beauty, the power, the flexibility, or the
expressiveness of the human voice!
      That expressiveness comes from the use of a variety of techniques
that impart vitality to speech. Your voice is unique and instantly
recognizable because of six characteristics in your delivery. These are
pitch, inflection, energy, duration, tempo, and volume. …
      Pitch. High or low, the pitch of your everyday voice has been
developed throughout your life. It has been influenced by your gen-
der, your physical size and the kind of life you’ve led. All of these
characteristics interact to give your voice expressiveness and to make
you a concise articulator.
      A woman’s vocal cords vibrate about twice as fast as those of a
man’s, so her normal pitch is usually about an octave higher. The

effect of physical size on the voice is best appreciated by the changes
in your natural pitch that occur as you pass from childhood into
maturity. The female voice reaches full maturity at about age 35, the
male voice at around age 25.
       Lifestyle exerts considerable effect on both the quality of the
voice and the pitch at which you normally speak. If you often shout
or yell, if you use tobacco, or must take medicine that dries the
mouth and throat, your vocal cords are being mistreated. At the very
least, your voice may become husky and your pitch range may be
       Keeping these cautionary words in mind, let’s consider the
ways you can enlarge your pitch range. With practice, almost every
adult speaker can develop a range of about two octave…...
       …...your voice will sound most pleasant to listeners if you use,
primarily, pitches within the lower half of your range. Extremely
high and low pitches are often annoying or grating to hear. Speaking
at unnaturally low or high pitches is very tiring for the vocal organs.
       Since your goal is to develop a pleasant and interesting speaking
voice, we’ve developed the following Practice Session for this purpose.
This exercise will help you to locate the pitches at which your voice
achieves the most resonance. ...…
of your hands on your cheeks and rest a finger lightly on either side
of your nose. Read a series of sentences you have chosen from books
or magazines for this purpose. Vary your voice pitch while doing so.
You will feel your nose and cheeks vibrate when you reach your
optimum (most pleasing, effective) resonance. Then, to eliminate the
distraction of tissue- and bone-conducted sound, tape record your
delivery (at that optimum pitch) so that you can experience your
voice as others hear it.
       Next, listen to the tape recording you’ve made of your speaking
voice. ...…You may need to change speech behaviors. Solicit and con-
sider the opinions of friends and relatives, but remember, you must
please yourself first!
       Inflection. This term refers to the rising and the falling of the
pitch of the speaking voice. Inflection adds variety to your speech and
gives words and sentences their meanings. Use inflection with discre-
tion. Vary the pitch as you speak. Avoid both monotone and sing-song
deliveries. Rapidly alternating swings between high and low pitches
usually make a speaker sound affected or unnatural. It is very impor-

tant to make full use of inflection to emphasize words and to add
interest and vitality to your speech. Work diligently on your inflection.
      INFLECTION and MEANING. Vocal inflection gives added
meaning to the words we speak. In early infancy, we learn to distin-
guish the difference between mother’s «Don’t cry», spoken harshly,
severely, and her, «Don’t cry», tenderly uttered in comforting tones.

       Practice the following phrases to improve your ability to change
their meaning by varying your vocal inflection. Deliver each phrase
three times in succession into your tape recorder, changing your vocal
inflection each time.
       For example:
       • «Don’t leave!» — Strong, harsh, commanding.
       • «Don’t leave!» — Pleading, begging, whining.
       • «Don’t leave.» — Simple statement, very little emotion.
      1. Shut the door. I don’t want to talk about it.
      2. Take the papers with you. You’ll see samples of his work.
      3. Sit down here and don’t argue with me anymore.
      4. Vote for Roger Reese for President. He’s a good choice!
      5. Your feelings are a complete surprise to me, Mary.
      6. Suddenly, I feel something special is happening in my life.
      7. Billy, you’re not telling the whole story to your mother.
      8. Kevin, I worry about you. You work so hard!
      9. Don’t be so shy when you telephone Bob.
      10. I think you should tell me the real story.
      11. Darling, you look like you’re feeling tired today.
      12. Mother, don’t ask me that again.
      13. Why can’t I convince you? You don’t seem to believe me.
      14. I’ve explained it to you so many times.
      15. Hush. I’m tired of hearing it.
      16. Do you really believe Lisa? If you do, you’re naive!
      17. If you spend more time studying, you’ll get better grades.
      18. Don’t be afraid. Take the exam.
      19. Do you like me? Then show me that you do.
      20. Come into the kitchen and eat dinner now.
      21. Don’t say that to me again.

      Remember, your goal is a conversational delivery. In practice
sessions, it’s good to exaggerate inflections you use. Your actual deliv-

ery, however, should be smoothly inflected and not exaggerated. Also,
speech should always be smooth, never halting or abrupt. Inflecting
pitch requires practice. You’ll become better at it with time.

       Energy. The level of enthusiasm or vitality that put into speak-
ing is important. In normal conversations, the level of energy you use
will depend upon your interest in the subject and upon your sur-
roundings at the time. You would not become overly enthusiastic while
speaking in a chapel, a quiet living room, or an intimate restaurant.
Your energy level would increase, however, during a conversation at a
sporting event. A sales presentation may call for a great deal of excite-
ment. A discussion with your child may require subtle, earnest tones.
In any case, although the energy or intensity level at which you
speak may vary, your enthusiasm for, and interest in your message,
must shine through.
       Duration. Every sound wave has duration, that is, it lasts a cer-
tain period of time. Syllabic stresses also have duration…... The duration
of vowels actually determines which sounds listeners perceive most
clearly during speech. To emphasize certain words or sentences, a
speaker may choose to draw out or to lengthen certain portions of a
word or phrase. Duration is closely tied to intensity, volume and
       Tempo. There is no correct rate of speed at which one should
speak. That rate depends on a speaker’s mood and upon the content of
the message. Slowing down slightly to stress important words or phrases
adds emphasis and variety to speech. Speaking at a constant rate of
speed makes one sound robotic and dull.
       A faster tempo is appropriate when a message has great urgency
or holds special interest. However, no matter how urgent the mes-
sage, crisp enunciation continues to be of primary importance. Un-
fortunately, at a faster, more energetic tempo, precise articulation
becomes more difficult. Never sacrifice clarity for speed.
       A speaker slows down the tempo of a message that is not com-
pletely thought out. People tend to speak more slowly when thinking
about the content of a message to be delivered. The fact points up the
importance of marshaling our thoughts before we speak. A familiar
adage says, «Put your brain in gear before engaging your mouth!»

       Speaking at a slow rate of speed can sound boring or lack-luster.
In our fast-paced world, people who speak too slowly are often inter-
rupted or, worse, are totally ignored.
       Your goal should be a conversational tempo that uses natural
speech rhythms. Remember, natural rhythms are never constant ones.
Speed up and then slow down. Vary your tempo. Variety is the spice
of life and of speech!
       Volume. Volume pertains to the relative loudness or softness of
speech sounds. If people sometimes have difficulty understanding your
speech, if others have trouble hearing you clearly, you may be speak-
ing at a volume level that is too soft. Conversely, if your speaking
voice sounds harsh, or if you are sometimes perceived as bossy or
over-bearing, you may be speaking at a volume that is too loud. Your
volume level should be appropriate to the message delivered and to
one’s environment. The intensity of a sound concerns the force with
which air particles are displaced by vibrating sound waves. Intensity is
closely associated with volume.
                            Zoller B.P., Watkins J.A. and Lampman H.
                           Power Talk. Dallas. Texas, 1994. P. 85—92

       A speaking or reading rate of 120 to 140 w. p. m. can irk your
listeners even more than the «faster-than-a-speeding-bullet» rate some
hyperkinetic individuals use. Not only does it suggest that the speaker
is unsure of the information, but it hints of illness, timorousness, or
stupidity. (Actors playing not-too-swift characters often speak at a tor-
toise crawl.) People can listen faster than you can talk, and if your
rate is draggy or funeral, you’ll not only bore your listeners and lose
their attention, you’ll soon lull them into a catatonic state. <...…>
     Even though you’ll rarely have an occasion to read or speak in
slow motion, get the feel of it. The selection below contains exactly
140 words. The number of words up to the diagonal lines is 120. A
maximum and a minimum are established.

     Practice, timing yourself, until it takes you close to a minute to
reach either terminal point.

     All of you who live on after us, don’t harden your hearts
against us. If you pity wretches like us, maybe God will be merciful to
you on Judgment Day. You see us here, five or six of us, strung up. As

for the flesh we loved too well, it’s already devoured and has rotted.
And we, the bones, now turn to ashes and dust. Don’t mock us or
make us the butt of jokes. The rain has rinsed and washed us; the sun
dried us and turned us black. Magpies and crows have pecked out our
eyes and torn away our beards and our eyebrows. Never are we at rest.
The winds keep swinging us — now here, now there. / /
     Lord, keep us out of hell! There’s nothing for us to do there!
Friends, don’t jeer! May God forgive us! [Villon «Ballard of the

       A rate of 180—200 w. p. m. may exhaust your listeners. Burning
up the road tells the world that you’re highly nervous, unsure of
yourself, or emotionally rattled. Faster speaking isn’t necessarily bet-
ter speaking. And have you noticed? We tend to be suspicious of fast
talkers; we pigeonhole them as slick operators, shady lawyers or poli-
ticians, or high-pressure used-car salesman.
       Unlike cigarettes, which carry warnings that smoking may be
hazardous to your health, excessively fast talking won’t destroy you
physically. But a 190-word-per-minute speaking rate is apt to pulverize
sounds and is certainly not conducive to sharp articulation and intel-
ligible communication. A few professionals get by with it. But most of
us who speak that rapidly turn our sentences into mush. A fast rate,
however, is proper for some humorous material, elation, excite-
ment, fear, or anger. Even then — use it sparingly.

      The selection will give you a general idea of this rate. It contains
exactly 200 words. The diagonal lines are placed after the 180 th word.

      What is it, then? What do you want? What have you come for?
What do you mean by this flightiness? Bursting in all of a sudden, like
a cat having a fit! Well, what have you seen that’s so surprising? What
kind of an idea has gotten into your head? Really, you know, you act
like a three-year-old child and not in the least like what one would
expect from a girl of eighteen. I wonder when you’ll get more sensible,
and behave as a well brought-up young lady should and learn a few
good manners? Oh, your head’s always empty! You’re coping the
neighbour’s girls. Why are you always trying to be like them? You’ve
no business using them as models. You have other examples, young

lady, right in front of you — your own mother. I repeat — your own
mother! That’s the model you ought to imitate! There, now you see —
it was all because of you, you silly child, that our guest was on his
knees in front of me — proposing — then you blunder in. / / You
come snooping around, just as though you’d completely out of your
mind. Just for that, I refused him! [Gogol «The Inspector General»]

      The most tolerable and useful all-purpose rate is 140 to 180
w. p. m. If you have to handle material that expresses sorrow, gravity,
meditation, or material that is technical — aim for the lower end of
the range: 140 w. p. m.
      If your material expresses happiness, humour, or, on occa-
sion, wrath, target the upper end of the range: 180 w. p. m.
      Purely conversational situations? 150 to 180 w. p. m. is excellent.
      Have to deliver a speech? Our best public speakers find that 160
w. p. m. is a congenial and efficient average.
      This selection contains 180 words; the diagonals are placed after
the 140th word.

      Practice at the different rates until you feel natural and at ease.

       Just how different are college students of today from students of
the Middle Ages? Not much. They complained much more about food
than we do. For a five-year period at the University of Paris, however,
a lot of students discovered they could eat well and cheaply. Near the
campus were the shops of a pieman and a barber. The pieman specialized
in meat pies. Students could chi p in and buy one and have a filling,
delicious, inexpensive meal. The barber had the sharpest and fastest
razor in Paris. So skilled was he that a client coming into his shop at
the end of the day never felt the blade that shaped his beard until it slit
his throat. The body was then dropped through a trap door into a cellar
which connected with that of the pieman. / / You’ve guessed the rest.
But one day a neighbourhood dog got into the baker’s backyard and dug
up human bones. He took them home; his owner was a constable. The
two men were caught and burned alive at the stake.

       Look over the selections below and decide on a general rate that
fits the mood of the material. When you read aloud, however, be sure
that you vary the rate: accelerate, decelerate, hold steady.
       a) One dark and stormy night, а shi p struck а reef and sank.But
one of the sailors clung desperately to a piece of wreckage and was
finally cast up exhausted on an unknown beach. In the morning he
struggled to his feet and, rubbing his salt-encrusted eyes, looked around
to learn where he was. The only thing he saw that could have been
made by man was a gallows. «Thank God!» he shouted. «Civilization!»
      b) A majority of gunslingers from the Wild West weren’t too
bright. A bad man named Wes Hardin was determined to shoot it out
with Wild Bill Hickok. Hardin was extremely jealous of Wild Bill,
because Bill was rated as number one gunman, but Hardin was only
number two. Hardin heard that Wild Bill was in El Paso, so he rode
there, went into a popular bar and was given the corner seat — in
those days, the best seat in the house. He sat in the corner for three
days, staring into the long mirror behind the bar so that he could
instantly see anybody who came through the door. And on the fourth
day, who should enter the bar with gun drawn? Wild Bill Hickok?
No! The sheriff. And guess what Hardin did. He shot the mirror
instead of the sheriff. The sheriff then shot Hardin. You can visit his
grave in El Paso today.
      c) Tell General Howard I know what is in his heart. What he
told me before, I have in my heart, I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs
are killed. … The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes
or no. My brother, who led on the young men, is dead. It is cold and
we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My
people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no
blankets, no food. No one knows where they are — perhaps freezing to
death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many
of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear
me, my chiefs, I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the
sun now stands I will fight no more, forever. [Chief Joseph to the Nez
Perce Indians]
      d) There is one contemporary artist who refuses to go along
with all the wild and weird «modern» art — square-faced ladies with
three ears and a nose sprouting from the middle of the forehead. Phil

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