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
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
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.