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In this American English pronunciation video, we're going to study American English by looking
at a short text. Topic: free time.
I call this a Ben Franklin exercise. This is when you take very good notes, very detailed
notes, on what you're hearing. And then go back and try to record yourself based on what
you've written down, the notes. Did you write down a Flap T, or the way two words link together?
After you've recorded yourself, compare it to the original. Did you do everything that
you wanted to do? In this video, we're going to take notes together.
One of my favorite things to do with a free day is to ride my bike. Sometimes I'll ride
along the Hudson River or in Central Park, and sometimes I'll go visit friends in Brooklyn.
>> One of my favorite things to do
One of my favorite. I definitely here 'one' and 'fav-' as being stressed. 'Of my' is very
quick, very different than 'one' and 'fav'. Of my, of my, of my. So I'm using the schwa
here, and I am giving the V sound: of my, of my, of my, but it's very flat and quick.
>> One of my favorite [3x]
I notice that I'm dropping the middle, unstressed syllable in 'favorite'. So it's not FA-vo-rit,
but simply, FA-vrit. Favorite. Favorite things. And I notice that I am making that a Stop
T, I'm not releasing it. I'm going straight into the TH. One of my favorite things.
>> One of my favorite things to do with a free day [3x]
One of my favorite things to do with a free day ... so I notice both the words 'free'
and 'day' have a lot more length than the others. 'Things' is a content word, it is
a noun, but it's more generic than 'free' and 'day', I think that's why I didn't give it
as much time. One of my favorite things to do with a free day.
>> One of my favorite things to do with a free day [3x]
I notice, with the word 'to', I am reducing that to the schwa sound. It's not 'to do', it's
't'do'.
>> To do [3x] with a free day.
Also the article 'a', of course, is a schwa. Now I pronounced the ending TH unvoiced, with
a, with a. Sometimes when people link the ending TH that is unvoiced into a voiced sound,
like the vowel schwa, they will voice it and say 'with a'. With a. But I left that unvoiced:
with a, with a, with a free day.
>> with a free day [3x]
Is to ride my bike. Ride, bike. Those were the two longest words in that sentence fragment.
Is to ride my bike. I notice again, I reduced this to the schwa sound. It's not 'to', it's
to, to, is to, is to, is to ride, is to ride my bike.
>> Is to ride by bike. [3x] Sometimes I'll ride along Hudson River
What did you hear as the most stressed syllables there? I'm hearing some-, ride, Hud-, Riv-.
As you practice your own speech, listen to it and make sure that you can pick out stressed
syllables in a sentence. If you can't, then they all sound too much the same. And we're
lacking good rhythmic contrast. So, it's always good to study other speech, and to note what
do you hear as being the longest syllables. Usually it will go along with adjectives,
adverbs, nouns, and verbs.
>> Sometimes I'll ride along the Hudson River
What else do you notice?
I notice the ending S here is pronounced as a Z. Sometimes I'll ride. Also, did you notice
how I pronounced that contraction? I didn't say I'll, I said I'll, I'll. So it sounded
a lot like this word. In fact, it sounded just like this word. I'll, I'll. I used the
'aw' as in 'law' vowel. Sometimes I'll, sometimes I'll ride. So, I reduced the contraction,
which is already a reduction of 'I will', to I'll, I'll, I'll. Sometimes I'll ride.
>> Sometimes I'll ride along the Hudson River. [3x] The Hudson River. The word 'the' pronounced
with the schwa. Sometimes it's pronounced with an EE vowel. That would be when the next
word begins with a vowel or diphthong. Here it begins with a consonant, the H sound, Hudson,
Hudson, so it was a schwa. The Hudson, the Hudson River.
>> The Hudson River. [3x]
Did you notice how the second and unstressed syllable of 'Hudson' was pronounced? It's
written with the letter O, but there's the schwa vowel in there. As an unstressed syllable,
it's very fast, -son, -son, -son. And when the schwa is followed by the N sound, you
don't need to worry about making a separate schwa sound. It gets absorbed by the N. -Son,
-son, -son, Hudson. The Hudson.
>> The Hudson River [3x] or in Central Park.
I notice I did not reduce the word 'or', that can be reduced to 'er', Hudson River or Central
Park. But in this case I didn't. I said 'or'. Wait, I just realized I missed the word 'in'.
Or in Central Park, or in Central Park. Do you hear how fast the word 'in' is? Or in,
or in, or in, or in Central Park. Central. Stressed syllable of 'Central' is the first
one. Cen-, Cen-. The second syllable has the schwa: -tral, -tral.
>> In Central [3x]
Did you notice? I'm making more of a CH sound here instead of a T sound for the T in 'Central'.
Cen-tral, -tral, -tral. This can happen when the T is followed by an R.
>> In Central [3x] Park, and sometimes I'll go visit friends in Brooklyn.
And sometimes. I definitely dropped the D in that word, and sometimes, and sometimes,
reducing the word 'and'.
>> And sometimes [3x]
Let's talk about stress in that last part of the sentence.
>> And sometimes I'll go visit friends in Brooklyn.
What do you hear as being the most stressed syllables? Some-, sort of, but even stronger,
vis-, friends, Brook-. Verb, noun, noun. The content words. And did you notice the contraction
'I'll'? Again, pronounced with the 'aw' as in 'law' vowel, reduced to 'I'll', 'I'll'.
>> And sometimes I'll [3x] go visit friends in Brooklyn.
Also, all of these words, as always in a thought group, were very connected. I had a Stop T
here in 'visit', so I didn't bother to release it, which would have made a little gap in
my line. Visit friends, visit friends.
>> visit friends [3x] in Brooklyn.
Also, the ending Z sound of 'friends' linked into the beginning vowel of the next word,
friends in, friends in, friends in, friends in Brooklyn.
>> visit friends in Brooklyn. [3x]
One of my favorite things to do with a free day is to ride my bike. Sometimes I'll ride
along the Hudson River or in Central Park, and sometimes I'll go visit friends in Brooklyn.
I hope this has given you some ideas on how to take notes and study the speech of native
speakers. Do this on your own. Take video and audio clips that interest you or that have
topics that are important to your field of work. After you take good notes, record the
text yourself and compare to the original recording. What do you still need to work
on, or what did you do well? This is a great way to improve your pronunciation.
That's it, and thanks so much for using Rachel's English.
So this is what I like to do with a free day. What do you like to do with a free day? Record
yourself talking about it, and post it as a video response to this video on YouTube.
I can't wait to hear about it.
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ESL PRONUNCIATION EXERCISE: Free Time - American English

20365 Folder Collection
Halu Hsieh published on September 7, 2013
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