The Weather

A2 upwards
Teaching point: 
The sound /w/, schwa
The Weather -

This chant has a waltz rhythm – each stressed syllable is separated by two unstressed syllables. The overall form of the text is a limerick. It has an unusual density of the sound /w/ - a semi-consonant created by movement of the lips. You'll find a recording of the chant below, and an image of the text to project. The first recording's quite slow to make it easier for students to join in; the second is full speed.

Notice that most of the unstressed syllables may be pronounced with the vowel reduced to a schwa if the speaker chooses. In addition, many of the unstressed syllables end in a letter ‘r’ which may or may not be pronounced depending on the speaker’s accent.

Note that in many accents, ‘whether’ and ‘weather’ are homophones. However, in other accents, the ‘h’ is pronounced in words like ‘whether’, ‘where’, ‘why’ and so on – but it’s pronounced before the /w/. This is the case in Welsh accents, for example.

Other accent variation exists with the letter ‘t’ between vowels, in words like ‘better’ or ‘whatever’. For example, in the USA this may sound something like a /d/. Last but not least: don’t forget the soft TH in words like ‘weather’ and ‘together’ is often replaced by a /v/ (eg London), /d/ (eg Ireland) or /z/ (eg France). For more about TH variation, see The Brothers.

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