Real American Pronunciation Word Stress Thought GroupsSounds of English Reduction American Phrasal Stress Linking Emphasis Consonants & Vowels
Word StressIn every word in English, there is one main emphasized syllable. Thevowel sound in this syllable sounds higher in pitch, longer, andlouder, and this is called stress. This helps create the rhythm of thelanguage, and knowing how to recognize the stressed syllable will helpyou with comprehension. Placing the stress where it should be whenyoure speaking helps native speakers understand you better as well. Click on the to hear an example.
What are the patterns? English word stress is not always on the same syllable, like in some languages. Many times, though, it is one of the last three syllables in the word. Here are some examples of stress in different syllables of the word: computer languages pronunciation Could you hear a difference in tone, length, and loudness between the stressed and unstressed syllables?
Sometimes you can predict the stress placementbecause of the type of word or the ending you put on it. Here are some general rules: Word type Where is the stress? Examples center object Nouns on the first syllable flower Two syllables release Verbs on the last syllable admit arrange
Word type Where is the stress? Examples desktop Nouns pencil case (N + N) on the first part bookshelf (Adj. + N) greenhouse well-meantCompound Adjectives hard-headed (Adj. + P.P.) on the last part (the old-fashioned verb part) understand Verbs overlook (prep. + verb) outperform
Word type Where is the stress? Examples turn off Phrasal Verbs on the particle buckle up hand out economic -ic geometric the syllable before the electrical ending technician -tion, -cian, -sion graduationWord with added cohesion ending photography -phy, -gy, -try, -cy, - biology fy, -al the third from the last geometry syllable parameter -meter thermometer barometer
Listen and Practice Where do you hear the main stress in these words?Click to hear the word, then click on the syllable you think is the stressed syllable. 1. congratulations con gra tu la tions 2. darkroom dark room 3. solid so lid 4. magnify mag ni fy 5. sophisticated so phis ti ca ted 6. undergo un der go 7. topical to pi cal 8. computer desk com pu ter desk 9. complete (v) com plete 10. abstract (n) ab stract
Listen for the word stress of the given words in the sentence. Play the sentences.1. My teachers really amuse me.2. That is kept confidential in the file cabinet.3. The presidents family lives in the White House.4. According to my calendar, we have an appointment at three.5. Im going to print out the handouts for the geology class now. Main
Thought GroupsIn written English, we use punctuation to show where the pauses inthe sentences should be. When we speak English, our listeners dontsee the punctuation, but we dont generally run all the words togetherin a stream of equally-emphasized words either; we group words bytheir meaning, and pause between them. This allows us to speak inphrases or thought groups, and to pause just after importantinformation that we emphasize.If we are speaking slower and clearer, the phrases are shorter, but ifwe are speaking fast, the phrases are longer and we dont emphasizeas many words. Its important to know where to put the pauses in thesentences so that you can sound more like a native-speaker.
What are the patterns? Thought groups are generally formed by the grammar. Here are some examples: the obsolete software Noun phrases: Amy and Peter Mary walkedShort subject and verb: The boy smiled
jogged joyfully Verb phrases: seemed correct in the laboratoryPrepositional phrases: with the hammer to the mall ...woman who wore glasses, was... Relative Clauses: ...book that I read, is... phrases (or thought groups) are...Parenthetical remarks: this is, in fact, an example.
Between each thought group, the speaker needs to pause. Thereare some pauses that are longer and more important than others.These would be marked with commas "," semi-colons ";" colons ":"and periods "." in writing, and will ALMOST ALWAYS be pauses, nomatter how fast the person is speaking. The other pauses will bethere if its slower speech but might not be if its faster speech.Sometimes if you can imagine the punctuation that would be there inwriting, it helps you know where to pause for a breath.(click on the icon to hear each sentence)
First listen to the whole paragraph and then listen to each sentence.Finally, // each time you prepare the solution, // you should take into account /the temperature of the liquids. // Dont mix these two liquids together / unlessthey have the same temperature: // room temperature. // After they reach thesame temperature, // then you can mix them together / and get the startingtemperature.
Where would you put the pauses?1. The interior element is much more important than theouter elements. Check2. Through this analysis, we will be delving into the worldof engineering mechanics. Check3. When the current price wars have dissipated, theeveryday consumer will have more buying power. Check
4. In order to find the non-trivial solution of a linearsystem, one must find the eigenvalues of thecorresponding state-space matrix. Check5. Although many people believe that J.S. Bach was aclassical composer, he was in fact, a Baroque master. Check Main
My answer and reason.1. The interior element / is much more important /than the outer elements.The first thought group is a noun phrase, the second is averb phrase, and the third begins with a particle. Theunderlined words are the stressed words in each thoughtgroup, and the italicized words are emphasized becausethey are comparing one with another and "element" is oldinformation at the end of the sentence. (See also PhrasalStress and Emphasis).
My answer and reason.2. Through this analysis, //we will be delving /intothe world /of engineering mechanics.The first, third, and fourth thought groups areprepositional phrases and the second is a shortsubject and verb phrase. There is a longer pauseafter the adverbial "through this analysis", wherethe comma would be.
My answer and reason.3. When the current price wars / have dissipated, // theeveryday consumer / will have more buying power.Here the first thought group is a long noun phrasestarting with an adverb; the second is a verb phrase thatis separated from the subject so that the subject can beemphasized more because of the pause; the third isanother noun phrase; and the fourth is a verb phrase.There is a longer pause after the second phrasebecause of the punctuation. Note here also that "pricewars" and "buying power" are both compound nounsand so are stressed on the first element. (See WordStress).
My answer and reason.4. In order to find /the non-trivial solution / of a linear system, //one must find the eigenvalues / of the corresponding state-space matrix. Here the first thought group is an infinitive (verb) phrase beginning with a subordinator, the second is a noun phrase, the third and the last are prepositional phrases, and the fourth is a short subject and verb. There is a longer pause between the dependent and independent clauses in this sentence (where the comma would be.)
My answer and reason. 5. Although many people believe / that J.S. Bach /was a classical composer, // he was /in fact, / a Baroque master.The first thought group in this sentence begins with asubordinator as its the beginning of a dependent clause, plusits a short subject/verb phrase. The second is a relativeclause. The third is a predicate verb phrase. The independentclause in this sentence is broken up by a parentheticalremark, "in fact," which necessitates pauses surrounding itand is pronounced in a lower tone to show its a different partof the sentence. There is a longer pause here between thedependent and independent clauses (where the commawould be).
Sounds of EnglishThe purpose of this section is to help learners ofEnglish with the pronunciation of specific sounds.On these pages you will find:o Pictures of how your mouthlooks when you say sounds.o A description of how to makethe sound.o Audio recordings of some wordswith that sound (real media).
The sounds in "heed" and "hid" We make the sound in "heed" (/i/) with our tongue very close to the top of our mouth. We also spread our lips so it looks like we are smiling. You can see how Laurie looks like she is smiling when she says /i/ in the picture. When we make the sound in "hid" (/I/), we dont look as much like we are smiling, and our tongues are lower in our mouths. Here is a picture of our mouths so that you can compare where the tongue is for these two sounds.
Here is a video clip of this same vowel sound. Noticehow the speaker looks like she is smiling when she saysread.
Now lets listen to some sounds! /i/ sounds: /I/ sounds: Meat Mitt Sheep Ship Leak Lick
The sounds in "head" and "hate"We make the sound in "head" with our mouth open wider than for /i/ or/I/ and our tongues not as close to the top of our mouths. The sound in "hate" is actually a dipthong, which means it is a combination of the sounds /e/ and /I/. You can feel your tongue moving closer to the roof of your mouth when you say it. "head" sounds: "hate" sounds: head hate shepherd shape leg lake met mate
The sounds in "hot" and "hat"We make the sound in "hot" (/a/) withour mouth open the widest. Pretendyou are going to the doctor and saying"ahhhhhhhh". See how open your mouth is and how far back your tongue is.
These two video clips also show the /a/ sound. mom Bob
The sound in "hat" is made with yourmouth open not as wide and the soundis not as far back in your throat.Pretend someone is choking you. Thesound you will make is this "hat"vowel. Now lets listen to some sounds! "hat" sounds: "hot" sounds: hat hot lack lock mat Motts sap sop
The sounds of in "hoot" and "hood"We make the sound in "hoot" (/u/)with our really rounded. Sing"ooh, baby, baby" or pretend youare going to kiss someone.
Here is a picture of someone making this sound. See how round her lips are.See here that when she says"hood", her lips are more relaxed. Now lets listen to some sounds! "hoot" sounds: "hood" sounds: whod hood pool pull Luke look
The sounds in "hoot" and "hut"We make the sound in "hoot" (/u/) withour really rounded. Sing "ooh, baby,baby" or pretend you are going to kisssomeone.
Here is a picture of someone making this sound. See how round her lips are. However, when we say "hut" we open our mouths wider and relax our lips. The sound in "hut" is in the center of your mouth. Try to put your tongue in the center of your mouth. Now lets listen to some sounds!"hoot" sounds: "hut" sounds: mute mutt Luke luck whod hut shut Main
ReductionIn each sentence in English, there are words that are morestressed than others, and in each word with more than one syllable,there is one syllable that is more stressed as well. The other wordsand syllables are made less important by using reduction. Thismeans that they are shorter, quieter, and lower in pitch (tone) thanthe stressed words and syllables. Stress and reduction in thephrases form the rhythm of the language and this is important tohear in order to have understanding. Listening and discriminatingare two very important skills to improve reduction.
What are the patterns?Reduction in words: In multi-syllabic words, there is one main stress,and the other syllables can have a full vowel or a reduced vowel (a schwa--"uh" sound). For example, in the word MIsery there is a stressedsyllable MI, a reduced syllable se, and a full vowel in an unstressedsyllable ry. MIsery (mI-zuh-riy)Most of the time, the reduced syllables are around the stressed syllableto make the stressed one more emphasized. aPARTment (uh-PART-muhnt)
Sometimes there is a difference in meaning when fullvowels change to reduced vowels because the mainstress is shifted to a different syllable. comedy object (n) (KA-muh-diy) (AB-jEkt) committee object (v) (kuh-MI-diy) (uhb-JEKT)
Reduction in sentences: In general, the content words(words that give the meaning) in a sentence are stressedand the structure words (more grammatical words) areunstressed and reduced. Sometimes structure words canbe emphasized, or placed where they cannot be reduced.Reduced Not ReducedAUX. VERBS and MODALS He was a friendly person. Yes, he was. You should go to the concert. Well, you should. I can do it. She doesnt think so, but I can. Have they finished yet? I have a cat.
Reduced Not ReducedPREPOSITIONS Are you coming from Where did you come from? the store? Do you want to play a Only if you want to. What are you game of checkers? afraid of?PRONOUNS Give her the mail. Shes here. Did you see it? Its for you.ARTICLES The dog is in the yard. Its the word "the." A book is a great thing I dont have two TVs, I have a to have. TV. (emphasized)
Listen and PracticeHere we can hear the difference between the stressed words andthe reduced words. He WALKED to the STORE to BUY some BREAD and CHEESE. I NEED her to MAKE a GRAPH for me. Is he GOING to (gonna) GIVE it to him?
Discrimination: What sentence do you hear? Clickon the sentence you hear to check your answer. 1. a) The book is on the table. b) Book is on the table. c) The book is in the table. d) The book is on a table. 2. a) Give him the ticket. b) Give them a ticket. c) Give them the ticket. d) Give her a ticket.
3. a) Do you see a rainbow? b) Did you see a rainbow? c) Did he see the rainbow? d) Did you see the rainbow?4. a) We shouldve gone with her. b) We shouldve gone with him. c) You shouldve gone with them. d) You shouldve gone with her.
5. a) He is in class today. b) He was in class a day. c) He is in class a day. d) He was in class today.6. a) Put it on a board. b) Put it on the board. c) Put her on the board. d) Put her on a board. Main
Phrasal StressPhrasal Stress is an important part of the rhythm of English. It is aterm that refers to the most stressed word in each phrase (thoughtgroup) in a sentence. Each sentence that has more than one phrasein it has its most stressed word in the last phrase. This is generallycalled sentence stress. When we give that word the most stress, weare not only showing that this word is important, but also that thesentence is ending. We use sentence-final intonation patterns withsentence stress. If we emphasize another word in the sentence,however, this may change the phrasal or sentence stress.
What are the patterns?When we read a sentence normally (without giving any word extraemphasis), each thought group (phrase) in a sentence has one wordthat is most stressed. This word is the last content word in that phrase.The last content word in the last phrase of the sentence is said to bethe most stressed in the sentence.
Below you can hear two sentences read slowly and deliberately as ifthey were said in a presentation. The noisy car / has been parked / in the garAGE. Many people / often read / the business section / of the NEWSpaper. ("business section" and "newspaper" are compound nouns.) When they are said more rapidly, there will be fewer pauses and less stress on the content words. The noisy car has been parked in the garAGE. Many people often read the business section of the NEWSpaper. The more slowly you speak, and the more pauses you use, the easier it is to understand you and to hear the important elements of your sentences.
Listen and Practice Where is the strongest stress? (Click on the correct word.)The computer is used in conjunction with the textbook.Please put the glass on top of the table. Why dont you want to go with them?
In these longer sentences, the most-stressed word in each phrase(the last content word) comes just before the speakers pausebetween phrases. Which words are stressed? Remember to listenfor a raise in pitch and a longer and louder sound. (Click on thecorrect words in each sentence.) The author has created a wonderful program which emphasizes the worth of reading to children.Everyday, people from all over the world, eat dinner with their families.
There will be another delay with the airline, Im sorry to say.Theassistant will be available to help you in any way he can,so if you need anything, please call him. Main
LinkingYou may have noticed that American English speakersdont separate all their words like in some languages, butinstead they connect them together. This is called linking,or liason, and it is important for listening comprehension.It is especially crucial when pronouncing the final soundson words, for example making the plural or the pasttense -ed.
What are the patterns?When linking one word to another, the last sound(s) of the firstword should feel like it becomes the first sound of the next word,like this: He likesssseverything. She like-dall of it. answerrrrit save a lot rea-doverrrrit laughfffat
If youre linking the same sound, you should simply hold the sounda little longer: with the lamp had difficulties kiss someone make coffee Look out! new dancing vs. nude dancing
If you are linking two vowel sounds together, you need to use y or w. (Sometimes its present in the spelling.) [iy, ey, ay, oy] [aw, ow, uw] see (y) it kno(w) everything sa(y) a lot amino (w) acids the bo(y) is do (w) allTwo uh sounds together dont link with y or w; just hold the uh sound data analysis
T, D, S, and Z before a Y sound: These sounds when linked to a ysound change the pronunciation. wont you t + y = ch not yet virtue did you d + y = j could you cordial sure! s + y = sh sugar visual z + y = zh wheres your usually
We dont link across thought groups -- only within them. By the light of the dawn, / we walked to the bus. vs. The dawn is beautiful.
Listen and PracticeListen to these sentences and practice saying them with thespeaker. Pay close attention to the sounds that seem to be blendedtogether. What do you hear? (Click on the sentence you hear.) 1. The plane is here. The play is here. 2. We arrive at 9. We arrived at 9. 3. Im going to bite it. Im going to buy it. 4. Keep playing. Key playing. 5. Did you know? Do you know? Main
EmphasisEmphasis is used to show extra emotion in our speech. By givingextra stress to different words in an English sentence, we can actuallychange the meaning of the sentence. To do this, we give thememphasis with an even higher tone, a longer stressed syllable, andlouder sound than a normally-stressed word.
What are the patterns?By raising the tone even more, making the stressed syllable evenlonger, and increasing the volume, we can show strong emotionwith emphasis. Howd you like the art exhibit? -- I LOVED it!Now look at these three sentences. Do they mean the same? I love you. I not him loves you. I love you. I think you are sexy. I love you. I love you only. Check the meaning.
We can change the meaning with emphasis by comparing the emphasizedword with its opposite (either within the sentence or not there). Im going to the store. (Regular stress on the last content word of the phrase / sentence) IM going to the store. (Not YOU, but ME!) I AM going to the store. (-Youre not going to the store. -I AM!) Im GOING to the store. (-Have you GONE to the store? -No, Im GOING to the store.) Im going TO the store. (not coming FROM it) Im going to THE store. (THE store=favorite or only store, known to both speaker and listener.) Im going to the STORE. (not the mall) Id like a SMALL drink, not a LARGE one.
We also use emphasis to change the focus of the conversation so oldinformation is not emphasized. (Regular stress is underlined, and emphasisis marked in CAPITALS.) Notice how none of the repeated words areemphasized unless theyre part of a compound that makes a different word. Andy: Im going to the store. Kris: What are you going to BUY? Andy: A book. Kris: Oh. So youre going to the BOOKstore. Andy: Yeah. Kris: What KIND of book are you getting? Andy: A COOKbook. Kris: What do you want to cook? Andy: Im going to cook a pot roast. Kris: Do you HAVE a pot roast? Andy: No, Ill have to go to the store to GET one.When you ask a question using emphasis on only one part of the question phrase,such as "What KIND of book?", think about what answer you want when you choosewhich word to emphasize.Another example is "-- How MANY books? -- THREE books." (By the way, if you say"HOW many books?" this is after youve heard the answer and didnt believe it so youwant to hear it again.)
Another use of emphasis is focusing on structure words instead ofcontent words (see Phrasal Stress for an overview of stressing contentwords). Again, this can be comparing something to its opposite or nearopposite, and old information is not emphasized. It can also be showingstrong agreement. With emphasis: As a statement alone, you would hear:-- Do you want pizza or spaghetti? - I want pizza and spaghetti.- I want pizza AND spaghetti! -- You dont know how to swim, do I know how to swim. you? -- I DO know how to swim. -- THAT was a good movie. -- That was a good movie. That WAS a good movie Main
Sounds of American English Vowels & ConsonantsThe vowels and consonants on the next fewpages are only a sampling. There areapproximately 43 sounds total, so listencarefully.
English Vowel Sounds long vowels Vowel IPA key word long a /eɪ/ cake long e /i/ keeplong vowels long i /ɑɪ/ bike long o /oʊ/ home long u /ju/ cute
short vowels Vowel IPA key word short a /æ/ cat short e /ɛ/ bedshort vowels short i /ɪ/ sit short o /ɑ/ top short u /ʌ/ sun
other vowels Vowel IPA key word other u /ʊ/ put other oo sound /u/ soonvowels aw sound /ɔ/ dog oi sound /ɔɪ/ join ow sound /aʊ/ down
r-controlled vowels Vowel IPA key word schwa+r /ɚ/ herr-controlled ar sound /ɑr/ car vowels or sound /ɔr/ more air sound /ɛr/ chair
English Consonant Sounds Consonant Sound Chart Consonant sound IPA key word liquid l sound /l/ letsounds r sound /r/ red
Consonant IPA key word sound b sound /b/ boy p sound /p/ pen stop d sound /d/ dosounds t sound /t/ top g sound /ɡ/ go k sound /k/ cat
Consonant sound IPA key word voiced th /ð/ them unvoiced th /θ/ think z sound /z/ zoofricative s sound /s/ sosounds zh sound /ʒ/ usual sh sound /ʃ/ she v sound /v/ very f sound /f/ face h sound /h/ he
Consonant sound IPA key word affricate j sound /ʤ/ joy sounds ch sound /ʧ/ cheese nasal m sound /m/ me sounds n sound /n/ no ng sound /ŋ/ singapproximants w sound /w/ we sounds y sound /j/ yes Main
American Pronunciation Consonant Sound Voiced r = /ər/ Practice Vowel Reduction Un-stressed vowel + r = vowel not pronounced. pr, br fr, vr tr ... aspirin comfortable documentary honorabletemperature different elementary miserable opera every interested laboratory beverage interesting deliberate favorableadjective only favorite separateadjective only
Reduction dont know Pattern Reductions are common in natural speech.Written reduced forms in advertisements, songs, personal writing, reflect natural spoken language. They are not standard written English. reduced form standard written form I dunno I dont know
Reduction + have Patternreduced form standard written form coulda could have shoulda should have woulda would have mighta might have musta must have
Reduction + me Patternwritten form standard written formgimme give melemme let me
Reduction + of Patternreduced form standard written form kinda kind of kindsa kinds of lotta lot of lotsa lots of
Reduction + to Pattern reduced form standard written formreflects natural spoken language gotta got to hafta have to hasta has to wanna want to gonna going to oughta ought to
Reduction + you Patternreduced form standard written form getcha get you gotcha got you betcha bet you doncha dont you waddya What are you...? waddya What do you...?
Listen to the following sentences as they are spoken normally, then listen again to the correct pronunciation of each1 C’mon! Sko! Come on! Let’s go!2 Kwee geddit? Can we get it?3 Jeet? No, joo? Nachet. Did you eat? No, did you? Not yet.4 Jlaik smore? Would you like some more?5 I shoulda tol joo. I should have told you.6 Ledder gedda bedda Let her get a better water wader heeder. heater.7 How to wreck a nice How to recognize speech. beach.
8 Hole dana sek’nt! Hold on a second!9 Haeoja ly kuh liddul more How would you like a little more?10 They doe neev’n lye kit. They don’t even like it.11 Kanai geddalla vum? Can I get all of them? Some Summuvum? of them?12 No, nunnuvum. No, none of them.13 Zee coming? Is he coming?14 Wooden eye? Can chew? Wouldn’t I? Can’t you? Diddee? Did he?15 Tayki deezee! Take it easy!
16 He shudn na done it. He shouldn’t have done it.17 Fregg zample, frinnstance…… For example, for instance……..18 Soda speak…….. So to speak…….19 Congrajulations! Congratulations.20 Super salad? Soup or salad? Main
Glossary of terms par·en·thet·i·cal (prn-tht-kl) adj. also par·en·thet·ic (-k) 1. Set off within or as if within parentheses; qualifying or explanatory: a parenthetical remark. 2. Using or containing parentheses. n. A parenthetical word, phrase, or remark.Eigenvalues plural of ei·gen·val·ue (Noun) (Mathematics) Maths Physics one of the particular values of a certain parameter for which a differential equation or matrix equation has an eigenfunction. In wave mechanics an eigenvalue is equivalent to the energy of a quantum state of a system
Liquid soundsliquid, in phonetics, a consonant sound in which the tongue produces apartial closure in the mouth, resulting in a resonant, vowel-like consonant,such as English l and r. Liquids may be either syllabic or non-syllabic; i.e.,they may sometimes, like vowels, act as the sound carrier in a syllable. Ther in “father” and the l in “rattle” are syllabic; the r in “rim” and the l in “lock”are non-syllabic.Fricative sounds fricative, in phonetics, a consonant sound, such as English f or v, produced by bringing the mouth into position to block the passage of the airstream, but not making complete closure, so that air moving through the mouth generates audible friction.
Affricate sounds affricate, also called semiplosive, a consonant sound that begins as a stop (sound with complete obstruction of the breath stream) and concludes with a fricative (sound with incomplete closure and a sound of friction). Examples of affricates are the ch sound in English chair, which may be represented phonetically as a t sound followed by sh; the j in English jaw (a d followed by the zh sound heard in French jour or in English azure); and the ts sound often heard in German and spelled with z as in zehn, meaning ten.Approximants sounds The four English approximant sounds (the l sound, r sound, w sound and y sound) are created by constricting the vocal tract slightly, but not so much that the air becomes turbulent as it passes through.