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2.5.4. 缓急(Pace)


In natural speech, syllables that are emphasized tend to be spoken more slowly. They are often associated with changes in pitch, different tones, and the elongation of long vowels and diphthongs.


In contrast, some syllables are pronounced more weakly. They are frequently very soft and quick, and if not done correctly, may have many variations in pronunciation.


Let's still use this sentence as an example:

Community service is an important component of education here at our uni·ver·sity. We encourage all students to volunteer for at least one community activity before they graduate.

请仔细注意这一串音节:here at our uni·ver·sity... 它们原本应该被读作 ˈhiə æt ɑʊə ˌjunəˈvəː(r)səti…… 可你听到的是什么呢?ˈ/hiə·(æ)t̬ɑ(ʊə)ˌjunə·ˈvəː(r)sət̬i/(括号里的音素省略到几乎听不清)……

Pay close attention to this string of syllables: here at our uni·ver·sity... They're supposed to be pronounced as ˈhiə æt ɑʊə ˌjunəˈvəːsəti, but what do you hear instead? ˈ/hiə·(æ)t̬ɑ(ʊə)ˌjunə·ˈvəː(r)sət̬i/ (with vowel sounds in parentheses being nearly omitted)...

  • at 被轻读成 ət,而其中的 ə 又几乎被省略掉了;
  • at is de-emphasized to ət with the ə almost left out;
  • our 原本单独朗读的话,应该是 ɑʊə,却只变成了 ɑ;又由于这是美式发音(毕竟是 TOEFL 听力考试题),好像是多了个 r,所以是 ɑr
  • our, when pronounced alone, should be ɑʊə, but is reduced to ɑ or ɑr due to American pronunciation adding an r;
  • at 中的 t,由于前后被两个元音夹着,所以变成了和 d 非常接近的
  • The t in at, sandwiched between two vowels, is pronounced similarly to d, becoming ;
  • 为了把 university 中的长元音重读音节 vəː 读清楚,与前一个音节 junə 之间有个细微的停顿,而 vəː 读成了平调……
  • To emphasize the stressed syllable vəː in university, there's a slight pause between it and the preceding syllable junə, and vəː is pronounced with a flat tone.

关键在于,好听的语音是有节奏感的。该朗读者把 ˈ/hiə·(æ)t̬ɑ(ʊə)ˌjunə 放进了同一个节拍里,然后,下一个节拍从重音 ˈvəː 开始:ˈ/hiə·(æ)t̬ɑ(ʊə)ˌjunə | ˈvəː(r)sət̬i/……

The key point is that attractive speech has pace. The speaker put ˈ/hiə·(æ)t̬ɑ(ʊə)ˌjunə into one beat, then started the next beat with the stressed syllable ˈvəː: ˈ/hiə·(æ)t̬ɑ(ʊə)ˌjunə | ˈvəː(r)sət̬i/...

日常生活中,绝大多数人讲话并不会刻意在乎节奏,也常常感觉并无必要。但,总有一些人是训练有素的,比如,他们需要朗读、录音、演讲,甚至表演…… 于是,他们会有意无意地控制节奏

In everyday life, most people don't consciously pay attention to pace when speaking, nor do they feel the need to. But some people have trained to precisely control their pace when reading aloud, recording, giving speeches, or performing.

这也是为什么绝大多数人在模仿外语录音的时候总是感觉心有余力不足的原因,首先因为他们忽视了节奏这个格外重要的因素。另外,他们忘了被模仿的语音,是训练有素且相当专业的声音,那甚至是质量极高难度极大的表演 —— 这更是提高了普通人模仿的难度。

This is why most people find it challenging to imitate foreign language recordings accurately. First, they overlook the essential factor of pace. Plus, they forget that the speech they're trying to mimic is a professionally trained and high-quality performance, which raises the difficulty level of imitation.

然而,说话的节奏,本质上来看,毕竟没多复杂,只不过是由长短和适当停顿构成的…… 再加上高低起伏轻重构成的韵律,就更好听了。

However, the rhythm of speech isn't overly complex. It's essentially determined by the length of sounds and appropriate stops or pauses... Add in the prosody created by variations in pitch and stress, and the speech becomes even more pleasant to the ear.