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RHYTHM refers to the fact that some words tend to be separated from each

other by equal intervals of time, a tendency that also occurs in polysyllabic

words. As a result, the rhythmic beats are isochronous. However, its more
agreeable to say that English only shows a tendency towards isochrony
because speakers do not usually speak rhythmically.
Native English speakers speak rhythmically when making predictable pauses,
such as to mark grammatical units, to breathe, to give presentations or to read
They speak arhythmically when making unpredictable pauses such as
hesitations, false starts or interruptions in daily speech.
According to Pike, an American Linguist, languages may have either a stresstimed rhythm or a syllable-timed rhythm.
English Stress-timed Rhythm
English has a stress-timed
rhythm because the accented
syllables tend to be separated
from each other by regular
intervals of time.

Content words tend to be
The number of stressed
syllables in an utterance can
be reduced as tempo quickens.

Spanish Syllable-timed Rhythm

Spanish has a syllable-timed
rhythm since its its accented
and unaccented syllables
wh9ich tend to occur at more
or less regular intervals of
time. As a result of this, the
language sounds like a gun
Spanish vowel weakening in
terms of quantity and quality is
very slight compared to

Teaching problems with Rhythm

Its important for Spanish speakers to practice English rhythm due to the
weaking, its important not to sound like a gun machine. Teachers can teach
and make Spanish speakers practice English rhythm by:

Teaching how to recognize the features of connected speech, which are

the nucleus of speaking rhytmichally. These features are: assimilation,
elision and linking.
Teachers can make students repeat an utterance with different rhythmic
Tacehers can give them drills.
Teachers have to make them read aloud a lot.
Teachers can include movement such as tapping or clapping to the
rhythm of each utterance.
The foot

Some writers have developed theories of English Rhythm in which a unit of

rhythm, the foot, is used; the foot begins in a stressed syllable and includes all
the following unstressed syllables up to the next stressed syllable.
Stress is the combination effects of pitch, loudness, quality and length which
result in prominence. English has free stress meaning that the place of stress is
variable, and the rules for the placement of stress have to be learned in order
to know which syllables to stress.
Some words change their stress pattern in connected speech, the position of
the stress is shifted when the word is followed in a phrase by a more strongly
stressed word. Ex: middle-aged shiftes to middle-aged spread.