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  • Welcome to 2016, welcome to your new accent.

  • How long have you been studying English? How happy are you with your pronunciation? It's

  • a new year, and it's a new opportunity to get fluency in spoken American English. The

  • Sounds of American English, and how they relate to stress, are the building blocks of American

  • English. So I've made a new set of 36 videos, totaling nearly 3 hours, that is truly special

  • for the way integrates understanding stress into learning sounds.

  • Most of the materials you'll find elsewhere just teach the sounds on their own, in isolation.

  • It's a mistake to learn this way -- we learn sounds to speak words and sentences, not just

  • sounds! For beginners, you can focus on the different sounds, and how they're made.

  • More advanced learners can focus on the subtleties of how sounds are affected by stress to put

  • the finishing touches on their American accent. Every vowel and diphthong video teaches the

  • sounds in the context of stress, so you're working on the overall character of American

  • English, which is so important.

  • These videos have a mix of explanations, images, and slow motion speech study. I recommend

  • watching all of the videos at once, several times. It's a lot of information. Give your

  • mind the time to take it all in and get the bigger picture. Then go back and study individual

  • sounds. Imitate and practice the example words out loud.

  • Today's the day. This set of videos is now available. You can buy the download for just

  • $27. That's less than a dollar per video. You can download the videos to your device

  • or simply stream them. Go to RachelsEnglish.com/sounds

  • to purchase, and you'll get instant access

  • to all of the videos. If a DVD is more your style, I've got you covered. The set is

  • available as a DVD as well.

  • If you can't afford to purchase, you'll still get access to the videos. The videos

  • in this collection will be released on YouTube twice a month, every first and third Thursday

  • until May 2017. But why wait? Get the whole set now, study the sounds as a unit, and get

  • fluency in your spoken English. Make 2016 YOUR year. Welcome to 2016, welcome to your

  • new accent.

  • Here's a sneak peak: the video on the AA as in BAT vowel.

  • In this American English pronunciation video, we're going to learn how to pronounce the

  • AA as in BAT vowel.

  • This is a sound that changes depending on the following sound. So, it can either be

  • a pure vowel or a modified vowel. We'll go over both in this video.

  • To make the pure AA vowel, the jaw drops quite a bit, AA.

  • The tip of the tongue stays forward; it's touching the back of the bottom front teeth,

  • AA. The back part of the tongue stretches up.

  • The tongue is wide, AA. Because the tongue is high in the back and low in the front,

  • you can see a lot of it. This is different from the 'ah' as in 'father' vowel, for example,

  • where the tongue presses down in the back and you see more dark space in the mouth.

  • AA, AH.

  • You can also see the corners of the mouth pull back and up a little bit. AA.

  • Let's take a look at the pure AA vowel up close and in slow motion.

  • The tongue tip is down and the back of the tongue lifts. Here's the word 'sat'.

  • The tongue position is easy to see because of the jaw drop needed for this vowel.

  • When AA is in a stressed syllable, the vowel will go up and come down in pitch, AA. Sat,

  • AA. In an unstressed syllable, the vowel is flatter and lower in pitch, quieter, aa. This

  • vowel is unstressed in the second syllable of 'backtrack'. Let's look up close

  • and in slow motion.

  • In the first, stressed syllable, the jaw drops, and we see the corners of the lips pull back

  • and up for the stressed AA. In the unstressed syllable, the jaw drops less. Let's compare

  • them.

  • On top is the stressed AA. You can see the jaw drops more. For the unstressed AA, the

  • corners of the lips are a little more relaxed than in the stressed version, where they pull

  • slightly back and up.

  • Generally, the unstressed version of a vowel or diphthong is more relaxed and doesn't

  • take the full mouth position, in this case, a little less jaw drop, and relaxed lips.

  • This is because unstressed syllables are shorter, so we don't take the time to make the full

  • position.

  • At the beginning of this video, I said the AA vowel is not always a pure AA. This vowel

  • changes when it's followed by a nasal consonant. When it's followed by the M or N sounds,

  • the tongue relaxes in the back, making an UH sound after AA. AA-UH. It's not a pure

  • AA sound. Unfortunately, this change is not represented in the International Phonetic

  • Alphabet. It's still written with the same AA symbol. So, you just have to know when

  • it's followed by [m] or [n], it's different.

  • We don't say 'man', aa, 'man', with a pure AA. We say 'man', aa-uh, aa-uh,

  • relaxing the tongue and corners of the lips before the consonant. You can think of this

  • UH relaxation as the 'uh' as in 'butter' sound or schwa sound. Let's look up close

  • and in slow motion at the word 'exam'.

  • First we see the familiar shape of the mouth, when the AA is in a stressed syllable. Watch

  • how the relaxation that happens: the corners of the lips relax in. The tongue will relax

  • down in the back. And the lips close for the M consonant.

  • This relaxation of the corner of the lips and back of the tongue happens when the AA

  • vowel is followed by the N consonant as well. For example, the word 'hand'. Haa-uhnd.

  • Hand.

  • So, when you see this symbol followed by this symbol or this symbol, it's no longer a

  • pure AA. Think of relaxing out of the vowel, AA-UH.

  • If the next sound is the NG consonant, it's a little different. Rather than 'aa-uh',

  • the vowel changes into AY. It's really like the AY as in SAY diphthong. First, the middle

  • part of the tongue lifts towards the roof of the mouth, then the front part of the tongue.

  • Let's watch 'gang' up close and in slow motion.

  • The position for the first sound looks a lot like AA, but the part of the tongue lifting

  • up is more forward. Gaaaang. Then the front part of the tongue arches up towards the roof

  • of the mouth, while the tongue tip remains down.

  • When you see this symbol followed by this symbol, it's no longer a pure AA. It's

  • more like AY. Gang. Thanks.

  • Pure stressed AA: Sat, aa Pure unstressed AA: backtrack, aa

  • AA, aa, AA, aa.

  • AA vowel modified by M: exam, aa-uh AA vowel modified by N: man, aa-uh

  • AA vowel modified by NG: gang, ay

  • Example words. Repeat with me: Chapter, can, act, last, bank, bypass.

  • I hope this video helps you understand this sound. That's it, and thanks so much for

  • using Rachel's English.

Welcome to 2016, welcome to your new accent.

Subtitles and vocabulary

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B1 US vowel tongue pure unstressed jaw syllable

New Year, New Accent! Improve your American Accent!

  • 64 8
    hunter posted on 2018/06/18
Video vocabulary