English 518 – Fall 2005 Activity Assignment #1 Ghinwa Alameen Jump and Walk Level Any Aims Raise awareness of unstressed and stressed syllables through physical memory Following the activity ‘Stress Stretch’ on suprasegmental features (Bailey and Savage, 1994: 252-253), this activity will reinforce the learners’ perception of unstressed syllables, reviewing, at the same time, the skills they have learned with the previous one. Many learners who have become aware of stressed syllables still have a problem with the unstressed ones, pronouncing them with a strong vowel (especially when they contain vowel letters such as o, u, ou, ia, etc.). The short and quick jumps of this exercise will remind the learners of how short their weak syllables should be no matter what letter they may contain. Class Time 15 minutes Procedure Preparation Time 10 minutes Resources Small cards 1. Prepare another list of polysyllabic words appropriate to the learners’ level. 2. Write each of these words on a card underlining the stressed syllables to show both the stressed and the unstressed syllables. For example: Forgive dramatic information prominent 3. Explain to the students that unstressed syllables should be short, weak and lower in pitch than unstressed syllables. Illustrate that no matter what letters may be in the unstressed syllable, it will most of the times be pronounced as a weak /I/ or /∂/. 4. Demonstrate the difference between stressed and unstressed vowels by pronouncing some words of your list, exaggerating the stressed syllables and making the unstressed ones very short. 5. Ask a group of students to stand in an unfurnished corner of the room. Then, model the ‘Jump and Walk’ activity to them. Read a word from your cards jumping for each unstressed syllable and walking for the stressed ones. 6. The student who makes the wrong move goes out and reads the following word to the rest of the students. S/he may exaggerate the stressed syllable as much as s/he wants. Caveats and Options 1. When the activity is over, practice the words again with the students showing them the real strength, pitch and length of the syllables without exaggeration. 2. If you do not have enough free space in the room, you can still perform a similar chalk-and-board activity. Ask a few students to draw a straight line for unstressed vowels and circular line for stressed one following the same described procedure. 3. Implement this activity with phrases and short sentences. It can be usefully used to demonstrate weak forms in connected speech.