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English Speaking – Grammar, Pronunciation, And Magical Changes in Words

English Speaking – Grammar, Pronunciation, And Magical Changes in Words


Once my genius linguist and priest pointed out that “grammar is in the pronunciation,” I starting seeing so, so many instances of this.

Some of my favorites are suffixes and prefixes.  Those are the little syllables that we put on the end of the word to change the word perhaps from a verb to a noun, or a verb to an adjective, or one kind of verb into another kind of verb.  A suffix is a syllable we put at the end of a word.  A prefix is a syllable we put at the beginning of a word.

Examples of suffixes:

“Paint” is a verb; “painter” is a noun.

“Judge” is a verb; “judgment” is a noun.

Put “-ly” at the end of a word, and it is now an adverb.  Love to lovely. High to highly.

Examples of prefixes which also change the meaning of the word:

“model” to “remodel”

“cycle” to “bicycle” to “tricycle”

Here is a take-home message:  If you slur through the pronunciation of prefixes and suffixes, you have slurred through other people understanding your word and the information you are giving them.

If you swallow or leave out prefixes and suffixes,  the listener simply does not get the meaning.

Bonus for you.  If you speak prefixes and suffixes accurately, you will also hear more readily when other people say them.

It is very important to hear spoken communication accurately.  It is a compliment when someone says “You are mature.”   It is NOT a compliment when someone says  “You are immature.”    For you to hear the word “immature” accurately, the talker has to emphasize the “im-” – the prefix—so that you hear it.

Yes, yes. You certainly want to hear the prefix of this word, “im-.”  If you are acting “immature,” you probably want to change your behavior to “mature.”  That’s a sign of character.

So, pronounce prefixes and suffixes clearly. And listen for them!

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Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Rerun from 05/10/2017, 04/09/14

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