Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Today is all about you. I'm going to take your videos and you guys are going to help me teach English today. We're going to talk about what makes American English sound American. we're going to talk about speaking with ease as you speak English. A couple months ago, I asked you, here on YouTube, to record a conversation. I wanted to use you guys as examples to see what sounds great, and what we can improve to sound even better, when speaking English. What are some of the habits that non-native speakers have? As I teach, I'm going to be using your examples, real examples of non-native speakers of English. At the end of the video, you get to see, in full, every video that every student submitted, and they're so great. At that point, you could be the coach. Use what you learned in this video and think about what sounds great for each student, and what could be improved. Then record yourself, and coach yourself too. I ask students in my Academy to record themselves regularly. You really can be a wonderful coach to yourself and improve an incredible amount by recording yourself, listening to it, critiquing it, and practicing some more. It's a cycle of continuous improvement and the more you know, the more you can coach yourself. And don't forget if you like this video, or you learn something new, like it and subscribe with notifications. Before we get into all that, I want to talk about how amazing you all are. I see you really working with your body to find relaxation and flow. I know that you studied the linking and the music of the conversation you studied. In short, you make me proud to be your online teacher. Thank you. So, here's the conversation I asked you to record. I'm going to use my student Bruno, whose native language is Brazilian Portuguese. He's a student in my Academy and I had the pleasure of working with him in a live classes recently. For the rest of the video, we're going to be over here at the desk so we can watch you guys, the students who submitted videos. Now, the first word in the conversation was: Hey. And it's a stressed word, so it's a good time to talk about that shape of stress. Up-down shape. Hey. You don't want it to be flat. And it's going to be one of the longer words. `Hey. It's not: hey, hey, hey. But: Hey. And in English, we have what's called a stressed-timed language, which means stress and the shape of the stressed syllable is very important. Contrast between long and short. Now, if your native language is syllable-timed, like, Arabic, for example, or Chinese, then this might be something that you need to work on. So we're going to take a look at some students who did this up-down shape well. Hey. Hey. Hey. Up-down shape. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. Again, that up-down shape. Hey. Hey. Hey. Beautiful shaping. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. The pitch here is higher. We still have that up-down shape. Hey. Hey. Their native languages are Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, Uzbek, and Japanese. Now this video wouldn't be all that useful if all I did was talk about things that you did well. It's also going to help students out there learn if we point out things that didn't sound perfect. And if I use a clip from your video to point out something that can be done better, please don't take it personally, it's important to know that wherever you are, wherever you're starting, that's okay. No one needs to feel bad about the mistakes they make. Mistakes are what we learn from to go forward to meet our goals. So one thing that I noticed is sometimes my Russian students have a heavier H than we have in American English, and rather than: hhh-- hey, hey, a really light sound like that, we get a little bit of a: hhh-- where there's a little bit more contact back here. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. It's subtle, but it's: hhhh-- a little bit of that sound which we don't have in American English. So we want more space in the back of the throat. Hey. Hey. Now the next phrase: What do you want to do tonight? It's so interesting. In American English, we have a lot of different reductions that we will do with this. For example: what do you want to-- will become, for many speakers: what do you wanna-- What do you wanna-- So we drop the T in 'what', links right into the D of 'do'. Wha-- duh-- and then we reduce the vowel in 'do' and 'you', wuh-- duh-- yuh-- and then 'want to' becomes 'wanna'. What do you wanna-- what do you wanna-- What do you want to do tonight? Very linked together, those reductions, everything's super smooth. So now we're going to take just: what do you want to-- And we're gonna listen to some students who did a really nice job with the reductions and linking of that phrase. The first two native languages are Portuguese and then we have Urdu. What do you want to-- What do you want to-- What do you want to-- What do you want to-- What do you want to-- What do you want to-- Again, that smoothness, the reduction: whuh duh-- the tongue just flaps there. It's just a flap between those vowels. What do you want to-- What do you want to-- What do you want to-- What do you want to-- What do you want to-- What do you want to-- What do you want to-- What do you want to-- Great. Now, as you hear just that phrase in isolation, are you thinking this is crazy? Are you thinking this is so sloppy and unclear? It is! And that's what we do in American English. We link everything to other, and we smooth it out, and we reduce some words. So what do you want to-- becomes: what do you wanna-- Now, we'll listen to some students who missed some of the reductions: What do you want to-- What do you want to-- What do you want to-- want to-- to-- to-- The word T-O, we almost never pronounce it: to-- to-- to-- We almost always will make that a reduction 'tuh'. Want to-- and of course, with 'want', it's very often to combine those into wanna, with no T whatsoever. But the TO reduction is important. It's almost always done in American English. Her native language was Russian now we're going to watch a student whose native language is Thai. What do you want to-- What do you want to-- What do you want to-- What do you-- do you-- So those are two words that it's not quite as strong as 'to', where that is just 100% of the time reduced. Do and you, it's not as common but it's still something that you'll hear and notice a lot, and when you do it, especially with a phrase and a casual conversation like this, what do you want to do? What do you want to-- what do you want to-- do you-- sounds better with schwas than: do you-- do you-- that sounds a little bit too full, DA-DA. What do you-- do you-- do you-- what do you-- what do you-- what do you-- what do you-- What do you want to-- What do you want to-- Now, in a lot of ways, this was great. I'm just pointing out that she made a stop T: what do you wanna-- when she could have just even dropped that T. When the word 'what' is followed by a word that begins with a D, it's not uncommon to just drop the T and link 'wha' on to the next word. What do-- What do-- What do you-- What do you-- Now, the word 'tonight'. What do you want to do tonight? Okay. There are two different pronunciations but first, the first thing I want to say about it is the beginning of the word: T-O, if you look the word up, the pronunciation in a dictionary that is not 'to', it's 'tuh', there is a schwa in that word. Lots of people like to say: tonight, today, tomorrow. That is not the pronunciation, we say: to-- to-- tonight, today, tomorrow. So watch that vowel. Tonight. So there, I just isolated the word: Tonight. Tonight. Tonight. Her native language is Russian, and I hear her saying: to-- to-- to-- Tonight. But it's: tuh. Tuh, Tonight. Tonight. Tonight. I love his placement but I definitely heard: Tonight. Tonight. To-- to-- to-- instead of: to-- to-- to-- Now the other pronunciation of this word. It can be a flap T. Do Tonight-- do to-- da-da-da-- You have to practice it with the word before but when the word before ends with certain sounds, it's pretty common to flap the T in tonight, today, tomorrow, and even together. What do you want to do tonight? Do tonight-- do tonight-- It was a vowel before, pretty common to make that a flap T to smooth it out a little bit more. What do you want to do tonight? Do tonight? Do tonight? Do tonight? Do tonight? Did you hear that? Do to-- do to-- do to-- He did the flap T. His native languages fula, and that was perfect. Do tonight. Do tonight? Do tonight? Do tonight? Do tonight? Again, flap T, a nice way to smooth that out. Do tonight. His native language is Serbian. Do tonight? Do tonight? Very clear flap T, nice job, her native language is Spanish. What else about the word 'tonight'? Okay the final T. I don't want that to be dropped. Tonigh-- that's different than how we would do it. We might do it with a stop T, tonight, and that can sound like a dropped T, but it's not. The stop of air is abrupt, the word kind of feels like it gets cut off, tonight, that's different from tonigh-- when the pitch falls off and goes down and sort of tapers, then it just sounds dropped, and we wouldn't do that in American English. We could do a light true T release but more common, we would make a stop T. Do tonight. Do tonight. Let's listen to a couple students who dropped the T. Do tonight? She did the flap T in 'tonight' I liked that, but she didn't put an ending consonant on. Do tonight? Do tonight? It needs to be: do tonight? Do tonight? Her native languages Vietnamese. Let's check out another student. Do tonight? Do tonight? Do tonight? Do tonight? I felt like the word ended before the T was put on. I didn't feel that abrupt stop. Do tonight. And when I do that even if it's at the end of the thought, I might even lift my tongue up into position for the T, not just cut it off, cut off the air in the vocal cords. And I saw that his mouth stayed open there was no mouth movement for the T. I didn't hear that abrupt stop, so dropped T there, his native languages Burmese. What do you want to do tonight? Okay, let's talk for a second about the most stressed word there. It's very natural, what do you want to do tonight, to bring the most stress to the verb. Tonight is an adverb, so it's also a content word, but you wouldn't really stress that unless you were really focusing on the time. What do you want to do tomorrow? No. What do you want to do tonight? Then you might stress it. But otherwise, it would be: what do you want to do tonight? And 'do' would be our peak of stress for that sentence. So peak of stress meaning loudest, meaning the highest part of the pitch, and I also like to describe it as it feels like the energy of the sentence is going up to that peak. What do you want to do tonight? And then after that peak, it falls away from it. What do you want to do tonight? What do you want to do tonight?