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  • You've told me one of your favorite exercises is a Ben Franklin exercise,

  • where we study everything about American English pronunciation

  • to help you improve your listening comprehension and understand how to sound more American.

  • So today, we're going to do a Ben Franklin exercise on a monologue about the weather.

  • 00:00:27,340 --> 00:00:32,580 First, we'll listen to the full monologue, then there will be an in-depth analysis.

  • After that, after you study everything about stress,

  • reductions, and linking, there will be a listen and repeat section.

  • This is where you get to practice out loud and see if you can imitate what I've done.

  • First, the monologue.

  • 00:00:49,800 --> 00:00:52,440 Today it's a hundred degrees in Philadelphia.

  • That's thirty eight degrees Celsius.

  • We're in the middle of a heat wave, which is the opposite of a cold snap,

  • and every day this week is supposed to be upper nineties.

  • I know some people love the heat.

  • I am not one of these people.

  • Weather like this makes me want to stay inside all day and only venture out after the sun has set.

  • Now, the analysis.

  • 00:01:19,440 --> 00:01:22,340 Today it's a hundred degrees in Philadelphia.

  • What do you hear is being the most stressed words in that little thought group?

  • Today it's a hundred degrees in Philadelphia.

  • Today it's a hundred degrees in Philadelphia.

  • Today it's a hundred degrees in Philadelphia.

  • Today it's a hundred degrees in Philadelphia.

  • I hear the stressed syllable of 'a hundred' and 'Philadelphia'.

  • Let me write this out.

  • A hundred.

  • So stress is on the first syllable of 'hun'.

  • A hundred.

  • Today, it's a hundred degrees in Philadelphia.

  • Today it's a hundred degrees in Philadelphia.

  • Today it's a hundred degrees in Philadelphia.

  • Today it's a hundred degrees in Philadelphia.

  • And I feel that I'm emphasizing the H a little bit more than normal,

  • that's to add stress to that syllable, to that word.

  • A hundred.

  • Hundred, making the H a little stronger than normal.

  • A hundred degrees.

  • A hundred degrees.

  • A hundred degrees.

  • And I break it up a little bit. There's a little break between 'today' and 'it's'.

  • Today it's a hundred degrees in Philadelphia.

  • And then I do another little break here.

  • Why did I do that?

  • Well, I think I did it to add emphasis to how hot it is.

  • It's a hundred degrees.

  • When we put a little break before

  • a segment in a thought group, it helps to add stress to it

  • just like exaggerating the beginning consonant did.

  • It's a hundred degrees.

  • Today it's a hundred degrees.

  • Today it's a hundred degrees.

  • Today it's a hundred degrees in Philadelphia.

  • Philadelphia.

  • This is a long word and long words can be intimidating.

  • Notice the PH, which is in here twice, is pronounced as an F.

  • Philadelphia.

  • Phila-del-phia.

  • So the syllable 'Phil' has a little bit of secondary stress, it's a little bit longer

  • but 'del' has the most stress, the up-down shape of the voice,

  • and that's what we can use to shape the word.

  • Philadelphia.

  • Philadelphia.

  • Philadelphia.

  • Philadelphia.

  • Philadelphia.

  • Philadelphia.

  • Philadelphia.

  • That's thirty eight degrees Celsius.

  • That's thirty eight degrees Celsius.

  • That's thirty eight degrees.

  • I did it again, I put a little break before the TH for 'thirty' and that adds stress.

  • That's thirty eight degrees.

  • If I made it more smooth: That's thirty eight degrees.

  • That's thirty eight degrees.

  • Then I lose some of the stress that I want to put on how hot it is.

  • I want to put stress on the number: That's thirty eight degrees.

  • Let's write that out too.

  • That's thirty eight degrees.

  • That's thirty eight degrees.

  • That's thirty eight degrees.

  • Thirty eight degrees.

  • Okay, we have a couple things happening with our T's here.

  • We have this first T in 'thirty', that's a flap T.

  • And the T is a flap T when it comes between two vowels or

  • when it comes after an R before a vowel like in the word 'thirty'.

  • Thirty.

  • Thirty eight degrees.

  • So the T in 'eight' is a Stop T because the next sound is a consonant.

  • Thirty eight degrees.

  • So we definitely don't release it, it's definitely not a True T,

  • that would sound like this: Thirty eight degrees.

  • Thirty eight degrees.

  • And that's just more emphasis on the T.

  • It's a more clear pronunciation than we would give it.

  • We make it a stop.

  • Thirty eight degrees.

  • Thirty eight.

  • Eight.

  • Eight.

  • Eight.

  • Eight.

  • We cut off that word by cutting off the air.

  • That abrupt stop is what lets us know this was a T.

  • Thirty eight degrees.

  • Thirty eight degrees.

  • Thirty eight degrees.

  • Thirty eight degrees.

  • The word 'degrees' ends in the Z sound and the word 'Celsius'

  • begins with the S sound.

  • If I was speaking less clearly, a little bit more conversationally,

  • I would have said: Thirty eight degrees Celsius.

  • And I would have connected the two and just made a single S sound,

  • but I was being a little bit more clear here, just like up here when I said 'a hundred degrees',

  • and then I put a little break after 'degrees'.

  • I did not connect with the same sound because I wanted

  • the 'thirty eight degrees' to stick out of the line a little bit for stress, for emphasis.

  • Thirty eight degrees Celsius.

  • Thirty eight degrees Celsius.

  • Thirty eight degrees Celsius.

  • Celsius.

  • Celsius.

  • First syllable stress: thirty eight degrees.

  • Stress on 'thir—'.

  • Thirty eight degrees Celsius.

  • And then we also have stress on that first syllable.

  • Celsius.

  • Celsius.

  • Celsius.

  • Celsius.

  • We're in the middle of a heat wave.

  • We're in the middle of a heat wave.

  • One word is the most stressed there, is most clear, highest in pitch.

  • What is it?

  • We're in the middle of a heat wave.

  • We're in the middle of a heat wave.

  • We're in the middle of a heat wave.

  • Heat.

  • Definitely 'heat' has the most stress.

  • We're in the middle of a heat wave.

  • And what do you notice about the T there?

  • A Stop T because the next word begins with a consonant.

  • We're in the middle of a heat wave.

  • We're in the middle of a heat wave.

  • We're in the middle of a heat wave.

  • We're in the middle of a heat wave.

  • So 'mid', a little bit of stress.

  • 'Wave' is also a stressed word. It's not as stressed as 'heat', that's the most stressed,

  • but it is longer and more clear.

  • What about these two strings of words that are not stressed?

  • What do they sound like?

  • Let's just listen to them on their own.

  • First: We're in the

  • What does that sound like?

  • We're in the

  • We're in the

  • We're in the

  • We're in the

  • We're in the

  • We're in the

  • Not very clear.

  • It's definitely not: We're in the—,

  • that would be a stressed pronunciation.

  • They're all unstressed, said very quickly, no gaps between the words.

  • We're in the

  • We're in the

  • We're in the

  • We're in the

  • We're in the

  • We're in the

  • We're in the

  • I would write this contraction 'we're' with the schwa.

  • Schwa R, said very quickly, not too clear:

  • we're, we're, we're, we're, we're.

  • Then 'in': We're inwe're inwe're inwe're inwith no break,

  • we're in the

  • we're in the

  • we're in the

  • The word 'the' with no break, schwa.

  • We're in the

  • we're in the

  • we're in the

  • We're in the

  • we're in the

  • we're in the

  • Then we have the words 'of' and 'a'.

  • Of a—

  • of a—

  • of a—

  • Of a—

  • of a—

  • of a—

  • of a—

  • of a—

  • I don't drop the V sound, and I would probably write this with the full UH as in butter rather than a schwa.

  • But it's still said quickly, it's still unstressed.

  • Of a— of a— of a— of a—

  • That's really different than our most stressed word 'heat'

  • which has up-down shape and is much longer.

  • These strings of unstressed words are very flat in pitch,

  • compared to the stressed words, and that's part of the important contrast of American English.

  • We're in the middle of a heat wave.

  • We're in the middle of a heat wave.

  • We're in the middle of a heat wave which is the opposite of a cold snap.

  • Which is the opposite of a cold snap.

  • Which is the opposite of a cold snap.

  • So 'heat wave', 'cold snap',

  • in both of those phrases, both words are stressed but the first word is the most stressed.

  • Which is the opposite of a cold snap.

  • Which is the opposite of a cold snap.

  • Which is the opposite of a cold snap.

  • So in this sentence fragment, 'op' and 'cold' and 'snap' are our most stressed words

  • and the other words like above are less clear, flatter in pitch, unstressed.

  • Let's listen to 'which is the'.

  • Which is the

  • which is the

  • which is the

  • Which is the

  • which is the

  • which is the

  • which is the

  • Now, I noticed I pronounced the word 'the' with a schwa.

  • There is an official rule about the pronunciation of 'the'

  • and it says: when the next word begins with a vowel,

  • you make that an EE vowel: the opposite.

  • But I have noticed that many Americans don't do this and I did not do this here.

  • I made this a schwa.

  • Which is the

  • which is the

  • which is the

  • Notice the S in 'is' makes the Z sound.

  • The letter S often makes the Z sound.

  • Don't be deceived and think because you see the letter S, that it's the S sound.

  • Which is the

  • Which is the

  • Which is the opposite of a cold snap.

  • Opposite of a cold

  • Opposite of a cold

  • Opposite of a cold

  • So these words are all linked together.

  • The T becomes a Flap T which links into the next word.

  • Opposite of a—

  • of a, of a, of a.

  • Opposite of a cold snap

  • But all of these words link together, there's no break, there's no choppiness.

  • Which is the opposite of a cold snap.

  • Which is the opposite of a cold snap.

  • Which is the opposite of a cold snap.

  • Let's look at the ending D in 'cold'.

  • It is not released.

  • That would sound like this: cold snap, cold snap, cold snap, cold ddd—.

  • We don't do that. We put the tongue up into position for the D,

  • and we vibrate the vocal cords: cold snap,

  • and then we go right into the S sound without releasing.

  • So the D sound is very subtle when it's followed by a consonant

  • because we don't release it but native speakers still definitely hear that vibration in the vocal cords.

  • Cold, cold, ddd, cold snap.

  • Cold snap, cold snap, cold snap.

  • So a 'heat wave' is a phrase we use when there's a period of time, a couple of days,

  • where the heat reaches an extreme high,

  • and a 'cold snap' is the exact opposite.