Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles If you want to speak natural, clear English, the 100 most common words in American English is a good place to start. This video is part of a series where we're studying the real pronunciation of these words. This is likely different from what you learned in English class. You see, in American English, we have all sorts of words that are unstressed or even reduced. That means we change the pronunciation. This set of the 100 most common words in American English contains many, many words that reduce. If you haven't already seen video 1, and other videos in this series, I do suggest you start there. These videos build one on top of the next, so click here to watch video one. This is video seven, we're studying words 61-70. 00:00:55,040 --> 00:00:57,860 Number 61 is the word 'people'. This is the first time we're starting one of these videos with a word that is NOT an example of a word that will be unstressed. This word is a noun, a content word, and generally, it will be stressed. Now, this is a tricky word. And I don't have too many videos where I go over the specific pronunciation of a single word, but I do happen to have one where I talk about this word, so I'll put in a clip here that will go through the pronunciation, step-by-step. It's a two-syllable word with stress on the first syllable. Da-da. People. It begins with the P consonant sound, lips are together for that, pp-. Then we open into the EE as in SHE vowel, pe-, pe-. So the tongue tip is down here, but the front part of the tongue is stretching up towards the roof of the mouth , pe-, pe-. Now we have the P, schwa, L sound. This is unstressed, so it's going to be low in pitch and very fast, -ple, -ple, -ple. People. So the lips will come together again for the P. People. -ple. Then we go into the schwa/Dark L sound. Don't worry about making a separate schwa sound, just go straight into the Dark sound of the Dark L. So, to make that sound, your tongue will pull back, so the back part of the tongue here is shifting towards the throat a bit, people, ull, ull. And that's how we get that dark sound. Now, it should be very short because it's unstressed, people, people. The second half of the Dark L involves bringing the tongue tip to the roof of the mouth. People. But you can actually leave that out. A lot of people will just make, people, ull, the Dark sound to signify the Dark L and not necessarily bring the tongue tip up. People, people. Let's do a couple of example sentences with people. I'm a people person. People, people. Up-down shape of stress, longer, more clear than the unstressed words: I'm a-- I'm a-- I'm a people person. What does 'people person' mean? It means that I'm very social. I like interacting with a lot of people, I'm very outgoing, I'm an extrovert. I have room for three more people in my car. People, people. Stressed. Number 62. Is it as clear as 'people'? No. It's the word 'into'. 'Into' is a preposition. And prepositions are function words, which means they'll generally be unstressed i n a sentence. Let me show you what I mean. I ran into my teacher at the movies. I ran into my teacher at the movies. Ran, teach-, mov-. These are the stressed syllables. All the others, including the word 'into', unstressed. Less clear, low in pitch, flatter, given less time. Into. If it was clear and fully pronounced, it would have that up-down shape of stress, into, and a True T. The final vowel would be the OO as in BOO vowel. Into. But that's not how I pronounced it. I ran into my teacher. Into. Into. Into. A couple things are different. First of all, it's not stressed so it's flat in pitch, low in pitch. Second, two sounds have changed. The T sounds more like a D, and the final vowel is the schwa. Into. into. Into. into. So instead of 'into', it's: into, into. This T is not following the rules of T pronunciations. The rules are, after an N, we can drop a T completely, but if not, it's a True T. But many Americans will say 'into' more of a D or Flap T sound connected to the N. If you only learned the stressed pronunciation of this and every word in American English, your English wouldn't sound too natural, because we use so many reductions so frequently. Number 63: the word 'year'. A noun, a content word. This is a word that will generally be stressed in a sentence. No reduction here. Year. Year. Up-down shape of stress. Longer, clearer than the unstressed words in a sentence will be. A lot of people have problems with the pronunciation of this word because of the Y sound. Year. How is it different from 'ear'? I actually have a video on that. Let me put in a little clip here. 'Year' and 'ear' are exactly the same except for the Y sound. The main vowel is the IH as in SIT vowel, but I do feel like we squeeze it a little bit, so it sounds a little more like EE. IH, ear. EE, ear. Ear. Let's take a look. First, the word 'ear'. For the IH or EE vowel, the jaw drops just a bit, and the corners of the lips pull out wide, just a little. The tongue tip is down here, touching the back of the bottom front teeth. The front part arches towards the roof of the mouth without touching it. Next is the schwa-R sound. Look for the tongue pulling back as the lips flare. The tongue pulls back and up, with the tip pointing down so it's not touching anything. Now, let's take a look at 'year'. The jaw dropped a little bit more here. Why? To accommodate the movement of the tongue. While the tip is down in the same position for the next vowel, the middle part of the tongue actually touches the roof of the mouth and pushes forward a bit. yy, yy. At the same time, the throat closes off down here, yy--, yy--, yy--, to add a different dimension to the sound. Ee, yy, ee, yy. Let's watch the Y several times to see that motion of the tongue pulling down from the roof of the mouth: yy, yy. Now, the lips flare and the tongue pulls back for the R. Now let's compare the beginning position of these two words. 'Ear' is on the left and 'year' is on the right. Notice that the jaw has dropped more for the forward motion of the tongue on the roof of the mouth for 'year'. Also, the corners of the lips are more relaxed than for the initial vowel in 'ear', where they pull slightly out. You can see this from the front as well. The jaw has dropped more for the tongue movement. So, we have the tongue movement, which is different for the Y, as well as the Y sound in the throat, yy. This is how we want to start the word 'year': yy, yy, year. Now I'll say the minimal pair several times. Can you hear the difference? Year. Ear. Year. Ear. Year. Ear. Year. Let's do a sentence or two. We're going to Italy this year. Year. Year. It's the last word in the thought group, and naturally in American English, our energy and our pitch goes down in a sentence, so the ending word is often less clear, even if it's stressed, even if it's a content word like 'year'. But it still has the length of a stressed syllable. We're going to Italy this year. Year, year. A little bit of that up-down shape of stress. What year were you born? Year, year. There the word 'year' is closer to the beginning of the sentence, so it's a little clearer. Year. Number 64: Another great reduction. The word 'your'. This is related to the word 'or', which was number 31. Fully pronounced, 'your' and 'or' rhyme with 'more' or 'wore'. But they're almost never fully pronounced. They're almost always reduced in a sentence, 'yer', 'er'. So the vowel changes to the schwa. Stressed: Your. Fully pronounced, longer, up-down shape of stress. But in a sentence: yer, yer. Unstressed, low in pitch, said quickly. Yer. Sample sentence: What's your name? Yer, yer, yer. Yer name. Can I borrow your car? Yer, yer, yer. Borrow your car?