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  • In this American English pronunciation video, I’m going to respond to a question from

  • a member of the Rachel’s English community about speaking quickly vs. slowing down.

  • Fabio recently said that when he was in America trying to sound American: speaking quickly,

  • linking sounds, making Flap T’s, people had a hard time understanding him. When he

  • started speaking clearer and more slowly, he was understood perfectly. He says, do you

  • really think it’s necessary to speak fast and linking everything?

  • Great question. This brings up two things that I want to talk about. The first, and

  • maybe most important thing, is that I don’t teach that you should be speaking really fast

  • as a general rule. I’m sure Fabio isn’t the only one confused by this. When I talk

  • about saying words that reduce really quickly, likebecause of the”, the point isn’t

  • to speak fast. The point is to create a contrast. You must have clearly pronounced stressed

  • syllables. You cannot speed through those and be easy to understand. But, when you have

  • clearly pronounced stressed syllables and quick, maybe reduced unstressed syllables,

  • you have contrast in syllable length. And this is what’s important in American English.

  • Not speaking fast. If every syllable is fast, youre going to be very hard to understand.

  • So it’s as just important to make your stressed syllables clear as it is to reduce and simplify

  • and speed up your unstressed syllables.

  • So, speaking with stressed and unstressed, fully pronounced and reduced, clear and fast

  • syllables is one of the defining characteristics of American English. It’s a stress-timed

  • language, and I’ve made a video about that. I’ll link to it at the end and in the description

  • below. Don’t rush everything, just create contrast.

  • What if you have perfect sounds, but every syllable is the same length? Let’s see.

  • Hello my name is Rachel and I live in Philadelphia.

  • I think probably everyone could understand that. But it didn’t sound very natural,

  • did it? Also, that was with every sound being perfect. If some of your sounds aren’t perfect,

  • and you try to fully pronounce everything with you have no rhythmic contrast, suddenly

  • you have multiple factors that might get in the way of being understood.

  • So to answer Fabio’s question, I do think it’s necessary to reduce words that reduce

  • in American English, and to link words together in a thought group, like we generally do in

  • American English, in order to maximize your changes of being understood.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your experience and asking that very important question.

  • I’m going to put an on-screen link now to a video on English as a Stress-Timed Language,

  • and a collection of videos on words that reduce. Those links will also be in the description

  • of the video. In the final section of this video, there’s also a link to a playlist

  • on American English in Real Life and Ben Franklin exercises. Both of those sets of videos have

  • lots of examples of real life words that reduce and rhythmic contrast.

  • So, in conclusion, you don’t want to just speak fast all the time. You want contrast

  • of stressed and unstressed syllables. The stressed syllables will be longer. But those

  • unstressed words will be very fast.

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

In this American English pronunciation video, I’m going to respond to a question from

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