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

  • This is video 9.

  • 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 one 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 1.

  • 00:00:48,280 --> 00:00:50,140 We start with number 81.

  • The word 'back'.

  • A noun, a verb, this is a content word and will usually be stressed in a sentence.

  • Please step back.

  • Or, it was moving back and forth.

  • Please step back.

  • Back and forth.

  • Stressed.

  • Back.

  • We have the b consonant, the AH vowel, and finally, the k sound.

  • The back of the tongue lifts to touch the soft palate and is released.

  • Kkback.

  • Back.

  • Careful with the vowel AH.

  • The back of the tongue stretches up.

  • Ah.

  • And the jaw drops.

  • You might also lift your top lip a little bit, back, ah, back.

  • Back.

  • Number 82, the word 'after'.

  • This word can be a content word or a function word depending on how it's being used.

  • So it could be stressed or unstressed.

  • We don't reduce this word though, we don't change or drop the sound.

  • Let's look at an example.

  • It's raining so we can't go to the beach.

  • Well, let's go to the movies.

  • After all, I already took the day off.

  • After all.

  • After.

  • After.

  • It has that same AH vowel in the stressed syllable, doesn't it?

  • Ah. After.

  • Next, we have an F, then a really soft t sound: aftafter.

  • It's a True T but not as sharp or strong as it would be at the beginning of a stressed syllable like time.

  • Ttt- time.

  • So a soft t, then a quick schwa r ending.

  • Flat, low in pitch, said quickly.

  • After.

  • After.

  • Often this word will be unstressed.

  • For example, in the phrase 'after all' I could stress 'all' instead of 'after'.

  • Now it sounds like this: after all, after, after, after, after, after, after, after, after,

  • the stressed syllable in the stressed version

  • is longer and has more of an up-down shape of a stressed syllable.

  • After.

  • Unstressed.

  • After, after, after.

  • It's flatter, less clear, a little bit more mumbled.

  • Let's look at another sentence.

  • He left after everyone went to bed.

  • Left after.

  • Left after.

  • After.

  • After.

  • After.

  • Unstressed let's leave after dinner.

  • Leave after.

  • After. After. After.

  • Unstressed.

  • 'Leave' and 'dinner' are stressed.

  • Let's leave after dinner.

  • Let's leave after dinner.

  • After.

  • So the unstressed words are less clear, said more quickly, and are flatter and lower in pitch.

  • The contrast is the stressed words which are longer,

  • stressed syllables, and an up-down shape in that pitch, in that intonation.

  • That contrast is what makes good English.

  • Number 83, use.

  • This is one of those words it's pronounced differently depending on the part of speech.

  • As a noun, 'use', the final sound is an S.

  • As a verb 'use', the final sound is a Z.

  • Lots of words change like this depending on part of speech.

  • For example, 'house' the noun ends in the S sound, and 'house' the verb ends in Z.

  • Address, can have first syllable stress.

  • Address.

  • Address.

  • That's the noun.

  • But the verb has second syllable stress.

  • Address.

  • Address.

  • Use.

  • Use.

  • Both nouns and verbs are content words which means they're stressed in a sentence.

  • They both begin with the JU diphthong.

  • Ju, ju.

  • Tongue tip presses the back of the bottom front teeth

  • and the middle part of the tongue presses forward along the roof of the mouth.

  • Yy-you-yy-you.

  • Then, the lips round.

  • Juuuujuu

  • 'use' with an s or 'use' with a z.

  • What's the use?

  • A noun, or: I'll use it later.

  • A verb.

  • Word number 83 and this is the 19th word that is reliably stressed in a sentence.

  • That means we've covered a lot of words that can be unstressed or even reduced.

  • What about number 84?

  • Nope this is another content word.

  • The word 'two'.

  • This word is interesting because it's a homophone.

  • That means it shares a pronunciation with a different word.

  • It sounds just like t-o-o.

  • The number two.

  • I like it too.

  • Two.

  • Too.

  • Exact same pronunciation.

  • You might say this is just like t-o that's also pronounced 'two'.

  • Not really.

  • Fully pronounced, sure.

  • But we don't fully pronounce the word 'to'.

  • That one reduces so it's usually 'te', and not truly a homophone with t-w-o.

  • We learned the 'to' reduction back in the first video in this series.

  • It's number three in the most common words of American English list.

  • So the number two, t-w-o will be fully pronounced in a sentence.

  • Its pronunciation is simple.

  • A True T and the OO vowel which has quite a bit of lip rounding: two.

  • The OO vowel is tricky because you don't want to start with your lips in a tight circle.

  • Two.

  • Two.

  • Let them be more relaxed to start, then come in.

  • Two, two, two.

  • The game is at two thirty.

  • Two.

  • Number 85, a question Word, the word 'how'.

  • We already studied 'What' at 40, 'Who' back at 46, 'which' at 48, and 'when' at 51.

  • Question words are generally Stressed.

  • Let's look at a few example Sentences.

  • How did it go?

  • How tall are you?

  • How hungry are you?

  • In all three of these Sentences, 'how' was one of the words that was stressed.

  • How.

  • How tall?

  • How tall are you?

  • How.

  • How hungry?

  • How hungry are you?

  • These words are longer, clearer, and have the up-down shape of stress.

  • How.

  • How did it go?

  • How.

  • How did it go?

  • How tall are you?

  • How hungry are you?

  • For this word, we have the H sound and the OW as in now Diphthong.

  • Make sure your H isn't too heavy.

  • How.

  • How.

  • Or dropped: ow, ow.

  • A light easy H, how, then jaw drop, and back of the tongue lifts.

  • How.

  • Then lips round.

  • How.

  • How did it go?

  • Number 86 the word 'our'.

  • Now, this is a function word and it will reduce.

  • So when I'm saying the word on its own

  • and giving it its full clear pronunciation,

  • our, our, it's not really how we would be pronouncing that in a sentence.

  • But you might think full, clear, that's good!

  • That's how I want to pronounce things.

  • But remember, good English is made up of contrast.

  • More clear and less clear words.

  • So we have to have the less clear words for good contrast,

  • for good English, for the English to sound natural and understandable.