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Hi. What's up? How are you? Hey guys, it's
Hadar and this is The Accent's Way. Today

we are going to talk about American
intonation. Now I know that usually in

this channel I talk about pronunciation,
but don't get me wrong.

American intonation is not less
important, and sometimes more important,

than pronunciation and this is why I
figured it is time to talk about

American intonation. So today I'm going
to open the wonders of American

intonation so you can start listening to
English rather differently. When we talk

about intonation we are talking about
three things. One is the melody - the music

of the language. When I go up in pitch.
When I go down - "Ha-dar" - tuh-TAH. If I take

away the words and I just play it, it's
just like a song or a tune that I'm

playing - Tah ta-ta-dah ta ta-ta-dah-ta-tah. So when you're listening to English
or when you're speaking English you also
want to consider the melody, the notes

that you're using. We're also going to
talk about stress. Stress is what words

you choose to stress in a given sentence.
What are you doing? Or, what are you doing?

'What' verses 'doing'. While there are some
patterns and a neutral way of saying

things, there's also a lot of freedom. Of
course, it depends on the context, the

attitude, and many other things, but you
first need to know the building blocks

and the basis of what words are usually
stressed and what words are not stressed

for the most part. Now, lastly, we have
rhythm. Rhythm is the real deal. Its the

feel of the language. It's really owning
it once you start using American rhythm.

Now, you have to understand that English
is a perfect balance between the long

versus short, the high versus low, the
stressed versus the effortless, and when

you are able to balance between all
these things in an effortless

and clear way, this is when you
become a strong speaker who is able to

communicate their message in a clear and
confident way. Now today, we're going to

discuss all of these elements but in the
future I will release more in-depth

videos about each and every subject with
many, many examples and more explanation.

Before we talk about these elements, I
want to talk about the different types

of words. So, in English, actually in any
language, the words in the language are

divided into two main groups: content
words and function words. Content words

are words that deliver the content nouns,
like 'sister', 'table', 'school'; verbs 'go', 'run'

'swim', 'think'; adjectives 'beautiful', 'red',
'clean'; and adverbs 'slowly', 'sometimes',

'beautifully' and 'fast'. The other group is
function words. These are all the small

words that connect content words. They're
essential to create a grammatically

correct sentence, but when they stand
alone they don't signify anything. We

don't know exactly what they mean. We are
talking here about prepositions like 'on',

'in', 'at'; verb be - 'am', 'is', 'are'; articles 'a', 'an'; determiners like 'the', 'this', 'that'. These
are the words that non-native speakers
struggle with when they're trying to

construct a sentence because, is it "have been", "has been", "had been"? So, when we speak, there
is always a strong preference towards
stressing content words. Content words

are the important words. If you say "had
been" versus "have been" the message is still

going to be clear. But, if you say "red"
instead of "blue", that's something

completely different. So content words
are always more important and that's how

we treat them when we think about
intonation because content words are the

words that are stressed usually, whereas
function words

are unstressed. And not only that they're
unstressed, they were reduced to a point

that it's even not clear anymore and
I'll give you a few more examples in a

second. Let's take for example the
sentence, and I'm going to say it broken

down a little bit, "The glass is on the
table." "The glass is on the table." And now

I'm gonna talk about all three elements:
melody, word stress and rhythm. So first

of all stress. We need to decide what are
the stressed words in the sentence. So

let's first recognize what are the
content words. "The glass is on the table."

we have 'glass' and 'table', two nouns. And
these are the words that I'm going to

stress in this sentence. Not every
content word is stressed the same, but

for now let's agree that these two words
are the words that I choose to stress.

This is where melody and rhythm comes
into play. Stressed words are higher in

pitch and longer. Higher in pitch, so they
get a higher note TAH-dah. The first note

was higher in pitch - TAH-dah -
and they're longer. Okay. "The GLASSs is on

the TABLE." So notice that I raised the
pitch for 'glass' and 'table'. "The glass is

on the table." Okay. So in terms of melody,
when words are stressed they're also

higher in pitch. Now one more thing I
want to tell you about melody is that

every syllable receives a different note
in English. It is not "The glass is on the

table" - ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta. "The
glasses on the table." It's not "The GLASS

is ON the TABLE." Its not every word is
going up and down, but I choose the

stress words and then these are the
words that are going to be higher in

pitch and from there I either go down or
I go up. Every syllable takes me one step

lower or higher. In this case, "The GLASS
is on

the" - so I keep going down because these
are not stressed words - "TAY", I'm starting

a new word that is stressed so I'm gonna
go high in pitch. "TAY-ble". "The glass is on

the table."
So that's melody what words I choose to

stress and go high in pitch for. Now,
while we choose to shine on the content

words, the words that bring the content,
in this case glass and tea bowl, by going

higher in pitch and prolonging them,
function words play a smaller role in

this show. They are reduced. We kind of
want to hide them. We want to reduce them

to a point where they don't interfere or
they don't compete with content words. So,

if we're going back to "The glass is on
the table", function words are "the", "is", "on",

and another "the". We reduce the vowel
in those words to a schwa. A schwa is a

really reduced vowel sound. It sounds
something like this: "uh". To make the sound, we

just drop the jaw a little bit, the
tongue rests on the bottom of the mouth

the lips are relaxed, and we release
sound - "uh" "uh". So the vowels and the function

words reduce through this "uh" sound.
Therefore the word "the", okay we don't say

"thee glass", we say "thuh glass." So the vowel
there is a schwa sound - "thuh" "thuh" -

and we connected it. It feels as if
it's one word "the glass". "Is" turns into "uhz".

"On" turns into "uhn", and again we have
another "thuh". So it's not "is on the", its

"zun-thuh", "zun-thuh". We reduce the vowel and we
connect the words together - "zun-thuh", "zun-thuh".

"Th'glass z'n'th table". "The glass on the table." "The glass on the table."
Now notice what happens, the "is" merges with "the glass" - "the glass'z".
"On" becomes 'mm' - "the glass'z'm". The N and TH connect - "the glass'n'th". Okay? So we can like
took these three words and squeeze them
into one utterance "zun-thuh" "zun-thuh".

"The glass on the table." So you get a sentence that
is a perfect balance between the high

and the low - "glass is on the" - between the
long and the short - "glass is" - right? "Glass"

is long, although it's one syllable, and
"is" is really reduced and also the stress. So

I invest more energy and I say a little
louder - "GLASS z'n'th" - to be able to connect

the words and to reduce them I have to
say the consonants softer - okay? It's

not enough so I have to invest less
energy in those function words to be

able to go through them smoothly and
then be ready for the next content word

where I'm gonna go higher pitch and I'm
gonna prolong them. Let's look at another

example, what if I told you that five
words can be shorter than one word with

one syllable. Five words are going to be
shorter than one word with one syllable.

How? Let's look at the next example: What
are you going to do? The "do" is the verb

here and that's the word that I'm going
to stress, okay?

Stress? Check! I know what word I'm
stressing. Then, I know that in terms of

melody, this word is going to be higher
in pitch because that's the word I want to

stress - "do" "do". So I already know the
ending. The beginning is a bunch of

function words, so I'm going to reduce
them. "What" turns into "wh't". "Are" turns into

"r". "You" turns into "yuh". "Going" to turns
into "gunna" "gunna". So instead of saying

"what are you going to", we say "wadaya gonna" "wadaya gonna". "Wadaya gonna do?"
"Wadaya gonna do?" "Wadaya gonna do?"
"Wadaya gonna do?" "Wadaya gonna do?" So the "do" is longer than the entire
first part of the sentence. It's longer
than the entire sentence because five

words versus one, one word with one
syllable is longer than the first five,

and this is why it's important to
remember that rhythm is a result of your

message - what you're trying to say. The
words that you stress are going to be

longer and louder and higher in pitch.
The words that are less important for

delivering your message are going to be
reduced to allow everything else to

stick out. In many languages, every
syllable has the same beat. It doesn't

matter if it's a content word or a
function word, if it's stressed or

unstressed, it receives the same length.
So a sentence like this is going to

sound something like "what are you going
to do", "what are you going to do." Okay? So "do" is gonna be super short. "What" is going to have the same length.

"To" have the same length as "do" - "what
are you going to do" - and then it's hard

to understand what is the important part
here. Okay, of course it's a simple

sentence but if we're talking about more
complex sentences and there is no

hierarchy between the words, it's really
hard to get your point. "What are you

gonna do" "what are you gonna do" "what are you going to do" "what are you gonna do".
Let's take a look at a sentence with
several content words: There are three

coins in the box. "There are three coins
in the box" Here, I chose to stress "coins"

and "box", so these words are high in pitch.
"There are three COINS in the BOX." "There are"

"there are" "there are" - that's reduced - "there'r three coins in the box."
"N-thuh" "N-thuh" "N-thuh" - also reduced.
"There are three coins in the box." I can also say "There

are THREE coins in the box." And when you
hear that you know that maybe someone

else thinks that there are five coins. No,
there are three coins in the box. Why are

you confusing me? There are three coins.
Why did you say there were

five? Okay, so it's the same sentence but
stressing a different word means

something slightly different. Now, I want
you to listen up here, and this is really

important. When we speak with a foreign
accent, what we do is we apply patterns

that we know from our native tongue on to
English. We don't do it consciously, its

just that's what comes out organically.
Now if we do that, if the patterns of our

native tongue are different from English
and sometimes contradictory to the

patterns of English, the result is that
the stress is not going to be clear. The

message is not going to be clear, because
if you're applying external intonation

and stressing things, let's say at the
beginning rather than the end, and in

English you want to stress the ending
usually, then what happens is that you

end up stressing the wrong words.
although you know how to construct the

sentence,, the words are accurate, you
don't make any grammar mistakes. But if

you don't distinguish the right words, if
you don't stress the right words, if you

don't put the emphasis on the words that
are stressed then you become unclear

then people may get something that is a
little different from what you mean. So

understanding that, recognizing your
patterns, and listening to how native

speakers speak, really helps you
understand how English should be spoken

and advances you in becoming a stronger,
a more confident and a clearer speaker.

Now I want to ask you - what, from
everything that I discussed today, melody,

rhythm, stress, is the most challenging
for you? What are you still struggling

with? Please let me know in the comments
below and don't forget to tell me where

you're from
and what is your native tongue and I

will do my best to create more content
and lessons that will help you resolve

all the issues that you're facing. Thank
you so much for watching. Please share

the video with your friends if you liked
it and you think that they may benefit

from it. And don't forget to subscribe to
my YouTube channel and click on the bell

to get notifications so you know when I'm releasing
a new video. Have a wonderful week and I
will see you next week in the next video.

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American INTONATION - What They don't Teach You in School | The Secrets of Native Speakers

183 Folder Collection
roofthinker published on January 21, 2019
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