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Speaking Clearly

Speaking Clearly

Date: Apr 26 2009

Topic: Pronunciation

Author: nad1a


'When we speak, we need to divide speech up into small 'chunks' to help the listener understand messages. These chunks or thought groups are groups of words which go together to express an idea or thought. In English, we use pauses & low pitch to mark the end of thought groups.'
Source:  “Speaking Clearly” by Rogerson  & Gilbert

When speaking or reading, a sentence is supposed to be broken into shorter pieces, separated by pauses between them. It’s not natural to pause somewhere in the middle of a thought group, a group of words which carries a single idea. It’s not natural to try and say a whole sentence in one breath, either. We do that in order to organize our thoughts and help our listeners easily follow what we’re saying.


English learners need help to develop this skill when they study pronunciation.

We have these thought groups here:
English learners need help (which could be broken into ‘english learners/ need help’ if, for example, you need to speak slowly for some reason)
to develop this skill
when they study pronunciation

So when we read the sentence above, we should make short pauses between those groups of words, if we want to sound more natural.

One way to learn this is through listening materials. Reading the transcript while listening, pay attention to the way the speakers pause between single thought groups.  You can play it back and try to imitate what they’re saying, focusing on the groups of words that are pronounced in the same breath and the places they make a pause.

Video lesson on Thought Groups.

More help on Pronunciation


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thank you so much nad1a :)

02:09 AM Jun 09 2009 |



United Arab Emirates

Yeah you are right . we have to use chunks . but that doen't mean you should speak slowly. It is better to be mid . anyway thank you soo much for this enjoyable lesson^^

07:51 PM May 29 2009 |




Thanks for your lesson, nad1a. Everytime I am in trouble about expressing my thought with proper pronunciation. If its in a daily converations, it maybe OK, but in a business situation, exchanging opinion, information and thought accurately is so important. Thanks nad1a.

02:03 AM May 24 2009 |




my weakness in speaking skill, i need more study about pronunciation, thanks nad1a

07:29 AM May 19 2009 |



Saudi Arabia

How is it goin Nad? I really get improvments form your lessons. Specially, for speaking.  I got some tips that's I hadn't know about it, but know I can know the main keys to speak as a native speakers. thanky for your advices and lessons. 

God bless you.

08:31 AM Apr 29 2009 |




well, yes, matrix.

these are all different aspects of pronunciation.

11:56 PM Apr 26 2009 |


Saudi Arabia

Thank you very much

04:13 PM Apr 26 2009 |

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