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  • In this American English pronunciation video, we're going to over the pronunciation of the

  • ordinal numbers 1-10: first, second, third, and so on.

  • I've made a series of videos on How to pronounce Cardinal numbers: 1, 2, 3. In this video we'll

  • go over ordinal numbers.

  • First, first. It begins with the F consonant sound, where the bottom lip will come up and

  • touch here, ff, ff, the bottom of the top front teeth. Then we have the UR vowel. The

  • UR vowel gives some people trouble because they think there needs to be a vowel sound

  • before an R consonant. But think of the UR vowel as the vowel version of the R sound.

  • It's always written in IPA with the R consonant sound coming after it, but it's just one sound,

  • rrr, fir-. The tongue draws up and back for this, right up at the roof of the mouth, either

  • touching the roof of the mouth on the sides, or the bottom/insides of the top teeth. So

  • you want to go straight from the F sound to the R sound: fff-rrr. A good way to test this

  • is to make sure you're not doing a big jaw drop, that's a sign that you're trying to

  • put in a different kind of vowel sound, fir-. Then we end with the ST consonant cluster.

  • So the teeth come together, the tongue tip goes down, sss. A trick here is rather than

  • raising your tongue tip up for the T, you can leave the tip down, then push the part

  • of the tongue just behind the tip to the roof of the mouth, to cut off the air. To release

  • the T, and let the air flow continue, just pull the tongue back down, first, first. Let

  • the teeth part a little bit for the air to release. First.

  • The word 'second' begins with the S consonant sound. Then the EH as in BED vowel, so the

  • jaw has to drop a good bit, se-, se-. The next syllable is unstressed, so it will be

  • fast. SEH-knd, -knd, -knd. We have the K consonant sound, and the schwa/N sound, so the N takes

  • over the schwa. You don't need to worry about making it a separate sound, and finally

  • the D sound. Second, second.

  • Third. This begins with the unvoiced TH sound, so the tongue tip must come just through the

  • teeth. Th, th, third. Then we have the UR vowel / R consonant sounds, just like in the

  • word FIRST. Fiiiiirst, thiiiiiird. So don't let your jaw drop. Then, a light D sound to

  • finish. Third, dd, third.

  • And now we're at the point where they all end in an unvoiced TH --- until we get up

  • to twenty-first. So, fourth begins with the F consonant, just

  • like 'first', where the bottom lip comes up and lightly touches the bottom of the top front

  • teeth, ff. You have two options for the vowel sound, either the AW as in LAW, or the OH

  • as in NO diphthong, which is what I use. At any rate, unlike 'first', where we have the

  • UR vowel then the R sound, here we do need some jaw drop to make the shape of either

  • the AW as in LAW vowel, or the OH as in NO sound, before the tongue pulls back and up

  • for the R consonant sound, fourth. And then, we finish with the unvoiced TH, where the

  • front part of the tongue comes just out of the teeth, not too far, and air lightly passes

  • through. Fourth.

  • Fifth -- we've got a lot of unvoiced consonants in this one. We again start with the F consonant,

  • fff. Then the IH as in SIT vowel, where we have a little bit of jaw drop, fi-, and the

  • tongue tip says down while the front part of the tongue stretches up and forward towards

  • the front part of the roof of the mouth, fi-. Then we have the F and unvoiced TH sounds,

  • fifth. This can be a little tricky. First, you need to bring the bottom lip up to the

  • top teeth, ff, then, while you continue to let air out, you drop the lip and let the

  • tip of the tongue through the teeth. FFTHFFTH. Fifth, fifth. You might sometimes hear a native

  • speaker simplify this by dropping the F before the TH: 'fith', 'fith'.

  • Sixth -- again, a lot of unvoiced consonants. We start with the S sound, tongue tip down,

  • teeth together. SS. Then the IH as in SIT vowel with a little jaw drop. Si-. Now we

  • have the K, S and TH sounds together. They are all unvoiced, so we're just passing air

  • through, no engagement of the vocal cords. The K: tongue tip stays where it was for the

  • IH, lightly touching behind the bottom front teeth. The back part of the tongue reaches

  • up and touches the soft palate here, the back part of the roof of the mouth, and pulls away.

  • As it pulls away, the teeth come together, again the tongue tips stays where it is for

  • the S. Then the tongue tip simply moves up a bit so that it can come just though the

  • teeth. ksth. ksth. Just practice that on its own, and don't rush it, ksth. Sixth, sixth.

  • Seventh. Just like 'second', stress in on the first syllable. So the second will shorter,

  • flatter, and lower in pitch, seventh. We begin with the S consonant sound and EH vowel, just

  • like 'second', so make sure you're dropping your jaw enough for that EH vowel. Then we

  • have the V, which looks just like all these F's we've been talking about, only it's voiced,

  • so the vocal chords are engaged, making a sound. Sev-, seventh. Then we have the schwa/N sound,

  • And the N takes over the schwa, so you don't need to worry about making it a separate sound,

  • -ven, -ven, -ven. And finally, the unvoiced TH. Usually, the tongue tip lifts to the roof

  • of the mouth for the N. But, a shortcut: You can actually bring the tip of the tongue just

  • through the teeth and press the part just behind it to the roof of the mouth for the

  • N. So not the tip. That way your tongue doesn't really need to change positions between those

  • two sounds. Seventh, seventh.

  • Eighth. -- This one's pretty simple. The AY diphthong and the unvoiced TH. Eighth. The

  • biggest mistake my students make with the AY diphthong is that they don't drop their

  • jaw enough for the first sound. Eighth. And of course, the unvoiced TH, where the tongue

  • tip comes through the teeth. Eighth, eighth.

  • Ninth. This begins with the N consonant sound. The flat, top part of the tongue is up at

  • the roof of the mouth. NN. Then we have the AI as in BUY diphthong, again a common issue

  • is not to drop the jaw enough. So make sure you do, ni-. Then for the second half of the

  • diphthong, the tongue tip stays down while the front part of the tongue stretches up

  • towards the front part of the roof of the mouth, ni-, ni-. Then again the N / TH sound

  • just as in 'seventh'. Ninth, ninth.

  • Tenth. We start here with a True T sound: ttt. Tongue tip is at the roof of the mouth,

  • teeth are together, the air is stopped. Then the tongue tip pulls down, the teeth part,

  • and the air is released. TTeh -- the EH vowel, just as in 'second' and 'seventh', we need

  • jaw drop, te-, te-. And then again, the NTH ending. Tenth, tenth.

  • So there you have it, ordinal numbers 1-10. We had a lot of consonant clusters, lots of

  • ending TH to practice. I hope this helps.

  • Practice your English. Make up a sentence that includes an ordinal number. Record yourself

  • saying it, and post it as a video response to this video on YouTube. I can't wait to watch.

  • That's it, and thanks so much for using Rachel's English!

In this American English pronunciation video, we're going to over the pronunciation of the

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B1 tongue vowel sound tongue tip teeth consonant

How to Pronounce ORDINAL NUMBERS -- American English

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    Shelby Lai posted on 2013/12/08
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