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  • In today's video you're going to learn English with movies, and when we study this way,

  • you'll be able to understand American movies and TV effortlessly, without subtitles.

  • Today's video uses the trailer for the movie Top Gun: Maverick.

  • You know, this movie was supposed to be out this month for a summer blockbuster, but because

  • of the coronavirus, it got pushed back to December. We'll see what happens.

  • We're going to go as in-depth as we can on the way Americans speak, how they speak,

  • so you'll not only be able to understand everything, but you're going to understand what Americans do

  • with English, in a way that will allow you to imitate perfectly. You might be the next Tom Cruise.

  • Maybe so, sir.

  • We're going to be doing this all summer.

  • June through August, stick with me every Tuesday, they're all great scenes and there's going to be so

  • much to learn that can transform the way you speak and understand English.

  • And as always, if you like this video or you learn something, please like and subscribe with notifications.

  • You're going to watch the clip then we're going to do a full pronunciation analysis together.

  • This is going to help so much with your listening comprehension

  • when it comes to watching English movies in TV. But there's going to be a training section.

  • You're going to take what you've just learned and practice repeating it, doing a reduction, flapping a T,

  • just like you learned in analysis. Okay, here's the scene.

  • Thirty plus years of service. Combat medals. Citations.

  • Only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last forty years.

  • Yet you can' get a promotion, you won't retire.

  • Despite your best efforts, you refuse to die.

  • You should be at least a two-star admiral by now.

  • Yet you are here.

  • Captain.

  • Why is that?

  • It's one of life's mysteries, sir.

  • The end is inevitable, Maverick. Your kind is headed for extinction.

  • Maybe so, sir.

  • But not today.

  • And now the analysis.

  • Thirty plus years of service.

  • Okay to start, let's go ahead and write out thirty and plus. It would almost always be written this way

  • with the digit and then the plus sign, but as we talked about the sounds, we'll write it out.

  • Now you probably noticed that the T in thirty is a flap T.

  • This follows the rules in that it comes after an R before a vowel. Like in dirty, this is a T that we would flap.

  • So rather than being ttt, a true T, the tongue simply flaps against the roof of the mouth. Thirty da-da-da thirty.

  • Thirty. Thirty. Thirty plus--

  • Thirty plus--

  • Thirty plus--

  • And we have first syllable stress on thirty.

  • Thirty, so stressed, then unstressed, the ending unstressed EE sound. Thirty plus--

  • Thirty plus-- thirty plus-- thirty plus years of service.

  • Some stress on plus, then we also have stress on years, and ser--vice.

  • So of and --vice, are both unstressed. Thirty plus years of service.

  • Thirty plus years of service.

  • Thirty plus years of service.

  • Thirty plus years of service.

  • Thirty plus years of service. So those are our longer syllables with the up-down shape of stress.

  • The other syllables are going to be shorter, but everything links together we don't want to feel

  • any separation between the words. Thirty plus years of service, would not be natural sounding American English.

  • We need this contrast and then we also need the linking. Thirty plus years of service. No breaks there.

  • Thirty plus years of service.

  • Thirty plus years of service.

  • Thirty plus years of service.

  • Combat medals.

  • Okay, now in this little two-word phrase, you tell me what are the most stressed syllables?

  • Combat medals.

  • Combat medals.

  • Combat medals.

  • Combat medals. The most stress probably on combat, the adjective here describing the kind of medal.

  • Combat medals. And then also some stress on the noun. Combat medals. The second syllable of combat

  • is unstressed, it has a stop T, bat bat bat, because the next word begins with a consonant.

  • So again, the T is not released. Combat medals. Medals.

  • Combat medals.

  • Combat medals.

  • Combat medals.

  • This D can also be a flap just like thirty, medals, rararara, because it comes between two vowel sounds.

  • Here, it's the EH as in bed vowel and then the schwa L combination. Medals, medals, medals. Combat medals.

  • The vowel here in the unstressed syllable is AH, but we don't want it to be AA,

  • that would be stressed, we want it to be ah, ah, combat, combat medals.

  • Combat medals.

  • Combat medals.

  • Combat medals. Citations.

  • Citations. Do you feel how it's that middle syllable that's stressed? Citations.

  • The letter A here is TAY, the AY as in say diphthong. That letter A can have several different pronunciations.

  • Here it's: ay, ay, citations. The letter C makes the S sound.

  • Citations.

  • Citations.

  • Citations.

  • The letter I makes the AI diphthong. The letter I, so many of the letters, almost all of the letters in American English

  • can have various different pronunciations, which makes English so hard you can't necessarily tell

  • the pronunciation by looking at it. Citations. SH schwa N, and then Z, a weak ending Z sound.

  • Citations.

  • Citations.

  • Citations.

  • Citations.

  • The stress is really important in American English. We want to know what stressed, and what's unstressed,

  • so that we can feel that we make a peak on that stressed syllable. We definitely don't want all syllables

  • to feel the same. Citations. That would have the right pitch, but not the right rhythm.

  • It's not DA-DA-DA but it's da-DA-da. The first one is very short and the last one is very short. Citations. Citations.

  • Citations.

  • Citations.

  • Citations.

  • Also I should point out this T in ta-- is a true T because it starts a stressed syllable.

  • So if a T starts a stressed syllable, and it's not part of the TR cluster, then it will be a true T. Tay, tay, citations.

  • Citations.

  • Citations.

  • Citations.

  • Only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last forty years.

  • Okay, now we have a much longer phrase. I want you to listen to it a few times and see

  • what you think is the most stressed word.

  • Only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last forty years.

  • Only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last forty years.

  • Only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last forty years.

  • I hear it is the last word. In the last forty years-- years-- he sort of holds on to the beginning Y consonant a little bit.

  • Years. Draws out the length and it definitely has that up-down shape. Now certainly, we have other syllables

  • that are stressed in the sentence, but I think this is the most stressed in the phrase.

  • Only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last forty years.

  • Only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last forty years.

  • Only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last forty years.

  • Let's look at our other stressed syllables and do we have any reductions?

  • Only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last forty years.

  • Only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last forty years.

  • Only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last forty years.

  • Everything links together really smoothly. So let's take it bit by bit.

  • Only man to shoot down--

  • Only man to shoot down--

  • Only man to shoot down--

  • Only man to shoot down-- So we have stress on OH. Only man-- not on the word 'to', that's a preposition,

  • usually not going to be stressed. Shoot and down, both have some stress and length.

  • Did you notice that the word 'to' wasn't pronounced 'to' it was reduced. Man to-- man to--

  • Flap T or a D sound and the schwa. Man to-- man to-- only man to--

  • Only man to--

  • shoot down--

  • I have a friend named Amanda, and we often as a nickname, as a way to shorten it, call her just 'Manda'.

  • Manda. And it sounds just like these two words together: man to-- Manda, Manda, Manda,

  • when you make that a flap T.

  • Only man to--

  • shoot down--

  • Only man to shoot down--

  • Only man to shoot down--

  • So we have two letters T here. The first one is a flap T, or it's sort of like a D sound, and then the second T

  • is a stop T. Shoot down. Which means we stop the air, but we don't release the T, that would be shoot down.

  • We definitely don't hear that. It's just shoot down, shoot down.

  • Shoot down--

  • Now a word of caution with the word down, a lot of my students, especially students whose native language is

  • Chinese, but not just those students, have a hard time with the word down. It's the OW diphthong,

  • OW, plus the N consonant. And they kind of mix the N into the diphthong and nasalize it. Down.

  • We don't want that at all. We want it to be completely un-nasal in the diphthong.

  • Dow-- Dow-- Dow-- nnn-- Dow-- nnn--

  • And then you can practice it that way splitting off the N, make sure you're not going down,

  • and mixing the two into a nasal diphthong sound. Down, down, shoot down.

  • Shoot down-- shoot down-- shoot down three enemy planes.

  • Then we have three words, and they're all stressed, so we have quite a few words and syllables that are

  • stressed in this sentence. Three enemy planes. I want to point out that even in a stressed word,

  • if it has more than one syllable, it will have unstressed syllables. So the only syllable stressed here is EH.

  • Enemy. Nemy. Nemy. Nemy. Then the rest of the syllables are unstressed and said very quickly.

  • Three enemy.

  • Three enemy.

  • Three enemy.

  • Three enemy.

  • Now, we have a vowel to vowel link here. We have the EE vowel in three and the EH vowel in enemy.

  • Some students feel like they need to split that up a little bit to make it clear, the change between words,

  • you don't need to do that in English. And we don't want you to do that. We want it to glide together smoothly.

  • Three enemy. Three enemy.

  • If you have a hard time linking them together, it can help to think of, in this particular case, with this particular link,

  • a Y consonant. So you could think of the word as being yenemy, three enemy, three enemy, three enemy.

  • If you link it together, that might help you smooth it out you don't want to make a very big heavy Y,

  • but a little light Y glide consonant to link those two words together,

  • might help you make a smooth transition.

  • Three enemy.

  • Let's talk a little bit about the consonant cluster here. It's TH unvoiced and R consonant.

  • Thr, thr, thr, thr, thr, thr. His TH almost has like a T quality in it. I think when I listen to it on repeat.

  • But it's definitely not: three, three, three, that's something that a lot of non-native speakers do, they substitute in TR

  • instead of THR and then it sounds like a tree, you know, like, oh, a tree. But we don't want to be saying tree.

  • We want to be saying three , three , three. So let your tongue tip come lightly through your teeth,

  • don't build up the air, don't put pressure there, don't bite on the tongue at all, that will make it sound more like a T.

  • We want th-- the easy passage of air. Three, three, three enemy planes.

  • Three enemy planes-

  • in the last forty years.

  • In the last forty years. So in and the, both said so incredibly quickly.

  • Let's just listen to: in the last--

  • in the last--

  • I actually think it sounds like the TH is dropped. In the, in the, in the, in the, in the, in the.

  • It's just IH as in sit, N linking right into the schwa. In the, in the, in the, in the, in the, in the.

  • You can only do this if you do it very, very quickly. It's low in pitch, it's low in volume, try that.

  • In the, in the, in the, in the. You should be able to do it without moving your jaw at all.

  • Your lips, your face, should be totally relaxed, the only thing moving is the tongue inside the mouth.

  • You want to take away all the extra movement that

  • you don't need so that you can say this as quickly as you need to. In the, in the, in the, in the last forty years.

  • The last forty years.

  • The last forty years.

  • The last forty years.

  • Okay, again, we're going to write out the word 'forty'.

  • Our T again is a flap T because it comes after an R and before a vowel.

  • The vowel is the EE as in she vowel. Forty, forty, forty. Thirty, thirty, thirty.

  • These all have a flap T which can sound like a D. Dadadada forty forty.

  • Forty--

  • years.

  • Now we have some stressed words other than years, let's listen to the phrase again:

  • In the last forty years--

  • In the, in the, last forty, and then we've already marked years. So the unstressed syllable of forty is unstressed.

  • We have stress in the word last with the AA vowel. Notice the T is dropped there.

  • It's very common to drop the T in an ending cluster like ST when the next word begins with a consonant,

  • the next word begins with F, so we're gonna drop that T to smoothly connect. Last forty, last forty.

  • Last forty--

  • So out of all of our letters T here on this page, we have a flap T, in we have a stop T in combat,

  • we have a true T in citations, because it begins a stressed syllable, but then the next T is actually

  • part of the TION ending, and that's an SH sound. In the word to, the reduction is da, flap T, not a true T.

  • In the word shoot, it's a stop T. And in the word last, its dropped.

  • So out of all of the T sounds in this particular part of this conversation, there's only one true T.

  • And then we even have as the T and the TH, it's fully pronounced in one case and then dropped in another.

  • So you really need to study how Americans speak and what happens with reductions and linking

  • and dropping sounds, in order to figure out how they do things so smoothly.

  • But after you study this, and you look at this part of the video several times, you'll be able to go back

  • and imitate that audio, and that's when it really gets fun,

  • when you can not only understand what's happening with American English, but when

  • you can imitate it yourself in a way that sounds natural. It really can feel freeing to do that.

  • And that's what this video series is all about this summer.

  • Last forty years. Last forty years. Last forty years. Yet you can't get a promotion--

  • Okay in this next phrase, what's the most stressed word do you think?

  • Yet you can't get a promotion--

  • Yet you can't get a promotion--

  • Yet you can't get a promotion--

  • I'm feeling can't, and promotion, as being really stressed. Yet you, really low in volume, low in energy,

  • harder to hear, right? Let's listen to just those two words together.

  • Yet you--

  • Yet you--

  • Not very clear, but that's what we need. We need that less clear to provide contrast with our more

  • clear syllables. That's what makes up the character of American English. So we have yet, with the stop T,

  • yet, yet, yet, yet, Yet you-- Yet you-- Yet you-- Yet you--

  • Yet you--

  • can't get a promotion--

  • Can't get a promotion-- Okay we have an N apostrophe T ending in the word can't.

  • That can be pronounced three ways. One of them is can't, with a true T, one of them is can't, with a stop T,

  • and one of them is can with the T totally dropped. I'm having a hard time deciding if I think it's a stop T,

  • or a dropped T, because if I listen to it three times thinking it's a stop T, that's what I hear.

  • If I listen to it three times thinking it's dropped, that's what I hear. So at any rate, it's not a true T.

  • We'll call it a stop T, very subtle, very quick, can't get, can't get, can't get, can't get, can't get, can't get.

  • Not a big lift but just a tiny little break there before the G: can't get, can't get.

  • Can't get--

  • The vowel is the AA vowel. When it's followed by N it's not really a pure AA anymore, it's not ca-- ca--

  • but cauh-- it starts with a little less jaw drop and the back of the tongue relaxes, which brings in a sound

  • sort of like UH. Ca-uh, ca-uh, can't can't can't can't can't.

  • And we know that this is different than