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  • This video will focus on function words, or, the words that will be lower in pitch, often

  • very quick, sometimes lower in volume, and sometimes even reduced. Reduced means a sound

  • in the word may be altered, or dropped altogether. If you're not familiar with what stressed

  • means, you might want to watch the Intro to Word Stress Video first.

  • Intonation is the idea that we vary pitches throughout a sentence, throughout speech. We do not speak always

  • on the same pitch. We vary our pitches a lot. This is part of what makes it easier to understand

  • what's being said. Understanding the pitch patterns of American English, that's an important

  • part to being understood. So how do you know which words should be stressed, higher in

  • pitch, and which should be unstressed, lower in pitch? Well, content words are the words

  • that will generally be stressed, and function words will generally be unstressed. There

  • are several categories and subcategories of function words. This video is just an overview.

  • Later videos will more specifically categories with examples. Articles are function words.

  • For example, a and the. In the sentence Do you have the time?, do you have the, the time?

  • Do you see how the word 'the' is low in pitch? Do you have the, do you have the, do you have

  • the time? Auxiliary verbs are function words. Auxiliary verbs are also called helping verbs,

  • and in English grammar they are paired with main verbs. There are several kinds. First,

  • the kind of auxiliary verb that helps to make the passive voice. For example, the sentence:

  • The wall was painted yesterday. The wall was painted, it didn't paint anything. Passive.

  • The wall was painted yesterday. In this sentence, the word 'was' is the auxiliary verb. The

  • wall was painted, was, was, was painted. Do you see how it is lower in pitch? The wall

  • was painted yesterday. We also need an auxiliary verb to help make the -ing, or, progressive

  • form. For example in the sentence: You are speaking too fast. The word 'are' here is

  • the auxiliary verb. You are speaking too fast. Do you see how it is lower in pitch than the

  • word speaking? You are speaking too fast. These cases are often written as contractions.

  • You're speaking too fast. Another kind of auxiliary verb is the one that helps to make

  • the perfect tense. For example, in the sentence: She has given up. The word 'has' is our helping

  • verb here. She has given up. She has, she has. Do you see how the word 'has' is very

  • low in pitch? It's actually been reduced and I've dropped the H. She has, she has, she

  • has given up. Modal verbs are also auxiliary, or helping, verbs. For example, might, could,

  • and can. Take for example the sentence: I can go tomorrow. I can go tomorrow. Do you

  • see how it is lower in pitch. It's unstressed. I can, can. It's actually even reduced, kn,

  • kn, from can to kn. I can, I can, I can go tomorrow. I can go tomorrow. Prepositions

  • are also function words. For example with, on, beside. And so are pronouns. For example

  • our, she. In the sentence "He came with his friends," the word 'with', a preposition,

  • low in pitch, unstressed. He came with his friends. Also, the word 'his', a possessive

  • pronoun. He came with his, with his, just like 'with', very low in pitch, unstressed.

  • He came with his friends. Conjunctions are also function words. For example and, but,

  • if. In the example sentence I'll come if you want, I'll come if you want. You can see that

  • 'if' is one of the words that is not stressed, it is lower in pitch. I'll come if you want.

  • To review, function words are the words that will generally be unstressed in a sentence.

  • So this means they will be lower in pitch, sometimes lower in volume, often very, very

  • fast. Sometimes they will even reduce, which means, a sound will change or will get dropped.

  • They are the opposite of content words, which will generally be stressed within a sentence.

  • This contrast of stressed and unstressed is very important in American English. So now

  • that you know a bit more about it, do try to use it while speaking. That's it, and thanks

  • so much for using Rachel's English.

This video will focus on function words, or, the words that will be lower in pitch, often

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B1 pitch auxiliary sentence unstressed auxiliary verb painted

Function Words - American English Pronunciation + Intonation/Word Stress

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    Sam posted on 2015/04/29
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