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  • Today, we're going to talk about music.

  • The music of language of English and how native speakers listen to it.

  • The stress, the up-down shape is the anchor for me when I'm listening, and it gives me that familiar structure.

  • Everything that I hear fits within this structure of stress.

  • Tom's going to teach you how to identify what native speakers identify when they're listening to English,

  • and how to use that to your advantage to be more easily understood when you're speaking English.

  • Who's Tom?

  • He's a standout teacher in Rachel's English academy, he coaches students every day,

  • and I have seen and heard the amazing progress that students can make when working with him.

  • First, he's going to talk about the music of English

  • and then he's going to use some clips from movies to illustrate what he's teaching you.

  • I know.

  • I know.

  • I know.

  • I know.

  • Hi! I'm Tom Kelly, a Rachel's English teacher with Rachel's English academy.

  • I work with students all over the world,

  • and there's one thing that I think really helps students speak more like native speakers,

  • and it has nothing to do with actually speaking.

  • It comes before speaking, and it's all about listening.

  • In order to speak like a native speaker, you really want to be able to listen like a native speaker.

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

  • Let's get started.

  • So what does it mean to listen like a native speaker?

  • Well, the first thing we want to think about is the fact that English is a stress timed language.

  • So what does that mean? It means that our syllables are going to be different lengths from one another.

  • Now, we're gonna have stressed syllables which are the longer syllables,

  • and we're going to have unstressed syllables which are shorter.

  • I'm going to pop in for a minute to try something new.

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  • Okay, let's get back to the lesson.

  • Here's how I like to think about stressed and unstressed syllables.

  • Unstressed syllables are quicker, they're flatter in vocal pitch, they use less energy.

  • Often that means they don't use as much movement from your articulators, your jaw, your tongue, your lips.

  • And they can be just a little less clear often than stressed syllables.

  • Alright, so that leaves stressed syllables.

  • What are they?

  • They're longer, they have more energy, they use more movement from the articulators, they're clearer.

  • And I think, probably, the most important part of a stressed syllable is the curve in the pitch of the voice.

  • Rachel calls this the shape of stress.

  • It's an up and down musical curve in the voice that happens on stressed syllables in American English.

  • So those stressed syllables with that up-down shape, those are my anchors,

  • and that's what gives me a familiar structure when I'm listening to English.

  • So great!

  • We know that stress syllables are longer,

  • they have this musical element with this up-and-down curve in the voice, and that unstressed syllables

  • are quicker, and flatter in vocal pitch.

  • Now what?

  • Well now, I have to tell you

  • that syllables are more important than words when it comes to spoken American English.

  • Now, what does that mean?

  • When you are reading English and you're looking at all the words on a page, the words are very important.

  • It's the words that are giving you that information

  • and you need them to be spaced out in order to read more easily.

  • Well, when we speak English, we don't really worry about any of those breaks in between words, do we?

  • We kind of mash everything together into one long word.

  • Yes, I was just working on a video on this topic!

  • When you read, the unit that you focus on is a word but when you're listening or speaking,

  • the unit isn't the word, it's a thought group.

  • And a thought group is any collection of words between breaks when speaking.

  • It can be really short, you can have a one-word thought group, like 'hi!'

  • or it can be much longer, a very long sentence with no breaks.

  • or it can be much longer, a very long sentence with no breaks.

  • For example...

  • Let's take the phrase: I'll see you later.

  • I'll see you later.

  • How many words are in there?

  • I'll see you later.

  • There's four words.

  • I'll see you later.

  • But when we speak it: I'll see you later.

  • I'll see you later.

  • I'll see you later.

  • There's really only sounds, like there's one word.

  • So the syllables, these stressed syllables are the important part.

  • That's what we want to bring out in our sentences, in our phrases, so that our listeners can understand us,

  • and that's what native speakers are listening for.

  • They're listening for the stressed syllables.

  • Now, I'll see you later.

  • How can we tell what the stressed syllables are?

  • I'll see you later.

  • I'll see you later.

  • What did we say about stressed syllables?

  • They have that up-and-down curve in the pitch of the voice.

  • How many up-and-down curves in my voice do you hear?

  • I'll see you later.

  • I'll see you later.

  • I'll see you later.

  • Two.

  • See, la--, those are the important syllables.

  • Those are the stressed syllables in the content words in that phrase.

  • I'll see you later.

  • I'll see you later.

  • Now, another thing to think about that proves again

  • that syllables are more important than words

  • is that a four-word phrase can take the exact same amount of time that it takes a four syllable word to say.

  • What did I just say?

  • Four words will take just as long to say as one word?

  • Yes! Because it's the syllables that are important.

  • Let's take an example like: vulnerable, vulnerable.

  • There's four syllables in that word: vulnerable.

  • How many stressed syllables do you hear?

  • Vulnerable.

  • Vulnerable.

  • Just one, right?

  • That first syllable has that up-and-down quality in the voice.

  • Vul-- vulnerable.

  • Vulnerable.

  • Now, let's take a phrase: give it to me.

  • Give it to me.

  • Four words, each word is one syllable, so four syllables in that phrase.

  • Give it to me.

  • Give it to me.

  • Again, can you hear the up-and-down quality in one of those words?

  • Give it to me.

  • Give, give it to me.

  • So we have the first word, the first syllable, stressed.

  • Give, give it to me.

  • Vulnerable.

  • Vulnerable.

  • Give it to me.

  • They both have the exact same music and they both take the exact same amount of time to say.

  • Once you know the music and rhythm pattern of a phrase or word like that,

  • all of a sudden, you can speak the music of a bunch of different phrases and words.

  • Let's look at a few of them.

  • Confession.

  • Confession.

  • I love it.

  • I love it.

  • I'll have one.

  • I'll have one.

  • Uhh--

  • Uhh--

  • Do you hear that it's the same music under all of these phrases and words?

  • He did it.

  • He did it.

  • I know that.

  • I know that.

  • Uhh--

  • Productive.

  • Productive.

  • Uhh--

  • Let's listen to all of them right in a row.

  • Confession. I love it. I'll have one. He did it. I know that. Productive.

  • Uhh-- uhh--

  • It's all the same music.

  • Listen for that stressed syllable in phrases and words and that's what you want to begin imitating,

  • once you've started to hear it.

  • Now, what's awesome is there is so much material out there

  • that you can listen to to get a sense for the musicality, to begin listening in this way,

  • to begin listening like a native speaker.

  • So rachel actually made a video about how to use youglish.Com to practice your pronunciation.

  • This is a great tool to use to

  • begin listening like a native speaker so that you can imitate with more precision

  • and clarity and native speaker quality.

  • But let's go ahead and take a little bit of time here to

  • listen to some tv and film clips

  • and see if we can hear the music, hear the rhythm, hear the important stressed syllables.

  • The phrase is: I know.

  • I know.

  • How many stressed syllables do you hear?

  • I know.

  • Just one.

  • Know, right?

  • All of them are going to say the exact same musical rhythm pattern here.

  • Now, everyone is completely unique, they may shift exactly the way that they're expressing themselves

  • with these words, but the rhythm, that's stressed syllable, that up down quality in the voice,

  • that musical quality is there for all of them.

  • Let's listen again.

  • How about this phrase?

  • How many stressed syllables do you hear?

  • You're the best.

  • You're the best.

  • I just hear that up and down curve in the voice on: best, best.

  • So that's our stressed syllable, that's the important syllable.

  • You're the best. You're the best.

  • Are you starting to hear that music?

  • Awesome!

  • So now, let's make it a little bit more complicated. Let's go to some longer sentences.

  • In this first clip, let's listen for where are the stressed syllables?

  • What are the syllables that have that up-and-down curve in the voice?

  • Everything happens for a reason.

  • Everything happens for a reason.

  • Did you hear it? I heard three.

  • Everything happens for a reason.

  • Uuhh-- uuhh--

  • you want to listen for that music. Where are the important syllables?

  • One thing that can be really useful is listening to a sentence, a phrase, a word three,

  • four times in a row and you begin to hear the music underneath the words.

  • Let's listen to this one three times in a row.

  • Everything happens for a reason.

  • Everything happens for a reason.

  • Everything happens for a reason.

  • Uhh--

  • everything happens for a reason.

  • Are you beginning to hear it?

  • Let's go to another sentence.

  • Uhh--

  • Uhh--

  • Do you hear that? He refused to believe in coincidence.

  • Three stressed syllables, all connected into one long word,

  • but those three syllables give us the meaning and the music.

  • He refused to believe in coincidence.

  • Let's try one more.

  • Find a happy place.

  • Uuhh--

  • uuhh-- hopefully, you're beginning to hear that music underneath the American English being spoken.

  • And once you begin to hear it and really listen for it, you'll be able to imitate it with a lot more precision,

  • and you'll sound much more like a native speaker, the more music you can bring in to your English.

  • This week take some time when you're listening to a podcast

  • or watching a show or movie in American English to think about the music of what you're hearing.

  • Remember how tom was taking sentences and breaking them down into uuhh,

  • just the melody on a single sound, no words.

  • Listen to what you're hearing as you're listening to that podcast and think about:

  • what would this phrase sound like if I just set it on 'uh', if I took out all the words?

  • Uuhh--

  • Again, there is so much material out there to practice with. I really recommend using youglish.Com.

  • It's a great resource to practice the words and phrases that you want to be able to say.

  • Alright, that's everything for this video.

  • Thank you so much for watching and thank you so much for using Rachel's English.

  • Huge thanks to tom for making this video.

  • You know, tom actually spends a lot more time with students these days than I do.

  • A lot of my time goes towards making videos for my youtube channel or running my online school.

  • Tom is actually working with students every day, coaching them,

  • helping them improve and because of that,

  • I really value his opinion when it comes down to what works and what helps students.

  • Alright guys, thanks for studying with me and tom.

  • That's it and thanks so much for using Rachel's English.

Today, we're going to talk about music.