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  • In this American English pronunciation video,

  • we're going to talk about the shape of a stressed syllable.

  • I've been talking a lot recently with my private students about the shape of stress. Stress

  • isn't simply a higher pitch and a lower pitch. Yes-ter-day. Da-da-da. But actually, there's

  • a swoop from one pitch to the next, so there's always a gliding feeling. Yesterday. When

  • my students are able to switch into this mode, it makes a world of difference. All of a sudden,

  • the speech is much more natural, is much more American. This applies even to one-syllable

  • words and one-syllable sentences. For example, yes, yes. It's not yes, yes, all on one pitch;

  • that's very flat. Yes. Yes. Hi. Hi. Hi -- do you hear that change in pitch, that shape

  • in that syllable? Very different from hi, hi, hi. Hi.

  • So the shape of a stressed syllable has the pitch gliding up and the pitch gliding down.

  • Let's take for example the word 'hello'. Hello, -llo. Do you hear how the change in pitch

  • isn't abrupt. It slides from lower to higher and lower again. This is very different from

  • hello, hello, an abrupt pitch change of two flat ideas. Hell-o, hell-o. Hello.

  • It's not a bad idea to practice words and sentences very under pace, sliding from pitch

  • to pitch. For example: hey, how are you? Then, when you speed it up, don't think of switching

  • back into speaking mode. Think of taking this stretched out, gliding from pitch to pitch

  • speech, and speeding it up. We don't want the character of that uhh-- to change. You

  • want to keep that in your speech. So please keep this in mind, and do practice speaking

  • under pace sometimes. Stress is much more than a change in pitch, it's how you change

  • the pitch.

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

In this American English pronunciation video,

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