A really useful way to help our students with their listening is to help them become aware of ‘thought groups’ – a term from the excellent phonology book for learners ‘Speaking Clearly’ – Rogerson & Gilbert – (CUP). These are sometimes called ‘tone units’ or ‘sense groups’.

Rogerson & Gilbert define ‘thought groups’:

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.

Aim to use low tone and pause to signal the end of a thought group within a sentence. Thought groups are similar to the stress applied to vowels and syllables, but on a higher level. Intelligibility will improve and allow your listeners to process information in a familiar manner.

SOURCE: DevelopingTeachers.com

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