If you have problems in understanding what people say in your listening, either in face-to-face conversations or when listening to recorded material, why not try using word stresses to help you.
The reasons for using stressed words are that there is only one stress per section of meaning, and the stressed words are usually words that have most of the meaning. Also, if you manage to hear the stressed words, you might also catch the words either side of them, which helps you put the message together a bit more easily.
It’s also something you can do alone! Get your favourite DVD and turn the subtitles off. Try to write down the stressed words you hear for a minute or two. Can you make sense of what you wrote down by adding some grammar words (‘to’, ‘in’, ‘on’ and such)? Are any of the words wrong perhaps? Are any of them similar to another word that might make more sense?
Try again with the English subtitles on. How did you do?
Students might also like to have a go at some on online exercises on stress (and schwas) but they’ll usually need to do other exercises, like the one you describe above, to understand what’s being asked of them. http://www.esl-exos.info/pronunciation-exercises/limericks/
PS I see there’s a lot to explore on this site. 🙂
Thank you, Glenys. The next post is going to be on weak forms, schwa and /エ/. I’m sure students here will find your links very useful.
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