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  • Today you're getting the next video in the 100 most common words in English series, this is video 8.

  • In this series, we're studying the real pronunciation.

  • 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.

  • The 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 the 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.

  • 00:00:49,020 --> 00:00:53,800 Today, we start with number seventy-one, and that's the word 'than'.

  • Fully pronounced, we have voiced TH, AA as in BAT, followed by the M consonant.

  • Than.

  • Than.

  • When AA is followed by N, we relax the back of the tongue and change the sound: thaaathaathan.

  • Than.

  • Aa-uh, aa-uh.

  • So it's not aahh thaaan, thaaan, but 'than', aa-uh, aa-uh, aa-uh.

  • There's an extra sound in there from relaxing the back of the tongue, sort of like an UH vowel.

  • ThaaaaThan.

  • Than.

  • Than.

  • But we don't need to focus too much on the full pronunciation of this word

  • since it is a word that reduces.

  • Remember, when a word reduces, that's called a reduction,

  • and that's when we change or drop a sound.

  • So rather than saying 'than' in a conversation, it will be 'thn'.

  • We change the vowel to the schwa, which is absorbed by the N,

  • so you don't even need to think about making a vowel there.

  • Than, than, than, from the TH to the N.

  • Very fast.

  • Than.

  • We use this with comparisons: she's taller than I am, than, than, than I am.

  • They're older than we are.

  • Than, than, older than.

  • Taller than, older than, than, than, than.

  • A reduction, not a fully pronounced word.

  • If you go around fully pronouncing every word, it will not sound natural,

  • so you need to know and use these reductions.

  • Number seventy-two, a very similar word, 'then'.

  • THAN is used with comparisons, and THEN is used with timing,

  • sequences, and if/then statements.

  • It got really dark, then it stormed all night.

  • Or: if we go grocery shopping, then we can cook dinner.

  • You won't always hear it reduced, but often you will.

  • I reduced it in both of those sentences.

  • Fully pronounced, it has the EH vowel.

  • ThehTHEN.

  • But reduced, we change it to the schwa.

  • Then it sounds just like 'than' when we reduce it.

  • Then, then.

  • It was really dark, and then it stormed all night.

  • Then, then, then.

  • And then it, and then it, and then it.

  • And then it stormed.

  • Those three unstressed words together are not very clear:

  • and then it.

  • And then it.

  • And then it.

  • 'And' reduces, 'then' reduces, 'it' is said quickly with a Stop T.

  • Some people might think, that's very unclear, that's not good English,

  • but I want to stress that it is.

  • Good English is made up of a contrast

  • between stressed words and unstressed words.

  • You have to have the unstressed words for this contrast.

  • And then it stormed all night.

  • And then it stormed all night.

  • If we go grocery shopping, then we can cook dinner.

  • Then we can cook dinner, then we can, then we can, then we can, then we can then we can.

  • Do you hear that 'can' reduction?

  • That was number 53.

  • It's interesting that our first two in this video,

  • two different words, sound exactly the same when they reduce.

  • THAN and THEN both become 'thn'.

  • That's okay.

  • This is true of a few other reductions as well.

  • Because of the context of the sentence, there isn't confusion.

  • Number 73, the word 'now'.

  • This is one word that doesn't reduce.

  • It's an adverb, and adverbs are one of four kinds of content words:

  • adverbs, verbs, nouns, and adjectives.

  • We generally don't reduce content words, or make them sound unstressed.

  • Generally, these are stressed in a sentence.

  • This is what provides that contrast that I was talking about

  • being so important in American English.

  • Stressed and unstressed or reduced.

  • Long and short.

  • NOW has the N consonant and the OW diphthong.

  • For the diphthong, we start by dropping the jaw,

  • then let the jaw come up as you round the lips, ow, now.

  • Now.

  • For the N, keep the tongue nice and wide as it lifts for the sound, nnn, now.

  • Now.

  • Number 74, the word 'look'.

  • What part of speech is the word 'look'?

  • It's a verb most of the time.

  • Look at me!

  • It can also be a noun: She gave me a look.

  • Noun, verb, these are both content words.

  • Stressed words.

  • And yes, this word will be stressed in a sentence.

  • There are six different pronunciations possible for the letters O-O.

  • I made a video about all of the possible pronunciations recently,

  • I'll put a link to that video at the end of this video,

  • also, in the description below.

  • In this word, the pronunciation of OO is 'uh' like in 'push'.

  • Uh, uh, luh, look, look.

  • It's not 'Luke', oo, oo, where your lips round more.

  • Luke.

  • The lips are more relaxed: uh, look, look.

  • Number 75: the word 'only'.

  • This is another content word.

  • At the beginning of this 100 word series, most of the words we were covering were reductions.

  • Now we're getting down the list, we're getting a lot more content words.

  • I can tell you one mistake that I hear all the time with the pronunciation of this word.

  • Instead of 'only', people will say 'only'.

  • Uh, uh, uh, uh.

  • The vowel is more like the AH as in Father or the AW as in Law.

  • But the correct pronunciation is a diphthong.

  • That means we change the mouth position.

  • Ohh.

  • Jaw drop then lip rounding.

  • Oh, oh Only.

  • So make sure your mouth isn't staying stationary.

  • Oh, oh, only.

  • Only, oh, oh.

  • There has to be that movement, jaw drop, then lip rounding.

  • Right after the Oh diphthong, a flat, wide tongue goes to the roof of the mouth for the N,

  • only, then light L, IH vowel, unstressed, only.

  • Another possible mistake here is to make the unstressed syllable too relaxed.

  • Then it sounds like: only, ih, ih, ee, ee.

  • It should be ee.

  • The tip of the tongue is down but the front part is arched

  • reaching towards the roof of the mouth.

  • Ee.

  • If it's too far away from the roof of the mouth, then it sounds like IH instead of EE.

  • Only.

  • Only.

  • You're the only one.

  • If only it were true.

  • Number 76 the word 'come'.

  • This is a verb.

  • So yes, it's a Content word.

  • And generally, we don't reduce this or make it unstressed in a sentence.

  • It's one of the stressed words.

  • Oh, Come on.

  • Why don't you come over for dinner?

  • It's the K consonant, the UH as in butter vowel, and the M consonant.

  • Come.

  • Come by later.

  • Cuh, cuh, ahh

  • This vowel is very relaxed.

  • If there's any tension in the back of your tongue, it will sound different.

  • Cuh, uh, come.

  • Keep it relaxed.

  • Come on over.

  • Number 77.

  • It's.

  • Not with an apostrophe.

  • That's the contraction 'it is'.

  • This word is showing possession.

  • It's pronounced just like IT apostrophe S but it has a different meaning

  • and is grammatically different.

  • Where's the remote?

  • It's in its usual place.

  • Here, I used IT apostrophe S as a Contraction, it is,

  • and then also without the apostrophe showing possession, the usual place of the remote.

  • It's not unusual for Americans to drop the vowel and just make this the TS cluster.

  • It's gone.

  • It's gone.

  • There I'm using the contraction 'it is'.

  • Ts. Ts.

  • It's gone.

  • This can also happen with the possessive 'its' though it might be a little less common.

  • Let's look at an example.

  • Where's the remote?

  • Its usual place.

  • Its usual place.

  • There I'm just making the TS sounds.

  • But usually, this word is not at the beginning of a sentence,

  • then I would pronounce the vowel.

  • Its, its, its, its.

  • The watch is in its case.

  • Its. Its. Its.

  • Said quickly.

  • So even though I'm not dropping the vowel, It's still unstressed.

  • I'm saying it very quickly.

  • This is not a stressed word.

  • Number 78, the word 'over'.

  • This is usually a preposition.

  • That's not a Content word.

  • So usually this word won't be stressed.

  • It will be unstressed.

  • But no sounds reduce.

  • We don't change or drop anything.

  • Just like 'only'

  • we start with the OH diphthong, jaw drop, then lip rounding.

  • Oh. Oh.

  • Over.

  • A quick v schwa R, ver, ver, ver, ver.

  • Unstressed.

  • The schwa is absorbed by the R so you don't need to try to make a vowel in that second syllable.

  • Just make a quick, low simple R sound.

  • OvrrrrrOver.

  • Over.

  • For the V sound at the bottom of the lip comes up to gently vibrate on the bottom of the top front teeth.

  • Over.

  • We jumped over the creek.

  • We jumped over the creek.

  • 'Jumped' and 'Creek' are stressed.

  • The rest of the words, including 'over' are unstressed.

  • We jumped over the creek.

  • We jumped over the creek.

  • We traveled all over Italy.

  • All over.

  • All over.

  • Over.

  • Over.

  • Over.

  • Over. Unstressed, less clear than 'all'.

  • All over

  • Flatter in pitch, less clear.

  • Number 79, the word 'think'.

  • A verb, a Content word, a word that is usually stressed.

  • Fully pronounced.

  • This word is tricky to pronounce.

  • It's got that unvoiced TH at the beginning.

  • The only way to make the sound is to bring the tongue tip through the teeth.

  • The air should flow, there should not be a stop. Th, th, th.

  • But rather, thhh.

  • Flowing air.

  • Two common mistakes would be to make an S instead.

  • Sink.

  • Or a tea instead: tink.

  • Try to avoid these substitutions and get comfortable with the TH sound. Thth

  • Now an IPA, this would be written phonetically with the IH vowel.

  • IhBut when IH it is followed by NG, it changes.

  • It becomes more like: ee-ih-ee.

  • Let's compare this with the word 'thin'.

  • The first two sounds are the same.

  • TH, IH vowel.

  • In 'thin', it's followed by the N sound.

  • And in 'think', it's followed by the NG sound, which as I said, Changes the vowel.

  • So let's start with 'thin'.

  • Thin, ih, ih, ih.

  • Thin.

  • And now, 'think': thing, thi, thing, thing, thinnggg, thin.

  • Ee, ih, ee, ih.

  • Do you hear how the vowel sound is different?

  • Thiiiink. Think. Think.

  • So even though it says IH, it's a lot more like EE in real life.

  • You may say why is this letter N the NG sound?

  • There's no letter G.

  • That's true.

  • When the letter n is followed by the letter K,

  • Then the pronunciation of n is usually the NG sound: nggg---

  • where the back of the tongue touches the soft palate.

  • This is also where the K sound is made.