Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Do you feel like you don’t have any rhythm in your voice when you speak English?

Today we give you two key steps for better rhythm when you connect with people in English.

Today let’s start with a great question from a listener.

Dear Lindsay, Michelle and Jessica,

It’s Lillian again, I very much appreciate that you always answer my questions and give me valuable suggestions.  You are not just a host but a professor on my language journey.

Yesterday, I had a trial lesson with italiki teacher, after discussing my needs, he told me that I shoud learn “musical English”.  At that time, I didn’t ask him what the meaning is of “musical English”, I suppose it’s about “rhythm”, I know my pronunciation lacks of rhythm, therefore it sounds weired to a native spearker.  Listen back to a audio of my daugher’s native English teacher, I found his voice is musical and rhythmical.  My question: What’s the best method for adults to learn musical and rhythmical English?  I believe a musical English is a plus to make good connection with native speakers.

**Please don’t suggest me to try “Tongue Twister” (A big black bug bit a big black bear…. > <)

Thanks again for your hard work and amazing podcast.



This is a great question!

Why do you want to speak with rhythm in English?

It helps the other person relax in your presence and it helps natives to understand you better.

If natives can understand you better then you can build those connections that you want.


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How can you add rhythm to your voice?

Step 1: Make explicit the rules of sentence stress. There are two issues. One is the rhythm. The other is the music. What are the stress rules? We stress what matters in a sentence. It depends on what you’re trying to emphasize and draw attention to. The words that carry the most information are longer and louder than the other words. Listen to the episode for a quick example with this sentence:

I drove to school.”

“I drove to school.”

“I drove to school.”


We tend to stress the verbs, the nouns, maybe the adjectives. We recommend that you go through this activity and practice these yourself.

This creates a rhythm and makes your sentence interesting and shows what you care about in the sentence.


Step 2: Move into the music of English.

This is intonation and this varies accent to accent, even within the US. We think that the New Orleans accent is “sing-songy” because of the French influence.


What can we do?

If you want to sound more musical when you speak you can choose an accent that you find intriguing, listen to it and mimic the accent.

If you want to access a variety of southern accents in the US all in one place you can get into our course because we traveled all over the south and interviewed different southerners.


What questions do you have today?

Let us know in the comments below.


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