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  • In this American English pronunciation video, we're going to go over stress patterns in

  • three-syllable sentences.

  • I recently did a video on three-syllable words. There, we talked about the importance of rhythmic

  • contrast. It's true in sentences as well. In this video, we're going to compare sentences

  • and words that have the same amount of syllables: three syllables. Many of my students think,

  • when they see a bigger word, that they have to rush though it, because it's only one word.

  • But that doesn't really matter. A three-syllable word should take about as much time as three-syllable

  • sentence.

  • First, let's look at the stress patterns. If the stress is on the the first syllable,

  • the pattern is DA-da-da. LONG-short-short. DA-da-da. Example words: rational, popular.

  • Example sentence: Stay awhile. DA-da-da. Go for it. One thing my most advanced students

  • work on, is making the short syllables extremely short. So it's not 'awhile', it's awhile.

  • Low in pitch, really fast, quieter: stay a while [3x]. Go for it, for it, for it.

  • Go for it. These sentences are about the same length

  • as the words, and they feel the same rhythmically: stay a while, rational, go for it, popular. DA-da-da.

  • So, the word 'popular' can take as much time as the three words 'go for it.'

  • Another pattern is stress on the middle syllable. da-DA-da, example words: Decided. Example.

  • Example sentences: I want it, I saw you. Again, make the unstressed syllables as short

  • as you can: I want it, I, I, it, it. I want it. Notice I'm dropping the T in the

  • word 'want'. Native speakers will sometimes do this when the T follows an N. I saw you,

  • I, I, you, you. I saw you. da-DA-da. Again, these words and sentences feel the

  • same rhythmically. Decided. I want it. Example. I saw you. da-DA-da.

  • And the last stress pattern is da-da-DA, stress on the last syllable. Everyday, eighty-one.

  • Sentences: Let me go. da-da-DA. Let me go. let me, let me. Let me go. Come

  • again. da-da-DA. Come a, come a, come a, GEN. Come again. da-da-DA. Again,

  • these words and sentences have the same rhythmic feel. Everyday, let me go, eighty-one, come

  • again.

  • Rhythmic contrast is a very important part of the character of American English. I

  • encourage you to think about it as you study pronunciation. As you learned in this video,

  • words can take as long as sentences, so don't rush longer words. Give them as much time

  • and shape as you would a sentence with the same stress pattern. And as you get more

  • and more comfortable with the concept of rhythmic contrast, work on making your short syllables

  • extremely short, flatter, and quieter. It will make a beautiful difference in your pronunciation.

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

In this American English pronunciation video, we're going to go over stress patterns in

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