Let rhythm guide your ear – Don’t overlook this and your fluency will thank you for it

Speaking clarity is the result of various things.

Which part of pronunciation is also key when it comes to speech clarity in English?

It is rhythm of speech.

You may ask, “Rhythm? So, is this an English tip today or a music lesson?”

Well, what happens is that the two are related.

As I have highlighted this in the past before, comprehension in English also relies on the listener’s ability to tune in to the “music” of the language. I mean the “speech music”, which includes rhythm, pitch and intonation.

Today I’ll talk about rhythm a little bit, and show you three simple examples to illustrate a point.

Let’s compare the following three short phrases:

1. And I know.

2. Anne, I know.

3. An eye. No!

The three sound quite similar, don’t they?

However, there should be some difference between the way they sound, right? Otherwise how would we know what is being said?

Let’s try: rhythm.

1-Minute Tip ⏳

Because this is an article and not an audio recording, I’m going to use “di” and “daa” to represent the words, and to illustrate how the rhythm changes according to the meaning.

“Di” is short and less loud, “daa” is longer and a bit louder.

1) And I know.

di – di – daa

2) Anne, I know.

daa – di – daa

3) An eye! No!

Di – daa – daa

Spanish speaking learners often make 1) and 2) sound the same.

No big deal. After all, the context usually helps you to figure out what is being said.

However, little examples like these are a nice opportunity to sharpen your pronunciation clarity. Why not do it, both for you and for your listeners’ sake?

If you are serious about improving your listening comprehension skills in English, speech rhythm is a principal feature of spoken English that you need to become familiar with.

By the way, there is another detail that many Spanish speakers I have heard do not pronounce well in phrase 1).

But that’s a whole topic for another day.

Today it was about rhythm.

Interested in diving deeper in pronunciation and speech clarity improvement?

I specialize in helping speakers develop confident speaking clarity to boost their professional success in business.

Need help? You know where to find me on LinkedIn.

This content is authentic and it is not AI generated.

I write these weekly tips for you because I enjoy sharing techniques that I have seen work for my students through my 20+ years of teaching experience.


👋 Hi, I’m Gábor

I am an English speech fluency trainer, specialized in pronunciation training.

Talk to you next time 🙂

Gábor 🙂

Connect | Gábor Légrádi | MA, RSA/CTEFLA

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