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Everyday English 1
Everyday English 1

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Speed

Do you ever wish people would slow down so that you can work out what they’re saying? Some TV presenters seem to speak very quickly. Can you pick out everything they say? On the other hand, some people speak so slowly you wish you could wind them up!

It helps to think about how quickly you speak. When you’re nervous you may tend to speak too fast. You need to take a few slow breaths and remember to breathe while speaking. Have you ever run out of breath mid-sentence?

Varying the speed can make what you’re saying sound more interesting. Slowing down can make something sound more serious. Speeding up can make something sound more exciting. You can also add pauses for effect.

Activity 7 Fast talking

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Listen to the two short audios below. What is the difference between the two?

Download this audio clip.Audio player: 03_aud_speed_a_quickly_master.mp3
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Download this audio clip.Audio player: 04_aud_speed_b_normal_pace_master.mp3
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Discussion

In the first, it’s hard to understand what the person is saying as he talks too fast. He does not pause at all between sentences so they run into each other, making it difficult to understand.

The second audio is easier to understand as the person speaks more slowly and uses short pauses between sentences.

Activity 8 Practising speaking

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Have a go at recording yourself speaking in different ways. Most people don’t like the sound of their own voice, but it can help to hear what you sound like when you talk at different speeds and volume. You could try answering the question, ‘Why are you doing this course?’ in various ways – slowly, quickly, loudly, quietly, clearly and not clearly. Just have a play!

You can try doing this on your phone or you can use the built-in voice recorder below, although this does not work on mobiles or in Safari on Macs or some other browsers. Recordings saved in the voice recorder are completely private.

You can record your response here, but this facility requires a free OU account. Sign in or register.
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