Fairbanks (1960, Ch. 13, Phrases)


(also known as Expert Opinion)

NOTE:  To view the summary of the intervention, scroll about one-third of the way down this post. 


C =  clinician

NA = not applicable

P =  patient or participant

pmh =  Patricia Hargrove, blog developer 

SLP = speech-language pathologist

Source:  Fairbanks, G. (1960, Ch. 13, Phrases) Voice and articulation drillbook.  New York: Harper & Row.  (pp. 146-151)

Reviewer(s):  pmh

Date:  January 13, 2022

Overall Assigned Grade (because there are no supporting data, there is not a grade)  

Level of Evidence:  Expert Opinion, no supporting evidence for the effectiveness of the intervention although the author may provide secondary evidence supporting components of the intervention.

Take Away: This chapter of Fairbanks (1960) is concerned with the use of phrasing. Fairbanks focuses on two aspects of phrasing: the prosodic marking of phrases and the correspondence between phrases and breathing. This review, however, is only concerned with phrases. 

1.  Was there a review of the literature supporting components of the intervention?  No 

2.  Were the specific procedures/components of the intervention tied to the reviewed literature?  Not Applicable (NA)

3.  Was the intervention based on clinically sound clinical procedures?  Yes 

4.  Did the author provide a rationale for components of the intervention?  Variable

5.  Description of outcome measures:

–  Are outcome measures suggested? Yes

•  Outcome #1: Appropriate phrasing by modifying location and duration of pauses

•  Outcome #2: Appropriate use of stress (prominence)

6.  Was generalization addressed?  No

7.  Was maintenance addressed?  No


PURPOSE:  To produce appropriate phrasing using pausing (location and duration) and stress (prominence) 



ELEMENTS/FUNCTIONS OF PROSODY TARGETED:  phrasing, stress (prominence)

ASPECTS OF PROSODY USED TO TREAT THE TARGET:  pauses, duration, intensity, pitch, rate


ADMINISTRATOR:  The book is written so that a lay person could use it as a self-help book. Historically, I know of many speech-language pathologists who have used the techniques and the materials in their therapy sessions.   


1. The author defines phrases and explains that the same passage can be divided into a variety of phrasing patterns. Because of the variation, the development of norms a challenge. Nevertheless, the author provides the following guide for the reading aloud of factual information:  6 to 7 words per phrase or 25 to 30 phrases per minute.

2. C provides P with sentences (see Fairbanks, 1960, p. 146, #1) marked for pausing. P reviews the sentences (e.g., If you get the ice cream,| chocolate sprinkles,| and the whipped cream,| we can get started|) and P

     ∞reads the sentence aloud attending to the markings and then 

     ∞ reads the same passage with alternative pausing suggesting a different meaning.

3. P reads the passages from #2 with inappropriate pausing.

4. P reads the passages from #2 with unconventional but meaningful pausing.

5. C provides a set of sentences that increase in length from 2 words to 20 words but only have one pause. (See Fairbanks, 1960, p. 146, #4.) P reads aloud the series of sentences. 

6. P marks each sentence from #5 with 2 pauses and then reads aloud the sentences as marked.

7. P again marks the sentences from #5 but this time identifies optimal pausing. P then reads the sentences aloud. 

8. Using a graphic/visual representation of pausing of phases in a short passage, P reads the passage aloud attempting to replicate the pauses and the duration of the phrases on the representation.

9. P reviews a conventionally written paragraph (see Fairbanks, 1960, p. 147, #8) and marks appropriate pausing. P then reads aloud the passage with the designated pausing.

10. P reads aloud a paragraph that is written with no capitalizations or punctuations. (See Fairbanks, 1960, p. 147-148, #8.) 

     ∞ The first time P reads the paragraph aloud, the objective is continuous speaking with pauses only for breathing. 

     ∞ P reviews the paragraph and marks pauses that are appropriate to the meaning and then reads it aloud.

11. P reads a 100-word factual paragraph silently and then reads it aloud with appropriate phrasing. NOTE: P does not mark the paragraph for pauses.

12. C provides 18 sentences to the P. (See Fairbanks, 1960, p. 148, #11.) Each sentence is bounded by 1, 2,  or 3 bars representing short, medium, or long pauses. P reads aloud the sentences with the designated pauses 

13. P rereads the 18 sentences from #12:

     – with all short pauses, 

     – then with all medium pauses, and

     – finally with all long pauses.

14. C provides P with a set of sentences consisting of 2 phrases/clauses. (See Fairbanks, 1960, p. 148, #13.)

     – P marks each sentence with a single bar (|) signifying an appropriate place for a pause.

     – P then experiments with the length of pauses in each sentence and settles on a pause duration for each of the bars that is appropriate for an imagined content (emotional state, situation) for each sentence.

     – P then marks the sentences with the new pause durations (short |, medium ||, long |||) and reads the sentences aloud.

15. C provides a paragraph with no punctuation. (See Fairbanks, 1960, p. 149, #14.)  P reviews the paragraph and adds marks (bars) for place of pauses and the duration. P then reads aloud the paragraph.

18. C provides a paragraph with content that focuses on prominence/stress and opportunities to produces varying degrees of prominence/stress. (See Fairbanks, 1960, p. 150, #17.)

16. C provides sentences containing 3 marked phrases each (see Fairbanks, 1960, p. 149-150, #16). P reads aloud the sentences with special attention to the 2nd phrase within each sentence. Fairbanks claims that the 2nd phrase likely 

     ∞ is produced with the pause after the phrase longer than the pause before it

     ∞ has less intensity, lower pitch, and/or faster rate (i.e., less prominence/stress).

     ∞ P then rereads the sentences with attention to prominence 

17. C rewrites the sentence from #16, but transposes the second phrase in each sentence with the third. (For Example, the sentence “| It’s too bad | I said, | that you can’t go.| “is transposed to  “| It’s too bad | that you can’t go | I said. |”

     ∞ P reviews the revised sentences and marks the phrases with pause durations that are appropriate to any new meanings.

     ∞ P then reads the transposed sentence aloud with appropriate pause (locations and durations) while also attending to prominence.

     ∞ P reviews the paragraph marking phrase and noting potential use of prominence.

     ∞ P reads aloud the paragraph.

19. C provides a paragraph with no punctuation about grammar and phrasing. (See Fairbanks, 1960, pp. 150-151, #18.)

     ∞ P reviews the paragraph as well as marks for location and duration of pauses.

     ∞ P reads aloud the marked paragraph while also producing appropriate prominences/stresses.


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