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  • In this American English pronunciation video, we're going to study the path of the voice

  • and placement.

  • One of the things I often talk about with my students is placement. I sometimes feel

  • like their voice only comes from their head, and is placed very much so here, whereas my

  • voice, when I speak English, rests more here. And I feel the placement a little lower.

  • Let's talk a little bit about what happens when you're speaking. So, the diaphragm, here,

  • an involuntary muscle, just like you're heart, tenses up, which pulls down a little bit.

  • That turns your lungs into a vacuum, and it sucks the air in. When your diaphragm relaxes,

  • the air then comes out. Your vocal cords here are what make the sound. Think of blowing

  • up a balloon, and taking the neck of it, pulling it wide so it makes that annoying squeak sound.

  • That's what your vocal cords are. So, your lungs are the balloon, and your vocal cords

  • are the mouth of the balloon. And this pressure here is the energy of the voice.

  • So this is the energy, the fuel of the voice, and up here we have the articulators: the

  • tongue, the teeth, the jaw. That takes the core sound made by the vocal cords, and shapes

  • them into the sounds of American English.

  • I feel like many of my students lack a connection to this fuel, to the energy. And they speak

  • only from their face. Of course their body works in the same way, they're bringing in

  • the air, but they seem to have no attachment to it. And their voice seems completely detached

  • from their bodies. But when I speak, I feel my voice very attached to my body.

  • One exercise you can do to try to focus on your body rather than your face when you're

  • speaking, is just to exaggerate the movement here, tss, tss, of your abdoment, tss, zz,

  • tss, zz, to connect more to a lower sensation of the breath. Now you wouldn't want to do

  • that when you're speaking, but it could be a good exercise for you, to get you into your body.

  • So here we have the fuel and here the articulation. Now, we want our articulators to be very relaxed.

  • If there's any tension, in the throat, for example, it will bring the voice up, and the

  • placement up, and then we loose the connection here to the fuel of the voice, to the body.

  • We're currently working on a series of videos dealing with relaxation to help you get the

  • voice out of your face and head and into your body. In the mean time, just play around with

  • the idea of pulling the air all the way down, ss, zz, and fueling your voice from here,

  • a lower spot in your body.

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

In this American English pronunciation video, we're going to study the path of the voice

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