Article published by : Sunday Sermons Online on Thursday, October 08, 2015 - Viewed 490 times

Category : Religion

Delivering Your Sermon: The importance of pronunciation



By Professor Louis Colaianni

Your treatment of the smallest and least significant words can add polish to a speech. I their sermons, preachers commonly over-articulate certain small words in an effort to enunciate clearly. Over pronouncing words such as the articles “a” and “the” can sound pedantic and stiff. By pronouncing these words in their “weak forms” you can often achieve a more spontaneous and relaxed delivery.

Here is the rule for the pronunciation of the article “the.” When spoken before a consonant, pronounce as “thuh.” When spoken before a vowel, pronounce as “thee.”

In the sentence below, because the article “the” is followed by a word beginning with a consonant, pronounce it as “thuh.” Pronouncing it as “thee” in this case would sound labored and out of place:

“Would you rather live in the past, the present, or the future?”

In the sentence below, because the article “the” is followed by a word beginning with a vowel, pronounce it as “thee.” This is the normally accepted pronunciation:

“Would you like the orange, the apple or the egg?”

The article “the” may also be pronounced as “thee” for added emphasis in the case of a comparison, as in the sentence below:

“I live in a white house, but not THE White House, in Washington DC.”

The article “a” is always pronounced as “uh,” as in the vowel in the word “up.” To pronounce it with the vowel “ay” as in the word “day” can give the impression that the speaker is uncomfortable, or unfamiliar with the material. In the sentence below pronounce the article “a” as “uh”:

In a book entitled The Robe, by Lloyd Douglas there is a scene in which a disciple of Christ named Justus, is conversing with a man named Marcellus.”

In rare cases, you may pronounce the article “a” with the “ay” vowel, as in “day,” for the purpose of comparison, as in the sentence below:

“I don’t want three pencils, I want A pencil.” In rapid, connected speech, many small words can be pronounced in their reduced forms. The preposition “to” may be pronounced in its weak or strong form depending on context. It is usually best to pronounce “to” in the same way as “two” when it occurs before a word beginning with a vowel, as in the phrases below:

“to honor” “to exist” “to entertain” But when the preposition occurs before a word beginning with a consonant, the speaker has the option of pronouncing it “tuh” with the vowel in “up”: “to go” “to stand” “to pretend”

Another word with weak and strong pronunciation forms is the pronoun “you.” Depending on context it can be pronounced in its strong form “yew” or its weak form “yuh.”

In the sentences below pronounce the pronoun “you” in its strong form “yew”:
“I’m fine, how are you?” “Let us go then, you and I.”

In the sentences below, you have the option to pronounce the pronoun “you” in its strong form “yew” or its weak form “yuh”:

“Would you like to go?” “What do you know?”

As you can see, the pronunciation of small, seemingly insignificant words is a big consideration in creating the right tone for your sermon.

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