Correct Stress in Words with -ion Endings

stress in -ion wordsSharing more information with you on stress, this post is on predictable stress in -ion words.

When a word ends with -ion, usually you stress (louder, longer and higher pitch) the part right before -ion. (Remember that -sion, -shion and -tion all sound like “shun”.

  • PENsion
  • MANsion
  • CUshion
  • eMOtion
  • atTENtion
  • vaCAtion
  • compoSItion
  • declaRAtion
  • mediCAtion
  • imagiNAtion
  • refrigeRAtion
  • pronunciAtion

Listen to the -ion words here.

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Word Stress

Correct Word StressEnglish has rhythm, stress and intonation, and knowing these will make understanding and using English easier.  It’s important to understand and use correct word stress with words that have two or more syllables.  Word stress is an important foundation in using English.  If you put stress on the wrong syllable of words, listeners will not understand you.

I have a wonderful Korean student who was telling me about “1 perCENT”, but he put the stress on the first syllable, and it needs to be on the last syllable.  It sounded to my ear like “1 PERson”.    Another devoted Chinese student once asked me when sharing a meal “you like BOMB boo?”  and it needed to be pronounced “you like bamBOO?”  The wrong word stress can change the meaning entirely!

Use this handout below to practice the correct stress of frequently-used English words.

Printable Worksheet on Word Stress

 

 

A is for Alligator – Learning with Songs

Singing is one of the easiest ways to learn language. Whether teaching songs to children who are late to talk, or adults who are learning a new language, music and singing activates parts of the brain that engage memory and linguistic understanding. 

When working in early intervention at the speech clinic, we used a morning routine that included songs.  We used visual icons, objects, sign language and motions when singing.  I also provided the parents and caregivers with a lyrics sheet, so they could sing along, and help their child learn the songs.

Our ESL students enjoyed this song I taught them at yesterday’s ESL class – “A is for Alligator”.   a is for alligatorSongs are great for learning English rhythm, melody, intonation and stress patterns.  Teach hand motions or signs along with the music and your students will learn quickly and improve their pronunciation.  I’ve posted my lyrics sheet here and linked the song from YouTube, so you can hear it.    The song is available for purchase from Twin Sisters Productions.   I do not receive any money from Twin Sisters for recommending their song.   I simply chose the song due to it’s simplicity and because I thought it would benefit my students.

AVSpeechTherapyAlligatorHandout

Link to “A is for Alligator” song on Youtube.

Reductions “Wanna” and “Gonna”

wannagonnaSome students think they must pronounce every sound in every word carefully for others to understand their English.  It is important to use careful pronunciation, but that can also get in the way of communication.  There are many common words and phrases in English that Americans reduce when we speak.  We make them shorter, faster and sometimes change the sounds.  These reductions are not lazy or sloppy!  For American English speakers, using reductions is normal and expected.  Here are some common reductions with “want to” and “going to”:

(These reductions are for spoken English only.  You still need to write the sentences with proper spelling and grammar.)

I want to get a new job. = I wanna get a new job.

I want to talk to you. = I wanna talk to you.

Do you want to get a coffee? = Do you wanna get a coffee? or Wanna get a coffee?

She wants to go first. = She wansta go first.

I’m going to see my sister after work. = I’m gonna see my sister after work. (Use “gonna” if it’s an action word.)

(Never reduce “going to” if it’s going to a place like “I’m going to school”, etc.)

Listen to the sentences and reductions here.

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Read my previous post on common English reductions here.

Free printable worksheet of English reductions here.

 

 

Donald Eats the Crayons

I try to always post positive things about my schools and the students I work with. But this past week at school has been the hardest this year, with students being aggressive and injuring staff and students. The kids at our school earned their way there by having such out-of-control behaviors that their home schools placed them here. My current school is a locked down, escort-only, Pro-ACT trained school with small classrooms, and extra aides, with a ratio of 1 adult:2 students.

But still unexpected things happen. “Donald” (not his real name), a 15-year-old in our high school autism class is so strong and so erratic that he sweeps materials and computers off desks. He knocks over desks and tables. He hits and kicks the other students. He was jumping and running around the classroom last week and collided with another student, sending the other kid to the hospital with a broken nose. This week he picked up a metal folding chair and threw it into the air. It folded in mid-air and came down striking the head of a teacher in the classroom. That resulted in another emergency room visit.

crayola crayonsYesterday we worked with him, as we do every week (the occupational therapist and I). Often we look at books, do a craft project, play a game or do some food preparation. When we do crafts we sometimes color with crayons. Back in September, he ate a half crayon. He hasn’t done that for a while. He’s been pretty cooperative with therapy activities. But something has changed the last few weeks. During our therapy session he took a crayon and ate it. Crayola crayons are non-toxic and I wasn’t too worried. This was a big 15-year-old kid. Eating a crayon would not harm him. I figured that would be the end of that and he would take another crayon and color his paper. No, he ate the second crayon! Chewed and swallowed!

So next we gave him a pencil. He did not eat the pencil. He didn’t write with it either, so no work was getting done. Sometimes giving a break helps kids get back to work, so we offered him a break and he indicated he wanted a snack (using his picture cards). The student got the snack and had a short break while he ate his chips. Then we tried to work with him again. The OT showed him the coloring activity and what we were expecting him to do. Then we gave him a third crayon. He ate it.  (Are you surprised?)

Well it was time to give up for the day. We tried all we know how to do. I cannot get inside the mind of this autistic student. I clearly have not found a way to reach him yet, or something has changed. I feel less and less effective at school. Now I’m starting to count the days till summer vacation.

 

Pronouncing -s and -es Endings

This lesson is about -esEndingssingular/plural – book, books – third person present tense – She walks to school – and possessive – Dan’s hat, the Weiss’s house.  When adding S or ES to words, the pronunciation rules are similar to adding -ED to words.

When a word ends with an unvoiced sound /p/ /t/ /k/ /f/ unvoiced/th/, say /s/ at the end

  • taps
  • hats
  • kicks
  • laughs
  • myths

When a word ends with a voiced sound /d/ /g/ /v/ /n/ /m/ /ng/ /l/ /r/ voiced /th/, and all vowels say /z/ at the end

  • bibs
  • beds
  • digs
  • loves
  • teams
  • fans
  • sings
  • falls
  • hears
  • clothes
  • plays
  • allows

It’s okay if your /s/ and /z/ endings sound similar, the most important thing is you only make an added syllable sound ( Iz) when your word has the ending below.  Never put the added syllable sound (Iz) on the word endings above!

When a word ends with a sibilant fricative sound (sounds that hiss) /s/ /z/ /sh/ /zh/ /ch/ /j/ say /Iz/, at the end

  • laces
  • sneezes
  • washes
  • garages
  • reaches
  • judges

See the printable Pronouncing -E and -ES worksheet here.

Here the words pronounced here.

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Pronouncing “ng” and “g”

cautionCaution! You need to be careful around “ng” in words like sing, hang, long, strong, and belong.

Even though we spell them using G, most of the times we do not pronounce the hard G at the end! When we spell a word with -ng, it often makes whole new sound, like in the word “ring” or “sing” we pronounce the “ing” sound, but we do not pronounce the G sound.

Here are some rules to remember:

If a word ends in -ing, like action words (baking, catching, dancing, feeding, jumping, running)  or nouns or verbs  with -ng  in the root word (king, ring, song, spring, slang, thing, wrong)  never pronounce hard G at the end, always use a soft [ng].

Hear the -ng words here.

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Other words include a hard G sound after pronouncing [ng]. You often see this in the middle of words (anger, English, finger, hunger, jingle, jungle, stronger, younger, single).

Here the -ng words with hard G here.

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Make a list in your notebook (you are keeping a notebook of challenging sounds, aren’t you?) and memorize the troublesome words!

 

 

 

Is Love Pronounced Luv?

How to pronounce "Love"The different O vowel sounds are often confused by my ESL students.  Here are some ideas to remember them.

Hot has the short O sound [pronounced ah].  Open your mouth wide.  Your tongue is up and back

Love has the schwa sound [pronounced uh].  Open your mouth medium (Not as much as with the sound [ah]). Your tongue is lower now, more toward the middle. Good idea to memorize this sound because it’s the most common sound in English.

Listen to these word that are spelled with O and have the [ah] sound.

  • hot
  • not
  • hop
  • top
  • stop
  • sock
  • clock

/ah/ words

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These words have the /uh/ sound.

  • love 
  • above
  • mother 
  • brother
  • other

[uh] words

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13 or 30? What did you say?

13Some 30English numbers sound alike, and it can be hard to pronounce them so others understand you. The numbers that are easily confused are 13 and 30, 14 and 40, 15 and 50, 16 and 60, 17 and 70, 18 and 80, 19 and 90. These words sound nearly alike.  There are only a few small differences.

1)  The “teen” numbers end with the sound /n/ so it will  help if you clearly pronounce the /n/.

2) The /t/ sound in the middle of the “teen” numbers is usually pronounced as a /t/ while the /t/ sound in the middle of the “tens”  numbers is usually pronounced as a /d/.

3) But by far, the easiest trick to pronouncing these numbers is putting the stress in the correct place.

 

With 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. 18 and 19, stress (make louder and longer) the second syllable.

  • thirteen
  • fourteen
  • fifteen
  • sixteen
  • seventeen
  • eighteen
  • nineteen

Listen to 13 – 19 here.

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With 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90 stress (make louder and longer) the first syllable.

  • thirty
  • forty
  • fifty
  • sixty
  • seventy
  • eighty
  • ninety

Listen to 30 – 90 here.

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Listen to these sentences: Today is my birthday.  I’m 13 today.

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Today is my birthday. I’m 30 today.

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