To sound like a native you have to be careful to pronounce your words perfectly. In this lesson we’re going to look at the music of language, and a few rules to learn to sound like a natural. We’re also going to look at a few phrasal verbs.
Music of English
- Intonation – This is the up and down of the voice:
- Stress – The accented syllables in individual words:
barometer – uneventful – weather – Japan
- Rhythm – the stressed syllables over a group of words:
What do you mean you can’t come?
Next time you listen to spoken English, listen for these three elements.
Phrasal verbs are made of a verb and a particle (normally a preposition). Phrasal verbs sometimes have a literal meaning, and sometimes an idiomatic meaning:
I looked up and saw the helicopter.
I looked it up on Wikipedia.
Here are a few phrasal verbs and their literal and idiomatic meanings:
pick up = take / learn a skill
put down = put on a surface / euthanise an animal
hold on = grip / wait
put up = raise / let someone stay with you
sort out = categorise things / solve a problem
take off = remove clothing / start to be popular
stand up = get up from a chair / defend someone