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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:03 pm 
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My DS is not yet very good at feeling the stressed/unstressed syllables in poetry; he can’t really write any iambic pentameter or any anapaest at the moment (it’s not an easy task, I know :( ).
I would like him to develop this ability.... But I do not know in which direction I should search to help him.
I feel listening to some good poetry well read with the text provided with the CD would be a good solution but I don’t know which CDs would be the best for that particular aim (some Shakespeare's sonnets are recorded with music in the background and I fear that music could come in the way of hearing well the stress on words. Am I wrong?).
Would anyone have any advice in this matter please? :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:06 pm 
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How about listening to Poetry Please on a Sunday afternoon (though it's probably on at other times and on Iplayer)? It's interesting because it gives context to the poems and the poets and you hear lots of poems being read really well by some fantastic actors (Juliet Stephenson was on last night, for example, reading a gorgeous, angry, heartfelt poem about love and death!). It helps you understand poetry as well as hear and feel the effects of it.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:16 pm 
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My experience is not with poetry but just with teaching English. Some people find it MUCH easier to hear stress than others but a little practice can make a HUGE difference so and I would simply start with natural spoken language.

For example, point out that we have stress and rhythm all the time otherwise we would sound like a robot..eg for the word 'lemons' we say LE/m*ns not LE / MONS (* = schwa sound, the 'uh' sound that replaces the vowel in unstressed syllables)

For 'garden' we say GAR / d*n not GAR / DEN

Practise, with 2 syllable words and then move onto longer words. Some words have a primary and a secondary stress.
You really can develop you 'ear' doing this and then you could move onto the poetry.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:26 pm 
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For what purpose would you like him to develop the ability to write iambic pentameter?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:15 pm 
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I would like to help but unfortuantely I had to google both iambic pentameter and anapaest.

Feeling decidedly more prepared for University Challenge tonight though.

Have you spoken to your DS's English teacher? He / She may be able to offer you some good advice? :D


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:58 pm 
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:D And why not, Amber? Just for its own sake.

Jane Eyre, when you find out, please let us all know.

Does he sing? I'm thinking that singing words that fit very well to music might help with the rhythmic aspect of this - traditional English songs perhaps?

I'm struggling to tidy up.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:30 am 
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Hello JaneEyre

What I will suggest is practice with them. It is not easy to always hear the stress/unstress but try getting him to say I AM , I AM, five times putting the stress each time on the 'am' (btw, that is not what iambic means, it is just a memorable way to get him to remember :wink: ). It might help to do this in pairs of lines with the first set of 5 'I ams' rising in tone and the second set going down again. Difficult to explain but it helps to have a pattern that he can hear so that he can then transfer that to any iambic lines he hears. Don't worry too much about the stress as it usually falls in the second syllable (but that is not always the rule and it might be changed for effect in an actual poem when they start a line with a stress syllable followed by a pause e.g. 'Lo!').

Practicing  them is the best way and it helps to concentrate on the rhythm. This understanding of the rhythm structure will make it easier for him to write it too and it might be 'fun' for you to try to speak to each other in iambic pent. as an exercise to see if you can fit questions and answers into 10 syllable lines. However, in terms of appreciating the meaning, he doesn't need to say it in any particular way other than with the natural expression of it's meaning.

I like FB's suggestion about the radio too :D

UmSusu

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:30 am 
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There is also a good warm-up exercise where you could together sing bic bic bic bic bic in various rhythms up and down the scale. This could help too. You could vary this between major and minor for added effect.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:52 am 
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Dear all,

thank you so much for your answers! :D :D

Alas :( , Umsusu and Drummer, I am totally unable to speak English properly with the right stress at the right place! I am a hopeless case, I am afraid! :cry: :cry: Usually, as soon as I open my mouth, after two or three sentences (if not just one!), people can guess my background. :oops: I don’t mind too much, though I would certainly have preferred to be able to speak English properly. :cry: I have at least the pleasure of finding English a very beautiful music to my ears, as we do not have such pattern of rhythm in French. :D :D

My incapability to speak properly English is certainly a reason why my DS has not his ears trained to hear the stressed and unstressed syllables yet as he hear too much of me speaking. :roll: Even his accent is not a proper English one, though he has been living in England since he is one!!! :evil: That do bother me! He doesn’t have the heavy French accent I have though, just an ‘anonymous’/’stateless’accent. :cry:

Having said that, I am sure he can slowly develop more or less his ability to hear the stress if he is provided with the right material.

Thanks fatbananas for your idea, it is really a great one! :D :D

Belinda, this forum is my little ‘bottle of oxygen’ to which I turn in case of need or to help others. I wouldn’t bother my DS’ English teacher with this type of questions. :oops: She did tell her year 7 class it is very hard to write iambic pentameters and that she doesn’t expect her pupils to manage to write a sonnet following all the rules. Some children might manage to write a few correct lines but I imagine that many won’t be able to do so (of course, my DS is in the latter category. At the moment, he can just think in terms of rhymes and correct number of feet in his lines).

Mystery, so far, my DS just enjoyed listening to sonnet 130 read by Alan Rickman but I would have preferred it with the text and no pictures of the actor. It is beautifully read though!

I have found a nice website with Shakespeare sonnets and some comments/explanation on them. Here is the website:
http://www.shakespeares-sonnets.com/sonnet/index.php
But they are not read.

At last, this morning, I found more what I am looking for (instead of buying a £22 DVD with Shakespeare sonnets). I can’t understand why it didn’t come up yesterday during my research on you tube:
Look for Shakespeare's Sonnets (1 of 2) on you tube (if it doesn’t come up, the end of the address after the usual beginning is watch?v=l3ElOceQUJ4
The sonnets are read and there are subtitles. (maybe these sonnets could be read even in a slower way and more beautiful one (with more stress?), but it is a good start).

l like the video with David Tennant reading the sonnets but no subtitles are there and again with pictures of the actor.

Now, on a lighter note, my DS had a good laugh with David Tennant (who does read some sonnets in the DVD susmentioned) when it did a sketch with Catherine Tate for comic relief (sonnet 130 is told there at full speed!). Look for comic relief, David tenant and Catherine Tate. Very funny!

If anyone has any more ideas and suggestion, I am all ears... or all eyes I should say! :wink:
Thanks again :D


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:28 pm 
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
You almost need to go back to some very simple poetry with catchy 6/8 tunes for this, as it makes it much easier to hear the stresses - nursery rhymes for example:

HUMP -ty DUMP-ty SAT on a WALL ...

GIRLS and BOYS come OUT to PLAY..

HALF a POUND of TUPP-en-ny RICE

I guess if you have a French rather than English background these may not be familiar, but this kind of lilting triple-time rhythm is quite akin to iambic metre..

I WAN -dered LONE-ly AS a CLOUD...

Not the commonest tempo for pop/rock - a few classics fit though such as:

there IS a HOUSE in NEW or-LEANS, they CALL the RIS-ing SUN..

Play him a few of these, leaning heavily on the stressed notes - hopefully this will help

(I'm currently doing an OU Music course which has an element of songwriting where you have to be very aware of the stresses of poetry ..)


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