Keep to the Beat – Techniques to improve your English

MarkLaneAccording to Mark Lane, Assistant School Director at LSI London Central, learning English is great fun and it’s all about rhythm.

“For most of our students, one major reason for coming here to study is that they want to improve their speaking. We all have an accent that is not entirely natural when we speak a second language, and many of our students state that they would like to totally lose their own accent. It’s not very easy to do this .However, working on your English pronunciation and intonation can make a big difference to your speaking (and also your listening) skills. ”

“English is a stress-timed language.This means that there is a natural rhythm to the language and that stressed syllables follow a beat (they are said at regular intervals.) Not every syllable in a sentence has the same length or the same importance. The important information is stressed and then the rest fits into the gaps – e.g. Bob is going to France on Wednesday. If you only heard the stressed parts you would still understand the sentence.”

It’s good to practise this by trying to say the following sentences to the same beat. Try reading this out loud. You can clap on the stressed beats too if that helps!

(clap) (clap) (clap) (clap)
One Two Three Four
One and Two and Three and Four
One and then Two and then Three and then Four
One and then it’s Two and then it’s Three and then it’s Four
One and then after it’s Two and then after it’s Three and then after it’s Four

You could create your own different phrases, and see what you end up with, for example:

He likes eating eggs and he likes eating beans and he likes eating chips and he likes eating cheese.

Use your imagination, and don’t forget to keep to the beat!