A Love of Pronouns and Pronunciation

It’s time to start planning one or two Valentine’s Day activities. Do you already have one in mind? Feel free to share! I’d like to offer at least one idea before February14. Let’s start with a love song. I’m not a big country music fan, but there are some tunes that get into my head and never quite leave. Why Didn’t I Think of That by Doug Stone is a sweet tune with an easy-t0-understand story: Boy had girl. Boy lost girl. Boy wants girl back.

To study the common dropping of the initial “h” in pronouns in spoken English, consider this sequence:

  1. Play the song once. (You can find a copy on My Space.) After the first hearing, ask students to explain the title Why Didn’t I Think of That.
  2. Distribute a copy of the lyrics with all the h-pronouns (he, her, him) and pronoun-verb contractions (he’s, he’ll, etc.) omitted.  During the second listening, ask students to complete the text as best they can.
  3. Correct the completed lyrics together and identify when the “h” is dropped. Explain how this kind of reduction happens in fast speech.
  4. Play the song a final time (if possible, show a Doug Stone performance on video) and allow students to listen for the reduced h-words.
  5. Use excerpts of Stacy Hagen’s 2-part video on the silent “h”. See 4:59 in Lesson 1a to practice the dropped “h” in both pronouns and helping verbs. The complete videos may be watched as independent study.

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