Lay vs Lie - English Grammar - Teaching Tips

 

The two words "lay" and "lie" are often confused for each other, which is why we decided to break down the differences in this video. "Lay" is what is called a transitive verb. That means, it needs to be followed by one or more objects. A good example sentence would be "I lay the book on the table". As you can see, lay is followed by ""on the table"". We couldn't only say "I lay the book." as it would be incomplete. This means it is transitive. "Lie" on the other hand is an intransitive verb. That means it doesn't take an object, for example "I lie down". Most errors have to do with the past tenses of the two verbs, as the past tense of "lie" is "lay" while the past tense of "lay" is "laid".


Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.

This Units focus is about Teaching Pronunciation & Phonology; The study of sounds. Firstly, under the topic of Phonology, there is something called Intonation, which is the variation in pitch and volume while saying a sentence, word or phrase. Intonation generally gives an indication on how confident you are, whether you want a response, or if you?re playing with someone. For example, the word ?Hello? can actually be said so many different ways, but for now we?ll focus on 3. These ways are: 1. Falling Intonation -> Rising Intonation (starting at a low pitch to a higher pitch) 2. Rising Intonation -> Falling Intonation (starting at a high pitch to a lower pitch) 3. Monotone / Neutral Intonation (saying the whole word at one pitch) These 3 ways give direction for the listener, in that they know what the speaker is after. The 1st example gives an indication that the speaker wants a quick response, it is a question. The 2nd example give that indication that the speaker has finished what they are saying and is not after an immediate response, they could also be polite in saying it this way (in Australia at least). Finally the 3rd example give an indication that the speaker isn?t interested in the conversation he/she?s about to have, but it allows that listener to speak. As you can tell, Intonation is a huge part in Phonology. It can also tell people more than what you?re actually saying. For example, saying ?You?ll never guess?, starting at a Rising Intonation, having a Falling intonation from the word ?never?, and finishing on a rising Intonation, tells people you don?t want them to guess, you want to tell them. It?s difficult explaining this rather than showing it, but hopefully you get what I mean!! Another important part of Phonology is Stress. Stress is used when you want to emphasise a certain word (generally) of your sentence. For example, ?I NEED the toilet?. Adding stress to the word ?need? makes it clear that you cannot hold on much longer. However, if the sentence was said without stress, then you wouldn?t be busting, you?d just need to go in the near future, as opposed to immediately. Of course, you can also put stress on other words in the sentence, such as ?I need the toilet (stress on ?I?)?, meaning you need the toilet not the other person, ?I need THE toilet?, meaning a certain toilet, and ?I need the TOILET?, meaning you need a toilet and not whatever you were taken to. There are 2 rules to remember when using stress: 1. One word can only have 1 stress, not 2. There can be a secondary stress in some words, but the first one, or primary stress, will always be the most important. A secondary stress is only used in longer words. 2. We only stress syllables, not individual vowels or consonants. It is important to note that you can put stress on certain parts of a single word, as well as the whole word, such as ?HippoPOTamus?. Notice you?ll add stress to the ?pot? when saying ?hippopotamus?. However, generally putting stress into words is part of your accent, and is a little unintentional. Try saying ?Supermarket? aloud too, there?s actually 2 stressed syllables in the word!! Also try say ?Where?s Joe?? aloud, both words are stressed!! Cool huh?! Additionally, Sound Joining plays a small part under Stress, but otherwise is still a very important and difficult topic to cover with your students. Notice that when you join sounds, you stress certain parts of a word to make it connect to the next word, so the listener can easily identify what you are trying to say. There are 4 types of sound joining: 1. Linking ? ?Where do you want to dine?? -> ?Where d?ya want ta dine?? 2. Dropping ? Probably -> Pro ?bly 3. Changing ? Carpet -> Carpit / Car Pit 4. Extra Lettering ? My eyes -> My yeyes If you say the examples (or the first words before the arrows) to yourself, you?ll notice you don?t actually say the word the way it?s spelt. This can be considered lazy English, but nonetheless, we all do it mainly to make something easier to say. For example, saying ?My eyes? quickly and as completely separated words in a sentence is near impossible without a small break between the 2 words. So in this case we add the letter ?y? to the start of the word ?eyes?, so the transition between the words ?My? and ?Eyes? is a hell of a lot easier!! In terms of Pronunciation, there are some words that we don?t say how it?s spelt, such as; ?Rough?, ?Borough? and ?Through?, just as some examples. So studiers of English figured there needs to be some way to teach students (including native English speakers) how to pronounce a word in written form. This is where the Phonetic Alphabet came into practice. The Phonetic Alphabet is a series of new and familiar symbols that tell us how to pronounce particular syllables (before looking at the following example, I?d recommend getting a picture of a Phonetic Alphabet Chart). For example, ?Rough? is said like ?Ruff?. To show its pronunciation, according to the Phonetic Alphabet, it looks like ?r^f?, which If you?ve learnt how to use the Phonetic Alphabet, you know it?s said like ?Ruff?, and not like ?Roo?, ?Ruh?, or ?Row?, like other words ending in ?ough. Before continuing, it is important to note that there are 2 types of ways to make a sound; Voiced and Voiceless. Voiced is when you feel a vibration in your throat, and Voiceless has no vibrations in your throat what-so-ever. Put your fingers on the Adam?s apple of your neck, and feel for vibrations when saying ?think? and ?this?. ?This? is Voiced, ?Think? is Voiceless. We also must be aware of our Place of Articulation in our mouth when saying a syllable. This means where in our mouth or throat the sound is made from. For example, if you say ?hot?, then say ?lot?, we can notice that the word ?hot? is coming from our throat (especially if we say ?hot? very quickly and suddenly) and that with the word ?lot?, the sound is being made from our tongue touching the roof of our mouth just behind our teeth. I would recommend looking at the diagram on page 15 of the Unit?s materials, but simply put, there are 8 different places we can create a unique sound in our mouth? Or at least the unique sounds we use in English. These are: 1. Velar ? Using the soft plate at the back of the roof of our mouth, called the Velum. Sounds include /k/ (car) and /g/ (goat). 2. Palatal ? Centre of the tongue comes in close contact with the middle of the roof of our mouth. Sounds include /j/ (yellow, you or yes), not as in jump. 3. Palatal-alveolar ? The tip of your tongue is between the alveolar ridge and the palate. Sounds include /?/ (measure or beige). 4. Alveolar ? The tip of your tongue is raised towards the alveolar ridge. Sounds include /t/ (top). 5. Dental ? The 2 ways your tongue is placed between your teeth. Sounds include /ð/ (this) and /?/ (think). 6. Labio-dental ? Labio means ?lips?, so your top teeth come in contact with your lower lips. Sounds include /f/ (fish) and /v/ (valley). 7. Bilabial ? ?Bi? means 2 and Labio means ?lips?, so your lips come in contact with each other. Sounds include /p/ (party), as well as /b/ (bucket), /w/ (water) and /m/ (munch). 8. Glottal ? The opening between the vocal cords is called the ?Glottis?. This is where the glottis restricts the air to make the sound. The only sound that is Glottal is the /h/ (hot, heavy or have) sound. There are also different Manners of Articulation. These are ways in which our breath is produced to make a sound. These manners could be a build-up of air in our mouth then a sudden release, or the use of friction within the mouth to make a different sound. There are 6 different Manners of Articulation, these include: 1. Plosive ? Think of it like an Explosion in our mouth. There are 3 steps to make a Plosive sound; there?s a closure in the vocal tract, there?s a build of or air, then there?s a sudden release of that air like an explosion. Sounds include /p/ (potato), /t/ (tint), /g/ (give) and /k/ (call). 2. Affricate ? Like a Plosive sound, there is a closure in the vocal tract, a build-up of air, but this time there?s a gradual release of air. Sounds include /t?/ (chicken) and /d?/ (joke). 3. Fricatives ? ?Fric? in Fricatives indicate there is some friction when making the sound. This is where you put 2 vocal organs together and making them vibrate to a point which is audible. Sounds include /f/ (fish), /v/ (very), /?/ (think), /ð/ (this), /s/ (supper), /z/ (zombie), /?/ (show), /?/ (television) and /h/ (hello). 4. Nasal ? Like Plosives and Affricates, there is a closure within our vocal tract, except the air escapes through our nasal cavity, rather than our mouth. Sounds include /m/ (mice), /n/ (nice) and /?/ (sing). 5. Lateral ? The tip of the tongue is placed on the alveolar ridge, and air escapes laterally (straight) along both sides of the tongue. There?s only 1 Lateral sound, so consider it a ?Lonely Lateral? sound. This sound is /l/ (limp) 6. Approximant ? It is called Approximants because our vocal organs are approximately in the middle of our mouth, and there isn?t any audible friction within our mouth because our vocal organs aren?t close enough to make audible friction. Sounds include /w/ (want), /r/ (rate), /j/ (young) Now let?s look at how to teach all of these, starting with Intonation. There are 4 techniques you can use to teach Intonation, these are: 1. Nonsense words ? Use pure sound to show changes in Intonation. You could make a game where students think of some nonsensical words and convey different attitudes when saying them. Anger and happiness will have different Intonations for example. 2. By Gesture ? Use your hand to indicate a High Intonation and a Low Intonation. When your hand is low, it?ll obviously indicate a Low Intonation in your voice, and when your hand is high, it?ll indicate a High Intonation in your voice. 3. Humming or Singing ? Instead of speaking, you can show the Stress and Intonation within your voice while singing or humming a tune. 4. The Board ? By writing horizontal lines on top of the sentences you?ve written (in a different colour) where a higher line indicates a Higher Intonation and a lower line indicates a Lower Intonation. Look on page 4-5 of this Unit?s materials to get a visual idea of what I mean. Similarly when teaching Stress, there are 5 techniques, these are: 1. Contrastive Stress ? Giving a contrast to Stress in a sentence and no Stress in the same sentence. For example, saying a sentence with stress on the right syllable and then saying it with stress on the wrong syllable can make students easily identify incorrect stress if taught right. However, be sure to correctly use stress as the last thing you say if you muck up your words or a sentence sounds unnatural. The final thing the students hear should be correct, so they don?t walk away thinking the wrong thing is right. 2. By Gesture ? Clapping, clicking, tapping, etc. 3. Choral Work ? Chanting or singing typical rhythms of English. For example, ?di dah di dah di dah di? for ?Just to put it on the table?, or ?tit tum titty tum titty tum? for ?I went to the moon in a bus? 4. The Board ? Underlining Stress points 5. Stress Marks ? Boxes or apostrophes above Stressed points in a written sentence Lastly, when teaching pronunciations of individual sounds there are 5 techniques, which are: 1. Peer Dictation ? One student says words while the other writes them down as it sounds. 2. Your Own Mouth ? Over-emphasising your mouth movements so students can see every movement you?re making with your mouth. This is when they can start trying to copy you. 3. Visuals ? Using pictures to show how to make a sound (examples on page 20 and 21 of materials) 4. Phonemes ? Using the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) to show them the symbols that make different sounds to another can allow students to actually see how to make a sound / say a word. 5. Tongue Twisters ? Need I say more? It?s a good contrast for word that are spelt the same but sound differently too!! Finally, you?ll need to decide when to add pronunciation work into your lessons. Everyone has different opinions but these are the most common: 1. Whole Lesson ? You can teach pronunciation for the entire lesson, if necessary. 2. Lesson Slots ? Certain points of the lesson for a certain time. 3. As and When Required ? Whenever 1 or more students noticeably have trouble with pronunciations of some words. In Conclusion, it is important to teach students the difference in spelling to the different pronunciation(s) of a word. Thankfully, teaching students about the IPA can really help you and them get through this topic confidently. Equally important, the different Stresses and Intonations a person could use in a sentence can almost change the meaning of what the speaker is trying to say, so it is just as important to teach students this as well.

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