Exercise 1-11: Translation CD 1 Track 18
Take the sentence I didn't say he stole the money and translate it into your native language. Write it down below, using whatever letters or characters you use in your language.
Now that you have written your sentence down, try shifting the stress around in your own language by going through the stress patterns 1-7 in Exercise 1-9. Don't try to put on a
particularly American or other accent; just concentrate on stressing a different word in the sentence each time you say it.
For example, if your language is German, Ich habe nicht gesagt da. er das Geld gestohlen hat, you would change the stress to: Ich habe nicht gesagt da. er das Geld gestohlen hat, or Ich habe nicht gesagt da. er das Geld gestohlen hat.
If you translated it into French, you would say, Je n'ai pas dit qu'il a vole l'argent, or Je n' pas dit qu'il a vole l'argent.
In Japanese, many people think that there are no intonation changes, but if you hear someone say, wakkanai, you'll realize that it has similarities to every other language. Watashi wa kare ga okane o nusunda to wa iimasen deshita. Or perhaps, Watashi wa kare ga okane o nusunda to wa ümasen deshita.
No matter how strange it may sound to you, stress each different word several times in your language. You may notice that with some words it sounds perfectly normal, but with other words it sounds very strange. Or you may find that in your language, rather than stressing a word, you prefer to change the word order or substitute another word. Whatever you do is fine, as long as you realize where your language patterns are similar to and different from the American English intonation patterns. Then, when you do it again, in English, it will be much easier.
Note An excellent exercise is to practice speaking your native language with an American accent. If you can sound like an American speaking your native language, imagine how easy it would be to speak English with an American accent.
X Pause the CD and practice shifting the stressed words in your native language.
Below are two sentences—the first is stressed on the most common, everyday word, book. Nine times out of ten, people will stress the sentence in this way. The second sentence has a less common, but perfectly acceptable intonation, since we are making a distinction between two possible locations.
Normal intonation Where's the book? It's on the table.
Changed intonation Is the book on the table or under it? It's on the table.
X Pause the CD and repeat the sentences.