Esoma Online Revision Resources

Listening and Speaking - English Form 3

Welcome to form 3 English interactive series. In this series, we have eighteen topics covering the four skills of English, namely, listening, speaking, reading and writing.

You are expected to navigate through this vital English learning resource and interact with the content. You will find many activities and exercises which will help you grasp the concepts addressed in the CD.

Click the play button to watch the following animation

As you take this exploratory journey through the selected topics in English, it is hoped that you will adventure and learn.Welcome!


Previously, we learnt that stress is the special emphasis, relative force or

loudness given to one syllable or word, thereby, making that syllable or word

more pronounced than others.

Your knowledge of the syllable and parts of speech will be necessary in this lesson.


By the end of the topic, you should be able to:

Use stress and intonation to bring out rhythm and meaning.

Listening and speaking

In this section, poems and narratives are used to teach listening and speaking.

Listening involves input of information while speaking involves output.

Listening is an active process so, a good listener, must make a deliberate

effort to understand what is being said.

Speaking is also a deliberate act that must be well coordinated in

order for effective communication to take place.

click to view a video of a high school principal addressing her students.

Can you identify the good and bad listening habits that the students display.

Does the principal communicate effectively with her students?

Stress and intonation

The words in the following animation vary with regard to the number of syllables they have. The number of syllables in each word is as follows:

well-one syllable, beating-two syllables, organise- three syllables, Japanese, four syllables.

Stress is the application of force on a syllable or word to give it prominence. It may be applied at either word or sentence level. The stressed syllables are articulated or spoken more forcefully than the rest to make them stand out. Correct placement of stress and intonation ensures that speech is easy to understand and reduces ambiguity. Therefore, stress andintonation in the English language are critical to effective communication. Therefore, stress and intonation in the English language are critical to effective communication.

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watch the following animation

You already know that stress is the application of force on a syllable when articulating it to give it more prominence.

Why is stress so important in speech? It is important because it affects the meaning of what is said.

Therefore, proper stress should be placed on the correct word or else the intended meaning will be distorted.

Click on the play button to watch the second animation.

'Boyhood Dreams'

Click the play button to watch a recitation of the poem 'Boyhood Dreams.'

Which are the stressed and the unstressed words in the poem?

You will discover that only the underlined words which are referred to as content words have been stressed while the rest, which are referred to as form words,have not been stressed.

Listen to the same poem being read aloud once more and list down four content words and four form words in the second stanza.


They have thought as young men think,

of love, fame and glory,

they have found as old men find,

life's tales, dark and hoary.

They have hoped as children hope,

To pick life's pleasant gains,

And now they walk with bowed heads,

like drenched men from the rains.

Types of stress

Stress means the relative emphasis given to certain syllables in a word, or to certain words in phrases and sentences.

The stress placed on syllables within words is called word stress or lexical stress; while the stress placed on words within sentences is referred to as sentence stress or prosodic stress.

There are three components of prosody which are: sentence stress, rhythm and intonation.

There are two types of stress. Syllable stress or word stress, which is found within a word and emphatic or sentence stress.

Syllable stress may also be referred to as word stress because it involves making one syllable more prominent than the others in the same word.

Emphatic stress involves giving more prominence to a word than the other words within the same sentence. Hence, it is also called sentence stress.

Syllable stress

As mentioned earlier, syllabic stress is the application of force on the syllables of a word, where the stressed syllable is made to stand out.

The main stress in a word is referred to as primary stress, whereas the weaker stress is referred to as secondary stress.

Thus, the word vacci 'nation denotes primary stress while 'vaccination denotes secondary stress.

Additional information

A syllable is unit of sound made from a single vowel, or single vowel/consonant combination

Note that, syllables do not have more then one vowel sound in them, for example, (pen)

Monosyllable / monosyllabic (words with one syllable)

Disyllable / disyllabic ( words with two syllables), however, often people will refer to a word with three or more syllables as polysyllabic.

Additional information on syllabic stress

Below is an animation of words whose meanings are differentiated by syllabic stress

Try feeling the beat

The best way to determine how many syllables a particular word has: is to sound it out
- or even better clap it out.

Clap along while you try the following words:Monosyllabic: cat, their, bide, she, talk, pounce Disyllabic: doc/tor Mon/day ho/ver fe/llow chick/en Polysyllabic: un/wa/ve/ring/ly, stra/ti/fica/tion ,re/an/i/ma/tions, pri/va/ti/sation

Syllables break up words into stressed or unstressed sections. The stressed syllable, alters the pronunciation of a word.

Try saying the following words aloud while stressing the first syllables: trac/tor Mon/day ho/ver mis/take bu/bble

Now try it again putting the stress on the second syllable. trac/tor Mon/day ho/ver mis/take bu/bble

The first set sounds sound more appealing so, the above words should have their first syllable stressed.

Emphatic stress

This is the placement of stress in different words of a sentence to elicit different meanings.

When we want to convey strong feelings about something, we lay emphasis on the word that will clearly show our feelings.

Read each of the following sentences aloud laying stress on the underlined words

Now listen to the correct pronunciation of the underlined words in the same sentences.
1. I can fly.

2. I can fly.

3. I can fly.

In the first sentence, the emphasis is on the pronoun to show that the 'I' can perform the action which some other people may not.

In the second sentence the focus is on the ability to fly while in the third sentence, the emphasis is on the action-to fly.

Click to play the following video to understand the use of emphatic stress.

After watching the video, list down all the examples of emphatic stress. Are there any functional words that have been stressed in the poem?

When speaking, the words you stress can change the underlying meaning of a sentence.

Consider the following sentence: 'I don't think she should get the certificate.'

The above simple sentence can have many levels of meaning depending on the word you stress.

Consider the meaning of the following sentences. The word which should be stressed is in bold.

Read each sentence aloud and stress the word in bold.

From the fore going, we note that there are many different ways in which this sentence can be understood.
What you should remember is that the meaning of the sentence is also expressed through the stressed word or words.
Below is an exercise to help you develop the art of correct word stress.
Practice reading the sentence below by stressing different words in the sentence.
I said she might consider a new haircut.

Further practice

view the following animation and then read the sentences that follow.


Read the following sentences aloud laying emphasis on the word in bold.

'I asked you to buy me a bunch of red carnations.'

In the above examples, the meaning changes depending on the word which is stressed. Can you explain the meaning of each sentence?

Read the following poems and stress the words in bold

There once was a big brown cat a That liked to eat a lot of mice.

He got all round and fat a Because they tasted so nice.b

Identify the words that should be stressed in the above poem.

Bid me to weep, and I will weep a

While I have eyes to see; b

And having none, and yet I will keep a

A heart to weep for thee. b

Identify the words that should be stressed in the above poem.

Read the following limerick and stress the words in bold.

A limerick is a five line poem.

There was a young lady from Niger,

Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.

After the ride, she was inside,

And the smile on the face of the tiger.

Identify the words that should be stressed in the above poem.


Intonation is associated with pitch.

Pitch refers to how high or low a sound is.

The pitch of one's voice either remains level, rises or falls.

This change in pitch is referred to as intonation.

The same sentence can convey different meanings depending on the intonation used.

Rising intonation

Rising intonation is realised at the end of
the following sentence structures:

(a) A question that needs a yes or no answer, for example,

(i) Is this your laptop?

(ii) Will you go home?

(b) When making requests, for example,

Lend me your pen.

(c) With statements that are intended to be questions, for example,

You are going out now?

(d) When expressing feelings such as excitement and surprise, for example

Ken : I won a lottery.

Maria: Sure!

Falling intonation

Falling intonation is realised in the following circumstances:

(a) Statements expressing finality, for example,

I will not come.

(b) When used in wh- questions. These include where, when, what, who and how, for example,

Who is the author of Weep not Child?

(c) When issuing commands, for example,

Close that door.

(d) To indicate that the speaker has come to the end of what she or he is saying, for example,

when one is uttering the last item on the following list.

She bought beans, maize, oranges, carrots, tomatoes and pineapples.

Importance of rhythm, assonance and and alliteration in poetry

Below is an animation of the poem millipedes

In this topic, we will learn about the importance of rhythm, assonance and alliteration in poetry.

Knowledge and appreciation of music is very important.We all listen to music and enjoy it, be it secular or sacred.

Click on the play button to watch a video of students reciting the poem millipedes'

In listening to music, or songs, we may dance to it or simply nod along to show appreciation.

There must be an aspect in the music or song that captivates you.

This aspect is normally reinforced by the beat, that is, the repetitive pattern of sound, for instance, the sound made by a train engine, the pounding of the pestle in the mortar, soldiers on the march, pass-out parade or a percussion band.


By the end of the topic, you should be able to:

(a) Identify and illustrate alliteration and assonance in poetry.

(b) Use stress and intonation to bring out rhythm and meaning.

(c) Appreciate and use poetry for enjoyment.

(d) Use the features of alliteration and assonance in analysing poems.

Sound patterns of language

There are various features of style that enhance the rhythm of a poem or song.

These features are referred to as sound patterns. Examples of such features are:

rhyme, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, idiophones and rhythm.

This section will discuss, rhythm, alliteration and assonance.

Read the poem below

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,

The furrow followed free;

We were the first that ever burst

Into that silent sea

1.Which among the following aspects of style have been used in the poem?

:assonance, onomatopoeia, idiophones, rhyme and consonance.

Click the play button to watch the following video

How would you describe the movement of the train on the rails?

You must have observed that there are regular recurring motions and sounds as the train moves.

The motion of the train is in deed musical.

As the train moves, a variety of sounds are produced at regular intervals.

Some of the words we can use to describe the sound of the train are: hissing, grinding, rumbling, clanking and vibrating.

Hence, the movement of the train is rhythmic.

The language of poetry

Watch the video of the poem 'Millipedes' one more time and identify instances where rhyme, assonance and alliteration have been used. How has the rhythm of the poem been achieved?

The above poem is an example of an old English nursery rhyme. Nursery rhymes use rhyme, alliterarion and assonance generously. In the poem, the words round and ground rhyme while the words million, millipedes and milling alliterate. Similarly, the poet uses assonance in the words dancing and stamping. These three stylistic features enhance the rhythm of the poem.

Rhythm in poetry

Watch the following video clip of the poem betrothed

What aspects of style has the poet used to enhance the rhythm of the above poem?

Have emphatic and syllabic stress been used in the poem betrothed?Give evidence from the poem .

Rhythm refers to the regular repeated sound pattern or beat found in poems, songs and verses.

In poetry, rhythm deals with patterns of sounds and the arrangement of words and phrases.

Rhythm reveals the meaning of the poem.

It can also be used to create many different effects or to emphasize certain aspects of the poem.

Rhythm contributes to the mood or atmosphere of the poem.

It makes a poem interesting, memorable and musical.

You ought to have noticed that in the poem, the line: 'Do you remember an Inn?' Was used several times.

Similarly, certain words and phrases have also been used repeatedly used, for example, Miranda, and the, of the...

This aspect, is called repetition.

Its function is to emphasize on the meaning of the poem. It clarifies the message conveyed by the poet.

The poet has also used certain words in some lines that have similar vowel sounds.

For example, 'fleas, tease and Pyrenees' 'cheers, jeers and muleteers' 'twirl and swirl'

This feature is known as assonance. It also makes the poem interesting, rhythmical and musical.

In the same poem, you should have observed that some lines contain words that begin with the same consonant sounds, for example,... the wine that tasted of the tar?

And the Hip! Hop! Hap! And the Ting! Tong! Tang! of the guitar.

This feature is known as alliteration. The underlined sounds are in alliteration and they make the poem interesting, rhythmical, musical and memorable.

Watch the following animation and observe the examples of assonance and alliteration


Please view the animation below.

It depicts various scenarios which have been borrowed from popular dilemma and explanatory narratives. Are you able to relate what you see with any narrative? Share your views with your friends and teachers.

In order to understand what dilemma and aetiological narratives are, you should keep in mind what you learnt about narratives in forms one and two.

In this topic, we will discuss the features of both dilemma and aetiological narratives.


By the end of the topic you should be able to: Identify the features of dilemma and aetiological stories.

Oral narratives

There are various types of oral narratives.

In form two, you studied myths and legends as well as some of their features.

This lesson will cover two other categories of narratives, namely, dilemma and aetiological narratives.

Aetiological and dilemma narratives

Aetiological narratives are community or cultural stories that try to explain the origin of certain phenomena or behaviour. The stories are based on familiar happenings observed in a particular environment. They answer the question 'why?' and give justification for the existence of the phenomena. Dilemma narratives depict a character who is forced to choose between two difficult situations or alternatives each of which is as difficult to pick as the other.

Dilemma narratives

These narratives present two difficult alternatives to a character who then has to choose one alternative even though none of the options is easier to pick.

It is like forcing a character to choose between how he or she would want to die.

The character may be asked to choose either to be thrown into a den of lions or a den of cobras.

Such a character would be presented with a dilemma because whichever option he or she chooses would still result in death.

Listen to the following dilemma narrative, and answer the questions that follow.


Long ago, a seasoned fisherman called Sikudhani decided to venture into the deep waters of the ocean to catch rare types of fish which inhabited the high seas. As luck would have it, he caught many oysters one of which had a big pearl. Lo! The beauty of the pearl was just unbelievable and Sikudhani was as happy as a lark since he knew the sale of the pearl would open up new possibilities in his life which until now had only existed in his dreams.

When he arrived home, people came from far and near to bid for the pearl but none could match its worth. Sikudhani was not the type to be enticed with small gifts. Deep in his heart, he knew only the Sultan could afford this pearl andhe was salivating at the prospect of forcing the Sultan to dance to his tune.

Eventually, news of Sikudhani's latest catch reached the Sultan and he promptly hastened to bid for the pearl.Time and again, the Sultan raised his offer but Sikudhani played hard to get.This was quite baffling because any other person in Sikudhani's shoes would have accepted the Sultan's generous offers.

Exasperated at having all his offers rejected, the Sultan asked Sikudhani to state his prize.

"Your daughter is the one I wish to marry," replied Sikudhani.

"I am ready to part with my priceless pearl on condition that I become your son in-law," he added.

When the Sultan's daughter was asked if she would be party to that arrangement, she agreed provided that, Sikudhani promised not to marry any other woman for the rest of his life. In fact, he was to swear at the pain of losing his lifeto abide by that oath if he did marry her.

After a lavish wedding ceremony Sikudhani and his royal wife settled to a luxurious lifestyle in the Sultan's palace. As time went by, the urge to try his luck at sea once more began to nag him. It nagged him so much that he finally embarked on another fishing expedition to the navels of the ocean. This time round, he sailed out in a luxurious dhow, accompanied by his wife. Do you know what happened?

Sikudhani did get a catch of the rare oysters. What is more, he got five gorgeous pearls. Soon after, the dhow turned westwards heading for the shore. As he sailed back home to the beach, Sikudhani went into a reverie glorying in his new found wealth.

Unfortunately, the boat suddenly capsized and sharp screams rent the air. Sikudhani's mind went blank and he became unconscious, totally oblivious of what was happening.

When he came to, he found himself in a house bereft of all comfort and realized that there was a middle-agedwidowed woman nursing his deep cuts and abrasions. With meagre resources, the lady nursed a battered Sikudhani back tohealth. It took her seven years to do so. In gratitude, Sikudhani decided to marry her but on the the wedding day, the Sultan accompanied by his daughter, the princess, arrived just before Sikudhani and the widowed woman exchanged their wedding vows.

The princess cried out hysterically, chanting " remember the vows my dear Sikudhani! Remember the vows!Surely, you do not mean to leave me? Do you?"

At this, the other woman broke down and started sobbing. Sikudhani stood still, transfixed to the ground like a statue. He looked at the desperate Sultan's daughter and then cast his eyes at the weeping widow and Sikudhani too, began to cry.

now watch a video of a dramatised version of the same narrative.

Listen to the following narrative and then answer the questions that follow.

Why Chameleon changes colour.

Long ago, human beings and animals lived together in the forest. There was peace between animals and humans until a severe drought struck. After going hungry for many a day, human beings began to hunt animals for food. The animals organized themselves under the leadership of the Lion. The Lion called a meeting in which the animals unanimously chose Chameleon to be their emissary to heaven where he was to seek advice from God on what animals should do about man's unbecoming habit.

Upon his arrival in heaven, Chameleon was welcomed by the angels. He was ushered into the inner chamber where God was. He reported the animal's predicament- how badly human beings treated them. God then gave him a tablet and said

"Take this tablet. When you reach the forest, dissolve it in a barrel full of water and let each animal drink the solution."

The Chameleon was then fed well by the chamberlain angel before he embarked on the return journey. On his way back, Chameleon who had opted to carry the tablet in his mouth lest it got dirty, met the Weaverbird. The anxious Weaver bird asked him about the journey to heaven. In the course of his narration, Chameleon accidentally swallowed the tablet. He told Weaver bird about the tablet but fearing to relate the sad story to the rest of the animals, Chameleon took a different route to a far away part of the forest.

It is the curious Weaver bird who broke the sad news of the tablet to the unfortunate animals as they eagerly waited for Chameleon's return. As Chameleon crept through the forest, his colour changed to suit that of his immediate environment. To date, Chameleon, takes the colour of his surroundings as a natural camouflage against animals and humans.

Click on the play button to watch an animated

photo of a chameleon changing colour

Now, watch a dramatised version of the same aetiological narrative.


Read the following instructions on how to fit a mask

We live in a world where we are always giving and receiving instructions. Listening attentively and following instructions carefully enhances effective communication.

When giving instructions, the speaker should speak clearly and use appropriate language which is easy to follow. Observe the following ilustrations.


By the end of the topic you should be able to:

a) Respond correctly to oral information on a variety of subjects.

b) Use non-verbal cues effectively in speech.

c) Give and receive instructions correctly.


Click the play button and watch a video of a teacher giving instructions to form one students on how to perform an experiment.

Instructions are statements telling somebody what they should do with something or how something operates.

They are guidelines given on how to carry out a task or use a piece of equipment.

For example, candidates sitting for an examination may be given guidelines on how to conduct themselves during the examination period.

School rules and regulations are another example of instructions.

Giving instructions

Watch the following video and listen carefully to the dialogue between the dining hall prefect and the other students.

Take note of how the students react to the instructions when effective communication does not take place.

Now watch a second video and listen to the same dining hall prefect giving instructions to the same students.

Take note of the clarity of the message being communicated to the students.

In the first video, the dining hall prefect did not give clear instructions on what was expected of the students in the dining hall.

In the second video, the prefect has given clear instructions to the students and therefore effective communication has taken place.

When giving instructions, note the following:
1.Use simple and clear language.

2. Be brief and to the point.

3. Ensure that you cover one step at a time.

4.Provide an opportunity for the listener to ask questions or seek clarification.

5.Through the question and answer method, find out whether the listener has understood the given instructions.

Receiving instructions

When receiving instructions, do the following:

1. Listen attentively to what is being said; if possible take notes.

2. Ensure you understand exactly what you are supposed to do and how you should do it.

3. Ask questions for clarification.

4. Follow the given instructions without introducing your own amendments.

A person using a mobile phone to withdraw money from an automated teller machine (ATM).

One must follow the laid down procedures or instructions in order to successfully engage in mobile money transfer.


By the end of the topic, you should be able to:

Respond correctly to information on a variety of subjects.


The term directions refers to information about what to do, where to go and how to get there.

For instance, a new student may request a prefect to direct him or her to the principal's office.

The illustration above shows a compass. Keenly observe the various points of the compass .

For hundrends of years, people have been using compasses to navigate the high seas.

The compass is still useful to pilots, rally drivers and sailors.

It enables them to chart their course in the air, the sea and on the roads.

In short, it shows them the directions or routes they should take so as to reach their destinations.

Similarly, people need to be provided with information on how to reach a certain point in a clear and precise manner.

This information is what we call directions.


Give directions to your visitor from the main stage of the nearest town to your school. Use the clues learnt in providing directions. Discuss your answers with your teacher.

Giving directions

Giving directions is not easy.

If directions are not given properly, they may confuse the receiver.

Consequently, he or she will not reach the designated point.

Click the play button to view a video clip on direction

As noted, the visitor did not reach the desired destination because the instructions given were neither adequate nor clear.

click the play button to view the same visitor at the K.I.E gate, asking for directions.

In the second video, the visitor is able to reach his destination since the directions are clearly given.


Appropriate choice of register.

Polite language and behaviour is an important key in communication.

It determines whether we will receive what we are asking for from those we are conversing with.

In form two, we had a session on telephone etiquette. In this topic, we will look at the appropriate choice of register.

Click on the play button to view a video on different types of greetings.

Why does the elderly man find the young man's greetings inappropriate?


By the end of the topic, you should be able to:

Demonstrate the ability to use correct register in different contexts.

Introduction to Register

The term register refers to varieties of language used for particular purposes or in particular social settings.

Register may also refer to a specific vocabulary which is commonly called jargon.

In this regard, we may refer to the unique vocabulary of lawyers and doctors as legal and medical register respectively.

One may also talk of formal register and informal register.

The following are examples of different types of register.

Medical register

Dose, prescription, oedema, insomnia, amnesia, anorexia, pulse rate, injection, vaccine, immunisation, birth records, prenatal and postnatal.

Legal register

Learned friend, plaintiff, defendant, litigation, penal code, acquittal, accused and witness.

Teaching register

Student, pupil, discipline, time management, grades, homework and lesson

Accounting register

Assets, liabilities, miscellaneous, invoice, receipt, cash books and ledger.

Additional information on Register

Register is a range of vocabulary, grammar and style used by speakers and writers in particular social circumstances or professional contexts.

It is determined by the social occasion, purpose and audience.

Below is an animation showing some members of various professions.

In your opinion, what makes each profession distinct from the others?

Click on the play button to watch the provided videos. Take note of the use of proper and improper language.

The video clips we have just watched have demonstrated different types of register, that is, formal and informal register.

Formal register is used for official purposes while informal register is used among friends or peers.

It is important that appropriate register be used in all contexts in order to communicate effectively.

Note that, in some contexts, certain words and behaviour are expected.

For example, it is possible to tell that the lawyer and the judge are having a courtroom conversation because of their behaviour and choice of words.

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