Ups and Downs

English doesn’t have a reputation as a musical language. Italian, Swedish, and Mandarin Chinese seem to “sing” in a way that English doesn’t, but the English language has its own unique rhythm and cadence.

If you’ve been living in the United States for a while, you’ve probably noticed that Americans use their voices a little differently from what you’re used to in your own language. Our voices get higher, lower, louder, or softer depending on our meaning—and depending on particular patterns of pronunciation. We linger over particular sounds and words to emphasize what’s important, and we speed right past what isn’t. Although we believe in equal time when it comes to presidential debates, we don’t give equal time to every syllable in a word or to every word in a sentence.  Read More...