How to use connected speech, and punctuation breaks to improve English

Contents

Many people are worried that they cannot understand English or that they cannot understand the meaning even if they can hear it. The key to solving such problems is to understand the "English speaking break", that is, the timing of breathing. You may feel "speaking?" Even though you are listening, but if you know the speaking breaks, you will be able to understand the listening breaks and the meaning will be easier to understand.

In this article, we will clarify the reasons why you cannot understand English even if you can hear it, and explain how you can understand the meaning of English.

Causes of not being able to understand even if you can hear English

Listening is one of the difficulties in learning English. Have you learned English to some extent, but can't understand the meaning? First, let's look at the causes that cannot be heard or that the meaning cannot be understood even if they are heard.

Lack of vocabulary and grammar understanding

Basically, if you lack vocabulary, you will not be able to understand even if you can hear English words. Others may focus on thinking about the meaning of a word they don't know and neglect their listening. Of course, it is important to know the meaning of each word, but it is not enough to understand the meaning of the whole sentence. This is because English phrasal verbs and idioms are often used.

Phrasal verbs are verbs with adverbs and prepositions that have a special meaning, such as get up and put on. In other words, just knowing the meaning of get or put can lead to misunderstandings or the meaning of the whole sentence.

Idioms are also representatives of two or more words that combine to represent different meanings, such as a piece of cake (easy to do) and to hit the books (study seriously). Idioms can also be difficult to understand if they translate words one by one.

If you lack knowledge of grammatical understanding including phrase verbs and idioms and sentence structure, you will not be able to understand the meaning of the whole sentence even if you can hear it.

I'm too focused on listening

Sometimes you are too focused on listening to each word and not understanding the whole sentence. If you are not used to it, you will try to hear every word, but in English it is difficult to hear every word because the sounds connect and disappear.

The important thing is to supplement the parts that you couldn't hear with your own grammatical knowledge. If you can do this unknowingly, it will be easier to understand the meaning at once. In order to unknowingly supplement with grammatical knowledge, it is essential to build knowledge and input a large amount.

Can't keep up with speed

As English is heard one after another, the fact that the speed of processing English cannot keep up with the voice also causes the meaning to be incomprehensible. This is one of the problems that everyone faces when learning English.

The reason I can't keep up with speed is that I have a habit of translating English sentences from behind. If you translate the English that you hear one after another from the back of the sentence, it is a natural result that the processing speed cannot keep up. It may be a little difficult at first, but you will need to have a habit of understanding English from the beginning.

Effective solution [slash reading]

If you can hear English but cannot understand it, "slash reading" is effective in understanding and training English speaking and reading breaks. Slash reading is so called because English sentences are separated by a slash "/" to form a "group of meanings" for practicing speaking and reading.

"If you know the delimiter of speaking, it will be easier to understand the meaning in listening", but you can understand the delimiter by doing slash reading. Furthermore, reading aloud English sentences separated by slashes is very effective because it makes it easier to remember words and understand grammar. First, let me show you one sentence with a slash.

Ken had never met his Canadian cousins before they visited him last summer.
(Ken had never met / his Canadian cousins until last summer when his Canadian cousin visited.)

Ken had never met his Canadian cousins / before they visited him / last summer.
Ken never met / to his Canadian cousin / before they visited Ken / last summer

If you follow the meaning from the beginning of the sentence for each "group" separated by slashes as described above, it is unnatural for Japanese, but you can understand the meaning of the whole sentence.

Effect of slash reading

As already shown, in slash reading, words are not separated one by one, but are separated by "a group of meanings", so there is a habit of understanding the meaning from the beginning of the sentence, and the processing speed of English becomes faster.

In other words, it starts with "who (subject), what to do (verb)", and then processes where, when, who, and for what, so that you can understand efficiently. is. Also, if the processing speed becomes faster, not only reading and listening but also all four skills will improve, so you can improve your English proficiency.

Position separated by slash reading

I will understand the meaning from the beginning of the sentence by separating the English sentence with a slash, but some people may say, "I don't know the break."

When separating English sentences with slashes, there is no rule that "must be separated here". However, since it is necessary to separate by "a group of meanings", I will show you a guideline for the position to separate.

End of basic sentence pattern

Until you get used to it, separate it by the elements of the sentence: subject (S: Subject), verb (V: Verb), object (O: Object), and complement (C: Complement). And once you get used to it, you will put together the basic sentence patterns.

In short, reduce slashes and increase "cohesion". Because the basic sentence pattern makes sense for the whole sentence. If the sentence pattern is set to "group", it will be a natural utterance even when speaking, and it will be easier to understand the meaning of listening.

For the first sentence pattern "SV":

I live in Tokyo.

I live in Tokyo.

I is S, live is V, and in Tokyo is a modifier (M: Modifier), so make up to M a "meaning unit" without inserting a slash.

For the second sentence pattern "SVC":

Hello, this is Mr. Peter William / from XXX company.
Hello, this is Peter William / XXX company.

In the case of the third sentence pattern "SVO":

I bought a new bike / last week.

I bought a new bike / last week.

In the case of the 4th sentence pattern "SVOO":

He gave his mother some flowers / for her birthday.

He gave his mother some flowers / for her birthday.

In the case of the 5th sentence pattern "SVOC":

Toothache kept me awake / the whole night.

Toothache kept me awake / the whole night.

Toothache kept me awake / the whole night.

Before prepositions, gerunds, past participles, to infinitives

It is also possible to separate before prepositions, gerunds, past participles, and to infinitives.

Prepositions include on, in, and at, which are placed before nouns to supplement their meaning. A gerund is a nounized version of a verb in the form of "verb + ing".

The past participle is one of the changes in the verb, and the basic form is "verb + ed", but it changes irregularly like "eat (present tense) – ate (past tense) – eaten (past participle form)". Is also included. The to infinitive is represented by "to + the original form of the verb", which makes it work as another part of speech such as adjectives and adverbs.

Let's look at each example.

For prepositions:

The restaurant on the corner will reopen / on the 25th of January.

The restaurant on the corner will reopen / on January 25.

It is possible to separate the restaurant and 25th with a slash, but if you divide it too finely, it will be unnatural English, so in the end it will be a "group of meanings" as described above.

For gerunds:

My grandmother talked with the young man / sitting next to her.

My grandmother talked with the young man / sitting next to her.

After the slash, we explain what kind of young man (the young man = noun) is.

For past participles:

I read a book called “The Da Vinci Code” / written by Dan Brown.

I read a book called “The Da Vinci Code” / written by Dan Brown.

called is also a past participle, but if you divide it here, it will be too detailed, so it is more natural to separate it before written.

to infinitive:

They are looking for a person / to speak Spanish fluently.

They are looking for a person / to speak Spanish fluently.

After the slash, it explains what kind of person (a person = noun) it is.

Before conjunctions, subordinating pronouns, and interrogative words

Next, let's look at examples of conjunctions, relative pronouns (including relational adverbs), and interrogative words.

Conjunctions connect elements such as words, phrases, clauses, and sentences, and have the role of comparing preambles and postscripts and adding explanations. In addition to words such as and (and), because (because), but (but), it also includes phrases such as even though (despite) and on the other hand (on the one hand) that act as conjunctions. It will be.

Relative pronouns and adverbs are used to elaborate on the nouns shown immediately before, such as who, which, and that. There are seven interrogative words, also known as "5W1H", when, where, who, what, why, how plus which.

Let's look at each example.

For conjunctions:

Please come and see me / whenever it is convenient for you.

After the slash, we add an explanation about the "time" when we come to see you.

For relative pronouns (including relative adverbs):

He is the boy / who wants to study oversea next year.

He is the boy / who wants to study oversea next year.

After the slash, there is an explanation about the boy (noun).

For interrogative words:

I would like to know / where she has gone.

I would like to know / where she went.

After the comma

After the comma "," or the colon ":", it is easy to separate them into "meaning groups".

Sakoku, / closed the country for much of the Edo period, / was the policy of the Japanese Tokugawa shogunate.

Up to the second comma (period) is S.

After a long subject

The S in the comma example sentence is also long, but if S is long like this, separate it after S.

The woman / who is looking at her smartphone / in front of the bus stop / may be my classmate / when we were students.

S is up to stop, but since it is long, it will be easier to practice if you separate it with a slash before the relative pronoun who and before the preposition in.

Slash reading tips

Finally, here are some tips for effective slash reading. Please try to reference.

Don't be too particular about the position of the slash

The English text is separated by slashes to make it easier to understand the meaning . And there is no rule on where to put the slash. So if it's a "cohesion of meaning", you don't have to stick to the position of the slash.

Don't break it too fine with a slash

Even if there is no rule on the position to separate with a slash, it is basically NG to divide it into small pieces like one or two words. The reason is that if you divide it too finely, it will be meaningless and unnatural English. Let's keep in mind that it is a practice to understand from the beginning of the sentence with "a unity of meaning" .

Reduce slashes little by little

As already mentioned, it is important to gradually reduce the slashes to make them larger as you get used to them. The larger the cohesiveness, the faster you will understand the meaning and the more useful it will be for listening. Of course, there is also the aim of getting closer to natural English.

Read aloud

To hear and understand the meaning, not only read the English sentences separated by slashes silently, but also read them aloud in chunks. This is because if you apply slash reading to reading aloud, the rhythm peculiar to English will help you improve your speaking ability .

Also , if you acquire the rhythm, it will be easier to hear . As a matter of course, you will get used to the word order of English, so you will be able to learn words and expressions and improve your linguistic performance . Reading aloud is a standard homework for children, but reading aloud accumulates information in the brain through the ears. Read aloud many times to deepen your understanding.