Content Knowledge and the Teaching of English Stress, Rhythm and Intonation to Malaysian Learners of English


  • Zuraidah Mohd Don Universiti Teknologi Malaysia & Universiti Malaysia Kelantan


word stress, speech rhythm, intonation, prosody, prosodic features


This paper makes a positive response to the CEFR Companion, which requires learners to speak the target language with appropriate prosodic features defined as stress, rhythm and intonation. When, as in Malaysia, the teaching of English is aligned with the CEFR, teachers are expected to teach prosody to enable their students to progress, despite the serious practical problem that they may not have the necessary content knowledge. The paper aims to provide teachers with the content knowledge, while leaving to teachers the prerogative to decide what and how to teach in their own classrooms. It outlines some basic prosodic concepts and covers what learners have to do when speaking English other than producing acceptable speech sounds. Although teachers who read up on English prosody may develop greater knowledge and increased awareness of prosodic features, just knowing about these things is not enough, and it is also essential to know how to recognize and produce them. In order to enable learners to acquire appropriate prosodic features, teachers require support at the point of need in the classroom, and the discussion includes suggestions how this can be done with modern technology.