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  • A Marriage story.

  • A great movie to learn English with -- the pace is good, the conversation is frank.

  • Today, were going to take a scene from this movie and do a full, in-depth analysis of everything that’s said,

  • looking at how it’s pronounced, why it sounds American, and go over idioms too.

  • Studying English this way will help your listening comprehension,

  • and it will also help you understand how to sound more natural speaking English.

  • First, let’s watch the whole scene.

  • Then well do our in-depth analysis.

  • Henry's teacher wants to meet with us.

  • You mean his L.A. teacher?

  • Can you, uh, answer the email so we can set a time?

  • Yeah. I've been distracted.

  • I understand. I just want to rule out everything, you know, with his reading.

  • I just think he's a little over-anxious. I think he wants it too much.

  • He's off the charts in Math.

  • He quits too easily when things aren't easy for him. You know, he's like us. He's stubborn.

  • He's still a lousy Monopoly player because he tries to save all his money.

  • And now, the analysis.

  • Henry's teacher wants to meet with us.

  • What are our most stressed syllables in this phrase?

  • Everything links together really smoothly, but we have some peaks where the melody goes up.

  • Henry's teacher wants to meet with us.

  • Henry's teacher wants to meet with us.

  • Henry's teacher wants to meet with us.

  • Henry's teacher-- I'm feeling a lot of stress there.

  • Teacher wants to meet with us.

  • Listen again and notice how every word slides right into the next word with no breaks.

  • This linking is really important to the character of American English.

  • Henry's teacher wants to meet with us.

  • Henry's teacher wants to meet with us.

  • Henry's teacher wants to meet with us.

  • So after the peak of stress on 'teach' we have three syllables, cher wants to--,

  • that are flatter in pitch, said more quickly,

  • wants to--, the word 'to' reduces, it's not 'to' it's 'tuh' with the schwa.

  • Wants to-- wants to-- wants to-- wants to--

  • Cher wants--

  • Teacher wants to meet with us.

  • Then we have a stop T in 'meet' that's because the next word begins with the W.

  • So it's not, meet with, but it's meet with, meet with, that tiny little break, little lift, is what we feel as the T.

  • Meet with us. Meet with us.

  • Meet with us.

  • You mean his L.A. teacher?

  • What about this next question? What happens with the melody?

  • You mean his L.A. teacher?

  • You mean his L.A. teacher?

  • You mean his L.A. teacher?

  • You mean his-- a little bit of up-down shape there. You mean his L.A. teacher?

  • Then we have most of our stress on A. Whenever we have an acronym like this,

  • where we're saying the letters, LA, JFK, etcetera, it's always the last letter that gets the most stress.

  • L.A. teacher? We're going up in pitch, it's a yes/no question, and those usually go up in pitch,

  • but since it's going up in pitch rather than feeling the stress as an up-down shape, it's sort of the opposite.

  • L.A. teacher? It's a scoop down and then up.

  • You mean his L.A. teacher?

  • You mean his L.A. teacher?

  • You mean his L.A. teacher?

  • You mean his L.A. teacher?

  • Can you, uh--

  • Can you, uh-- Can you, uh--

  • That little utterance, very smooth, no breaks in the voice. Can you, uh--

  • And we have that peak on 'you', the word 'can' is not 'can' it's kuhn.

  • I would write that with the schwa, said very quickly, can, can, can, can you, can you, can you, uh...

  • Can you, uh--

  • Can you, uh--

  • Can you, uh--

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  • Okay, back to the analysis.

  • Can you, uh--

  • Can you, uh--

  • Can you, uh--

  • Uh-- This is the UH as in butter vowel,

  • and it's the sound that Americans make when we're thinking. Uh, uhm, for example.

  • Can you, uh--

  • Can you, uh--

  • Can you, uh, answer the--

  • Answer the-- Then she does a little break here, either because she's drinking, or while she's thinking.

  • Answer the-- So 'an' is the most stressed syllable, and the two unstressed syllables, swer, the,

  • just sort of fall down in pitch from that peak. The letter W, there's no W sound here.

  • Answer the-- answer the--

  • Answer the--

  • The word 'answer' will be written phonetically with the AA vowel, and then N,

  • but when AA is followed by N, it's not quite pure.

  • That would be AA, An--, an--, answer.

  • And that's not how we say it, we say answer. So the back of the tongue relaxes,

  • we move through a sound that's sort of like the UH as in butter sound, aauhh-- aauhh-- aauhh--

  • answer, answer the--

  • Answer the--

  • answer the--

  • answer the email.

  • Email, email. Going up, stress on E. Email.

  • So we can set a time, and then intonation goes up.

  • It's almost like this is a question, and then the second half is also a question.

  • Email, email, so we can set a time.

  • Email so we can set a time?

  • Email so we can set a time?

  • Email so we can set a time?

  • The L in 'email' is a dark L. It comes after the diphthong in that syllable,

  • and you don't need to lift your tongue tip for this dark L.

  • Email, uhl, uhl, uhl.

  • Keep your tongue tip down, that will help you focus on the tongue position,

  • it's the back of the tongue that makes that dark sound.

  • Don't round your lips.

  • A lot of people want to make something sort of like: email, where the front part of the mouth makes

  • the sound, and then it sounds sort of like O or a W sound, but it should be: uhl, uhl,

  • a dark sound to the dark L. Email, email, email.

  • Email--

  • so we can set a time?

  • Now, let's look at this word 'can'. We just had it up here,

  • and it was pronounced: kuhn,

  • how is it pronounced the second time?

  • So we can set a time?

  • So we can set a time?

  • So we can set a time?

  • Can, can, can. So fast, so unclear. So we can, so we can, so we can, so we can, so we can set a time?

  • I guess I'll write it with all of those sounds, but it's just so fast, none of it's very clear, is it?

  • So we can set a time?

  • So we can set a time?

  • So we can set a time?

  • Set a time? A flap T links these two words together.

  • We pronounce the T as a flap T when it comes between two vowels,

  • and that's what happens when we link these words. Set a time?

  • Set a time?

  • Set a time?

  • Set a time?

  • Yeah. I've been distracted.

  • Yeah-- Stress on 'yeah' up down. Yeah. I've been distracted.

  • Couple peaks of stress there.

  • Yeah. I've been distracted.

  • Yeah. I've been distracted.

  • Yeah. I've been distracted.

  • 'I have' or 'I've', 'I've' is not pronounced that way, he doesn't really say the V sound.

  • I've been distracted.

  • I've been distracted.

  • I've been distracted.

  • I've been distracted.

  • I have noticed we do this sometimes when we're saying that word 'been' next. I have been--

  • one of the shortcuts is just to drop that V sound. I've been distracted. I've been, I've been, I've been.

  • So see if you can make that with no V sound at all, just linking the AI diphthong into the B.

  • That will help this transition be more smooth, it will help you make this less important word, less long.

  • And we need it to be short for that rhythmic contrast. That's so important in American English.

  • I've been distracted. Now here, we have EE, two E's but that makes the IH as in sit vowel, not the EE vowel.

  • I've been, I've been, I've been distracted.

  • I've been distracted.

  • I've been distracted.

  • I've been distracted.

  • The ED ending is pronounced as an extra syllable, IH plus D, when the sound before is a T or D.

  • So it's a whole extra syllable here, because it comes after a T.

  • Distracted. Distracted.

  • Distracted.

  • Distracted.

  • Distracted.

  • I understand.

  • I understand.

  • What are our most stressed syllables there?

  • I understand.

  • I understand.

  • I understand.

  • I understand. 'I' and 'un' and 'der', are all going towards the main stress there, 'stand'. I understand. I understand.

  • And this is lower in pitch, less energy in the voice.

  • I understand.

  • I understand.

  • I understand.

  • 'I' and 'uh', these two sounds here linked together really smoothly.

  • I under, I under-- Don't try to make any kind of distinction.

  • The words should slide together. That's okay. That smoothness is important in American English.

  • I under-- I understand.

  • I understand.

  • I understand.

  • I understand.

  • I just want to rule out everything, you know, with his reading.