Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Today you are getting the next video in the 100 most common words in English series,

  • this is video 5.

  • In this series, were studying the real pronunciation.

  • This is likely different from what you learned in English class.

  • You see, in American English, we have all sorts of words that are unstressed or even reduced:

  • that means we change the pronunciation.

  • The set of the 100 most common words in English contains many, many words that reduce.

  • If you haven't already seen video 1

  • and the other videos in this series, I do suggest

  • you start there.

  • These videos build one on top of the next,

  • so click here to watch video one.

  • Todaywere starting with number 41, the word 'so'.

  • Does this word reduce?

  • Yes it does.

  • Fully pronounced, it has the OH as in NO diphthong.

  • So, so.

  • don't think so.

  • SoYour hair looks so good.

  • So.

  • But you'll hear it reduced to 'suh

  • when its used as a filler word at the beginning of a sentence.

  • As a filler word, the word doesn't really have meaning.

  • For exampleSo what do you think?

  • So what do you think? So. So.

  • So you're going to need another one.  So. So.

  • You'll definitely hear Americans do this.

  • Number 42:  Up.

  • Hey, we found another word that doesn't reduce.

  • This word will be stressed.

  • We're on number 42 of the 100 most common words in English,

  • and this is only the third word that generally is always stressed.

  • How amazing that so many words are unstressed or reduce!

  • For this word, we have the UH as in BUTTER vowel and the P consonantUp.

  • Up.

  • P is a stop consonant,

  • which means we stop the air, up-,

  • and release it, pp.

  • The release is very light.

  • Up, up.

  • Sometimes we don't release stop consonants,

  • like if it's at the end of a thought group:

  • What's up?

  • What's up?

  • There I'm not releasing the P.

  • What's up?

  • Also we often skip the release if the next word begins with a consonant sound:

  • What's up, Mom?

  • What's up, Mom?

  • My lips came together for the P,

  • but then when they parted, rather than pp,

  • the light escape of air, I just went right into the M sound.

  • I think 'up' is so common because its used in so many phrasal verbs.

  • Crack upbreak upthrow up, act up,

  • creep up, butter up,

  • burn up, bone up, just to name a few.

  • There are so many phrasal verbs in English.

  • At the beginning of 2017, I made a new video every day going over phrasal verbs.

  • Click here to see that collection, or see the link in the video description.

  • Number 43:  Out.

  • Oh, this is funny.

  • This is another word that is common in phrasal verbs.

  • Work out, figure out, burn out, black out,

  • block out, stand outbring out.

  • Not surprising that some of these phrasal verb parts

  • are showing up on this list.

  • There are a bunch without.

  • And this word doesn't reduce.

  • We have the OW diphthongow,

  • and the T consonant, out.

  • Out.

  • And just like P, T is a stop consonant.

  • We don't usually release it: tt--

  • if it comes at the end of a thought group, or if the next word begins with a consonant.

  • Let's look at some examplesWatch out!

  • End of the phrase, an unreleased T.

  • Watch out.

  • I cut off the air, so it's not: watch ow.

  • Watch ow.

  • That would just sound like there was no T.

  • But with the abrupt stop, watch out!

  • Without the falling intonation, it sounds like a T to us.

  • Watch out.

  • You can't back out now.

  • Out now.

  • There, the T was followed by a word beginning with a consonant,

  • another Stop T.

  • Out now.

  • Out now.

  • T is specialif the next word begins with a vowel or diphthong, then we flap it.

  • A single rra-- against the roof of the mouth.

  • For exampleGet out of here.

  • Out of, out of.

  • Ra-- ra--

  • A flap T to connect the two words.

  • And did you notice the reduction of OF?

  • Yepthat's just the schwa.

  • 'Of' is word number 4 in the 100 most common words in English list.

  • Number 44.  The word IF.

  • This word is usually a conjunction and then, it's unstressed.

  • It's said very quickly.

  • Call me if you get lost.

  • Call me if you get lost.

  • Call me if you get lost.

  • Here, its part of a string of unstressed words.

  • Low in pitch, flat, said quickly.  If, if, if.

  • Me if you-- me if you-- call me if you get lost.

  • You might even hear the word reduced at the beginning of a sentence,

  • just the F sound attached to the next word, no vowel:

  • If you want to leavethat's okay.

  • If she doesn't carethat's okay.

  • Ff, ff, ff, if you wanna.

  • If she-- ff--

  • Reduced.

  • Number 45, the word about.

  • This word can be a preposition, an adverb, or an adjective.

  • It doesn't reduce, none of the sounds change.

  • Sometimes its stressed in a sentence,

  • for example, I was out and about and thought I'd stop by.

  • About, about.

  • Its longer and it has more volume, a higher pitch: out and about.

  • But it can also be unstressed:

  • It's all about the timing.

  • It's all about the timing.

  • About the, about the, about the,

  • it's lower in pitch and volume, and a little less clear than when it was stressed, about.

  • It's all about the timing.

  • About the, about the, about the.

  • So, it can be unstressed, but nothing changes, it doesn't reduce.

  • Since its a two-syllable word, it still has one syllable that's stressed,

  • that's a little clearer, even when the word is being used in an unstressed way.

  • Number 46.  The word 'who'.

  • We already talked about one question word, and that is the word 'what'.

  • That word can reducewe do drop the T if the next word begins with a D.

  • But generally, question words don't reduce.

  • Generallythey're stressed.

  • Who was that?

  • Who does she think she is?

  • When 'who' begins a question, it doesn't reduce.

  • It's the H sound and the OO as in BOO vowel.

  • Who, who.

  • But sometimes we use the word 'who' in the middle of a sentence.

  • Then it can reduce.

  • For exampleAnyone who wants to come can come.

  • Anyone who wants.

  • Anyone who wants.

  • Did you notice how I reduced that?

  • I dropped the consonant!

  • It was just the OO vowel.

  • Oo, anyone who. Anyone who wants.

  • This is a reduction you might hear Americans do.

  • Number 47:  The word 'get'.

  • A verb, this word is a content word and is generally stressed in a sentence.

  • So this is the 5th word we've found in our list of the 100 most common words in English

  • that I feel confident I can say is always stressed.

  • Just 5 out of 47!  Wow!

  • Unstressed and reduced words are so common!

  • Let's talk about the pronunciation.

  • G consonant, EH as in BED vowel, and the T.

  • We already talked about an ending T in out.

  • The same rules apply here because the T comes at the end of the word,

  • just after a vowel or diphthong.

  • If the word ends a thought group or is followed by a consonant,

  • it will be a Stop T.

  • Example: I'll get the biggest oneGet the, get the, get the.

  • Abrupt stop.

  • I'll get the biggest one.

  • If the next word begins with a vowel or a diphthong, then you will flap the T:

  • don't get it.

  • Get itget it, ra--, ra--

  • I don't get it.

  • Do you hear the FlapGet it.  I don't get it.

  • Number 48.  The word 'which'.

  • This word can be stressed or unstressed,

  • depending on how it's being used in a sentence.

  • But nothing changes, it doesn't reduce.

  • So, stressed, it's: which.

  • Which do you want?

  • Which, whichUp-down shape of stress.

  • Which, which.

  • But unstressedit's lower in pitch and flatwhich, which.

  • The movie, which I saw last night, was terrible.

  • The movie which I-- which, which, which, which.

  • Unstressed there, flat. Which. Which.

  • Let's talk about the pronunciation.

  • It begins with WH.

  • This can be pronounced two waysfirst, a pure W sound.

  • This is how I've been pronouncing it.

  • Wwww, which, which.

  • The other way is to pronounce it, I think is more old-fashioned, with a: hh-- hh-- hh--

  • sound before. A little escape of air first.

  • WhichWhichDo you hear that?  HHhh, which.

  • This is actually how my Mom pronounces WH- words,

  • and I made a video with her about these two possible pronunciations.

  • Click here or in the description below to see that video.

  • W, IH as in SIT vowel, and CH.

  • Which.

  • Which stressed, and which, which, unstressed.

  • Quick questionDid studying this word make you think of any other words?

  • Which and witch are homophones when you use the clean W for which.

  • That means they're two totally different words, different spellings, different meanings,

  • but they have the same pronunciation.

  • Number 49:  Go.  A verb.

  • Let's conjugate it:  I go, you go, she goes,

  • just add a light Z sound at the end: goes, goes, goes.

  • He goes, we go, they go.

  • Yes, in this form, I would say, this word is always stressed.

  • The G consonant and the OH diphthong.

  • Go.

  • Jaw drop, then lip rounding for the diphthong.

  • Oh.  GogoGoes.

  • But you know what?

  • There's another conjugation for this wordtheing form.

  • Going.

  • I'm going to go to the store.

  • I'm going to go to the mall.

  • There I'm using theing form and the infinitive.

  • Going to go.

  • Now, if you've seen any of my real-life English videos, or any of my speech analysis videos,

  • then you know the phrase 'going to' is very common,

  • and you know, we do reduce that.

  • What do we reduce it toDo you know?

  • Going to.

  • Let me say that in a sentence again: I'm going to go to the mall.

  • I'm gonna go.

  • There, did you hear it?

  • Gonna-- gonna-- gonna--

  • I'm going to go to the mall.

  • Right. It's 'gonna'.

  • One of the most common reductions in all of English.

  • Now, occasionally I get a comment from someone saying, 'gonnais not proper EnglishHmm.

  • Not true.

  • I would never tell anyone to write it.

  • Ok?  Don't write it!

  • But its perfectly natural and normal in spoken English.

  • It's properIt's a beautiful reduction!

  • I made a video several years ago

  • where I took a couple of presidential speeches.

  • And I found examples of gonna.

  • So even world leaders giving important speeches to large groups of people

  • use this reduction.

  • If you're interested in seeing that video, click here or in the description below.

  • What's the pronunciation of gonna?

  • First syllable is stressedWe have the G consonant,

  • the UH as in BUTTER vowel,

  • N, gun-- gun-- gun--

  • and then the schwa in the unstressed syllable.

  • Uh-- uh-- Gonna.  Gonna.

  • If you have not already noticed this reduction,

  • now that you've learned it,

  • you're gonna hear it all the time.  It's everywhere.

  • <