You are on page 1of 3

llable - timed Rhythm

By now you must have guessed that in syllable-timed rhythm there is a regular time
interval between each syllable ,Languages such as Hindi , are syllable - timed . That means that an
equal time interval is observed between two syllables. Now , you know why Indians speak English in
a different way ? They unknowingly make use of syllable timed rhythm while speaking English ,
uttering all syllables whether stressed or unstressed at equal interval of time.

Syllable-Timed Rhythm

Listen to the recitation of Hindi/Urdu poem ,Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna[Tamanna] . Note how each
syllable is pronounced clearly , with equal stress, there is no skipping of words in between.
An interesting Hindi rendition is provided in this link to the famous nursery rhyme BaBa Black Sheep

Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) -2

Identify at least five languages each , for stress - timed rhythm and syllable - timed rhythm
Stress timed Rhythm
1. ______________
2. ______________
3. ______________
4. ______________
5. ______________

Syllable timed Rhythm

1. ______________
2. ______________
3. ______________
4. ______________
5. ______________

In order to master the English rhythm it is very essential for us to know which words are stressed
and which words are not stressed . In the next section we will know about these words.

Content Words

You must have noticed that while listening to English songs or dialogues in English , you are able to
pick up only those words which sound prominent as compared to others . These words are generally
, Nouns
such as paper , dictionary...
such as loud , beautiful...
such as hurriedly,slowly...
such as some , that...
Action Words/ Main Verbs
such as go , sing , listen ...
These words which are pronounced strongly in connected speech , are called Content or Lexical


Look at these sentences :

1. Lets have bread and butter for breakfast .

2. I am going to the market'.
3. 'Neha and Shagufta are 'good friends.
Did you notice that only the content or lexical words which are essential for meaning
making are stressed in these sentences ?

Words with varying number of Syllables

In the examples cited above , you must have noticed that these content words have one /two or
more than two syllables. If you wish to be able to speak and comprehend good English
conversations you should know which syllable in the word is to be stressed , otherwise you may be
misunderstood . For ,whether it is a mono-syllabic ,di- syllabic , tri- syllabic or a poly - syllabic
content word , 'only one' syllable is stressed .