Duolingo Speaking: Image Description: Hidden Pitfalls and Tutor’s Tips!

Hi everyone, let’s talk a bit about an interesting task at Duolingo English Test called “Read Aloud a Sentence”. As I can see through these months and years of tutoring students for Duolingo, this tasks is usually postponed to some other propitious times:)) – and eventually, people do not get what they deserve for Duolingo partially because of lower score at this very task… Of course, I am not saying that this section alone can “kill” your Duolingo, but the fact remains that this task tends to be neglected… At least I see it and hear it constantly…

OK, just a couple of tips for you concerning this Read Aloud task.

  1. Each sentence in English (as well as probably over 90% of other languages) has got its basis – usually it is called CLAUSE. If you sentence is complex, it can have two or more clauses. So, please remember that while reading aloud, we SHOULD FIRST OF ALL STRESS/ACCENTUATE THIS CORE OF THE CLAUSE – USULLY IT IS THE SUBJECT AND THE PREDICATE. Especially predicate since verbs denote change in the condition, which is the most important thing in the universe. So, remember to strike the subject and the predicate while reading.
  2. Almost ALL sentences (apart from those ultra-short, consisting of 2-3 words) will have PAUSES in them – those pauses mark the boundaries of clauses and also of other LOGICAL PARTS of the sentence. So, while reading, CLEARLY IDENTIFY THE PAUSES! Otherwise you will sound like a zombie.
  3. You have about 20 seconds to deal with this Duolingo Read Aloud Task. It is a good idea TO FIRSTLY SPEND ABOUT 6-7 SECONDS TO BROWSE THE SENTENCE SILENTLY – at least you will catch some important words and boundaries of clauses. I have witnessed multiple times how guys start reading at once and inevitably fail during the reading process since they just do not understand at all what they are reading! Let alone difficult words and those awkward collocations. So, I highly recommend that you first take a look at the sentence and only then, when there are about 12-13 seconds left, start reading aloud. But avoid overdoing this preparatory job – you can run the risk of not having sufficient time to just read aloud:)) All of this needs practice, and desirably with an experienced tutor.
  4. When we read out aloud enumerations and listings of homogeneous objects, usually our tone (pitch) rises at every element but the last one. So, if you see something like “John, Sam, Fred, and Bill went fishing” – try to raise your tone at John, Sam, and Fred, but at Bill it goes down…

OK, my friends, there are many more tips and quirks to this outstanding task at Duolingo English Test. I personally like this Read Aloud thing very much. If you treat it properly, you will surely raise your overall score… Do not disregard it because most of you have not been taught to read aloud elaborately and impressively.

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