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Lesson Transcript


Barbara: Good afternoon!
Braden: Braden here. Getting Your English Script Right.
Barbara: In this lesson, you’ll learn about Sound scripting and Summary.
Braden: This conversation takes place in the morning, at a meeting.
Barbara: And it’s between Sarah and Jonathan.
Braden: They are at an official meeting so they are speaking professionally.
Braden: Let’s listen to the conversation.

Lesson conversation

Sarah: Welcome everyone! I apologize the chairman is not present. He had some other business to attend to. Jonathan, could you start?
Jonathan: Sure. I would just like to kick things off with the very good news that, thanks to the hard work of Jennifer and Sarah, we have finished the entire seminar schedule.
Sarah: You were present in all those meetings too, Jonathan.
Jonathan: Yes, I was, but most of the real work was done by Sarah and Jennifer. So, besides the schedule, I'd also like to talk about writing a formal e-mail to our delegates about the seminar.
Sarah: And what would the purpose of this e-mail be? I mean, we've already sent them quite a few e-mails and a few letters.
Jonathan: Exactly! That's exactly how I feel as well. The idea behind this formal e-mail is a type of summary of all of the communication, scheduling, standards of conduct, and goals of the seminar.
Sarah: Like a final confirmation?
Jonathan: Exactly! A summary of everything that's taken place till now in one e-mail. That way, if they have questions, they can return to this singular e-mail instead of searching through and reading the 50 to 100 e-mails we sent them since August.
Sarah: Sounds like a great idea.
Braden: So, we wanted to talk a little bit about Summaries.
Barbara: A summary is a short version of some original source. Usually, these shorter versions focus on the major points of a much longer text, speech, or book.
Braden: When writing an official summary, for example - a book summary, you start the text with the title, then the author, then the type of text, and then the main idea of the text.
Barbara: In general, a summary does not quote directly from the main text. Instead, it will use new language to describe or present similar information.
Braden: They're also such things as “executive summaries.” These are short documents or sections of a document that summarize a longer report or proposal or group of related reports or some other larger body of material typically to just a one-page, concise analysis with main conclusions.
Barbara: These executive summaries are common practice in business and for investing purposes, are an integral part of a business plan.
Braden: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Vocabulary and Phrases
Braden: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
: The first word we shall see is:
Barbara: chairman [natural native speed]
Braden: the head of a committee
Barbara: chairman [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: chairman [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: apologize [natural native speed]
Braden: express regret for something that one has done wrong
Barbara: apologies [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: apologize [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: formal [natural native speed]
Braden: in accordance with rules of etiquette
Barbara: formal [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: formal [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: business [natural native speed]
Braden: work that has to be done or matters that have to be attended to
Barbara: business [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: business [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: quite [natural native speed]
Braden: very; exceptionally; to the utmost, entirely, wholly
Barbara: quite [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: quite [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: summary [natural native speed]
Braden: a brief statement of the main points of something
Barbara: summary [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: summary [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: conduct [natural native speed]
Braden: the manner in which a person behaves
Barbara: conduct [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: conduct [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: communication [natural native speed]
Braden: the imparting or exchanging of information or news
Barbara: communication [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: communication [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: standard [natural native speed]
Braden: acceptable level of quality, normal
Barbara: standard [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: standard [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: goals [natural native speed]
Braden: the object of an individual’s ambition
Barbara: goals [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: goals [natural native speed]
Braden: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Barbara: In the dialogue, we heard phrases that demonstrated Giving Apologies for Someone
Braden: Especially when you are representing another individual or an organization, you’ll often have to apologize on their behalf.
Barbara: For example, Sarah said, “I apologize the chairman is not present.” She, as the meeting leader, was expected to give an explanation for the chairman's absence.
Braden: This is custom and courtesy in American business, especially at meetings. Generally, when a meeting is called, everyone is expected to be present. If someone is unable to be there, they are expected to previously inform the group leader of their absence.
Barbara: Some other phrases for apologizing would be, “I apologize for (insert name here) who is absent.” or, “I'm afraid (insert name here) can't be with us today. They are (insert reason).
Braden: While details are not always necessary, they are customary. In business, only the minimum degree of details need be given. An example reason would be, “They are sick.” or “They are traveling.” Typically you shouldn’t explain where that person has traveled to or what they are sick with, even if you know. Could you give us this phrase one more time?
Barbara: I apologize the chairman is not present (fast)
Braden: Thank you. Next we’ll look at phrases that demonstrate Agreeing. Jonathan, in particular, seemed very excited about his agreement with what was being said.
Barbara: That’s right. Twice he said, “Exactly!” He was very happy he was able to agree.
Braden: I wonder if people don’t agree with him often? Could you break this down?
Barbara: Exactly (slowly)
Braden: And one time fast?
Barbara: Exactly (fast)
Braden: Ok, so let’s take a look at the grammar point.

Lesson focus

Barbara: The focus of this lesson is improving pronunciation using sound scripting
Braden: In the dialogue, we heard the phrase
Barbara: A summary of everything that’s taken place till now in one e-mail.
Braden: English is a timed, stressed language. That means that syllables, words, and sentences do not have fixed lengths.
Barbara: In other words, a short sentence may take a long time to say, and a long sentence may take a short time to say.
Braden: For example, “The beautiful mountain appeared transfixed in the distance.” Eight words.
Barbara: Compared that to, “He can come on Sundays as long as he doesn't have to work the night shift. (16 words)
Braden: For a native English speaker, both of those sentences require about the same amount of time to say, about 4 seconds.
Barbara: This is strange because the first sentence has only eight words and the second is much larger at 16 words.
Braden: This difference is because of stressed and unstressed word rhythms in English.
Barbara: Often English learners complain that certain syllables, sounds, and even words are “swallowed up,” “eaten,” or just completely removed.
Braden: This is because of the timed, stressed nature of English. The result is that while certain words and syllables are stressed, other words and syllables are unstressed. This creates a kind of rhythm of stressed and unstressed.
Barbara: So, what is sound scripting, you ask? Sound scripting is a technique used to identify where stress can occur.
Braden: To “sound script” a sentence, paragraph, or document you mark where stresses will occur in the natural spoken language.
Barbara: For example, "Where are you from?" would highlight the words "where" and "from" because those are the stressed words in the sentence.
Braden: Another example would be, "When I spoke to her in private, she was very kind and quite gentle."
Barbara: The words "spoke," "private," "kind," and "gentle." would be stressed.
Braden: In theory, you could also stress the word "very" depending on the message you want to convey.
Barbara: As you can see, English spends more time on specific stressed words while quickly gliding over the other, less important, words.
Braden: Especially in situations like speeches where you don't have very much feedback from your audience, one of the most effective techniques for making sure that you are understood correctly is identifying the content words you need to stress and therefore pronounce clearly.
Barbara: Also known as, sound scripting. The stressed words tend to be called "content" words while the unstressed words tend to be called "function" words.
Braden: Content words are usually nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. Function words are usually determiners, auxiliary verbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and pronouns.
Barbara: Those aren’t rules. For example, if you are explaining about the relationship between two different nouns is very probable that you will stress the prepositions that explain that relationship.
Braden: For example, “No, I'm not coming from Walmart, I'm going to Walmart.”
Barbara: Let’s review this lesson.
Braden: Sound scripting is the technique of identifying the content words beforehand so that they can be properly stressed in speech.
Barbara: Once your ear becomes accustomed to this “rhythm” of stressing the content words and gliding over the function words you'll find that you can understand and communicate faster, more clearly, and easier.
Braden: And that’s because you're following one of the most fundamental rules of spoken English, the timed stressed nature of pronunciation.


Braden: That just about does it for today.
Barbara: Thanks for being here!
Braden: Thanks for listening!
Barbara: Bye!