Phát âmRSSPosts: 112
The H consonant sound. This sound is simply made, hh, by passing air through the mouth. Hhh, if you hear a sound like that, and you feel the soft palate bouncing against the tongue, it’s not a correct H sound, hh. It’s very quiet, just air coming though, hh, hh. The rest of the mouth position depends on the sound that comes next. For example, the word how, how. The lips and the tongue are both taking the position of the ‘ow’ as in ‘now’ diphthong. Hh, hh, how. Another example, who, who. You can see the lips are already rounding for the ‘oo’ as in ‘boo’ vowel even before the H sound is made, who.
Here we see the H consonant sound on the right compared with the mouth at rest. The only thing that must happen for this sound is that the lips be open to let the air through. The teeth will also be slightly parted. You can see the rest of the mouth is just as the mouth at rest, except for the soft palate which is raised in preparation for the vowel that follows. The lip position will also take the position of the vowel that follows. Sample words: happen, have, home. Sample sentence: He said hello to her when he got here. Now you’ll see this sentence up close and in slow motion, both straight on and from an angle, so you can really study how the mouth moves when making this sound.
He, the H is made as the mouth takes the ‘ee’ as in ‘she’ position. Said, teeth together for the S, ‘eh’ as in ‘bed’ and the tongue up for the D. Hello, which happens here as the mouth transitions from the eh into the dark L. To her, H made in the ‘ur’ as in ‘her’ vowel shape. When, lips make the W. Tongue up for the N. He, the H in the ‘ee’ as in ‘she’ shape. Got, tongue up to make the T which is a stop. Here. And the H is made in the ‘ee’ as in ‘she’ which goes quickly into the R consonant shape position.
And now from an angle. He, the H is made in the ‘ee’ as in ‘she’ position. Said, teeth together for the S. Hello, the H is made as the ‘eh’ as in ‘bed’ mouth [position] transitions into the dark L. The ‘oh’ as in ‘no’ diphthong. Tongue tip up for the T. To her, H happens in the ‘ur’ as in ‘her’ vowel shape. When, tongue up for the N, and the H is made here in the ‘ee’ as in ‘she’ position. He got. Tongue tip up here for the T which is a stop. Here, and the H is made as the mouth transitions into the ‘ee’ as in ‘she’ and then the R consonant sound shape. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.
Today I’m doing a big video, a lot of content. I hope it doesn’t get too confusing. But this whole big video is going to be on one little letter: T. How do you pronounce this letter? Luckily, there are some rules that I’m going to lay out that will help you figure out how to pronounce this letter.
At the beginning, let’s go ahead and throw out TH and TION. Th can be either the voiced or unvoiced TH sound: thanks, unvoiced [θ], or this, voiced [ð]. And the TION can either be sh [ʃ] as in motion, or ch [ʧ] as in mention. Ok, we’re done with that. Now let’s move on to the T sound.
The T can be silent, but we’ll talk about that later. In all other cases, there is one symbol used in IPA, and that is tt. However in practice, in real life conversation, you will hear native speakers use three different sounds. First, tt, the official T sound, as in the word ‘tap’. Second, what is called a tap T or flap T sound, it is identical to the D sound, as in the word auto. Now in my videos, and on my website in IPA, I actually do use the D symbol here, because that’s how it’s pronounced in conversation. Auto. Both of these sounds are described in detail, how to make them, in my Understanding the T and D Sounds video. If you haven’t watched that already, I do recommend it. And the third sound is the T as a stop. This is also explained in detail in another video, Stop Consonants, if you’re wondering how to make this sound. An example for this is the word wait. Wait, where the tongue moves up into position for the T, but then does not release. This is a stop. Wait. In my videos and on my website, when I want to symbolize this sound in IPA, I put a line after the T to signify a stop.
So when do you make which of these three sounds? There are rules, and of course exceptions to rules, to help you figure that out. First, rule one. When to make the tt real, actual, official T sound. Two parts, part one. You will make this sound when it begins the word or a stressed syllable within a word. For example, telephone or attend. TEND is the stressed syllable in the word. Attend. Therefore, tt, you do make that real T sound.
Second part, if it is part of a consonant cluster. Consonant clusters that happen at the beginning of words or syllables are st-, str-, or tr-. For example stop, strain, tram. Tt, tt, tt, in all of those cases you do make the actual T sound. Consonant clusters can also occur at the end of a word or syllable. There are five that will cause the tt T to be pronounced as a real T. They are CT, connect. FT, soft. LT, lilt. ST, first. And PT, slept. There is one ending consonant cluster I left off that list, that’s because it’s an exception. And it is NT. When this consonant cluster comes at the end of a word or syllable, the T is pronounced not, tt, as a real T, but actually as a stop. For example, environment, environment. Tt. You don’t generally release that in general conversation.
There is one other possible exception I thought of. And that is when someone is speaking really fast and reduces something. For example, the word to. It can be reduced to the word tt, with the schwa sound, as many reduced words and syllables take on the schwa sound. But, I think it can in fact be reduced to the flap T or D sound with the schwa [ə], even though it begins the word. For example, if I’m speaking really fast I might say Quarter to three, quarter to three. The word ‘to’ is actually getting a voiced sound under it. So it would then be the D sound. That is in very quick speech and it’s the only exception to the T at the beginning of the word being the tt real T sound that I can think of. But I wanted to mention it.
Rule 2: when to use the tap or flap T, in other words, D sound. This happens when the T, either written with 1 or 2 Ts, comes between two vowel or diphthong sounds. For example, mutter. Mutter: the flap/tap T, or D, sound. This doesn’t just have to be the T sound within a word. It can be a T at the end of a word when the next word is linked and begins with a vowel. For example, What about me? What about me? The T in that sentence comes between two vowel sounds, so it is also pronounced this way.
One exception: the schwa is a vowel sound. But when the T is followed by the schwa and the N sound, the T is not pronounced as a flap even if there was a vowel before. Rather, it is pronounced as a stop. For example, the word tighten. Here the T is between the ‘ai’ as in ‘buy’ diphthong [aɪ] and the schwa-N combination. It’s between two vowel sounds, but it is not pronounced as a flap. It is the stop. Tighten. If you can see, the tongue does not change position between the T and the N sound. Tighten. Tight – stop – N. That’s why you don’t bother with flapping the T there. Tighten, tighten.
Before we keep going, let’s compare the words ‘auto’ and ‘atone’. In both cases, the T is surrounded by vowel sounds. But do you hear a difference? Auto, atone. In the first word it is pronounced as a D, and in the second word as a T. Why is that? Auto, atone. The reason is: think back to rule 1. Because the T in ‘atone’ is beginning the stressed syllable. So rule 1 is more powerful than rule 2. Even though in atone it comes between two vowel sounds, the first rule overrides it. Because it is beginning the stressed syllable, it is pronounced tt, as a real T. Auto, atone.
Rule 3: when to pronounce it as a stop. We’ve already gone over two cases in our exceptions to previous rules. The exception to rule 1 was the ending consonant cluster NT, where it is pronounced as a stop as in environment, sent. The exception to rule 2, when it is followed by the schwa and the N sound, as in tighten. There is it also pronounced as a stop. It also happens any time a word or a syllable ends in a T except for those rule 1 ending consonant clusters, and except for the rule 2, when the next word it is being linked to begins with a vowel. Examples: about, fitness.
There are some words that are just written with a silent T. For example, Christmas, whistle, mortgage. These, unfortunately, just need to be learned. There is one case, I’ve noticed, where sometimes native speakers will altogether leave out a T sound that does actually exist in IPA. This would be when a T begins an unstressed syllable and the syllable before ended with an N, I’ve noticed this. For example, interview. Interview. There’s no stop, there’s no T, there’s no D. Also, wanted. I wanted to know. Wanted. Again, no stop, no T, and no D. These could possibly be considered lazy pronunciations, but I guarantee you will hear them.
Ok, that was a lot of information that I just gave you. The best way to figure out if you’ve gotten it all is to simply go over words and figure out how the T would be pronounced and why. So we’re going to go through another video that does just that, look for it. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English!
This is a follow up video to different pronunciations for the T. If you haven’t watched that video, you should, because everything that was learned there is going to be reviewed via testing in this video. First what we’re going to do is look at a list of words and decide how the T is pronounced in the word.
First, this word. How do you pronounce that T? It is at the beginning of the word, therefore it is pronounced with the real T sound, T, time. This word. How to pronounce this T? This T comes between two vowel sounds. Therefore it is pronounced as the flap/tap T, or, in other words, the D sound. Water, water. How do you pronounce the T in this word? It comes at the end of a syllable in the consonant cluster FT. Therefore, as it is part of this cluster, it is pronounced as a real T sound. Softer, tt, tt, softer.
How do you pronounce the T in this word? In this word it is followed by a schwa [ə] and the N sound. Therefore it is pronounced as a stop. Fountain, fountain. How do you pronounce the T in this word? It ends the word. It is not part of a consonant cluster. Therefore, it is a stop. Carpet, carpet. How do you pronounce this word? It is part of a consonant cluster, therefore, it is pronounced as a real T. St, st, string, string. How do you pronounce the T’s here? They come between two vowel sounds. Therefore, it is the flap/tap T or the D sound. How do you pronounce the T here? It is beginning a stressed syllable. Therefore, it is pronounced as the real T. Tt, tt, until, until.
Let’s compare these two words. In one of the words, the double T is pronounced as the tt, real T sound. In the other word it is the flap or tap T, in other words, the D sound. Which is which? The first word: the stress falls on the second syllable, which is begun with the T sound. Therefore, it is a true T. A real, tt, T sound. Attack, attack. In the second word, it begins an unstressed syllable, and it falls between two vowel sounds. Attitude. Attitude. Therefore it is the flap/tap T or, dd, the D sound.
Let’s look at some sentences now. How do you pronounce the first T? The T at the end of the word ‘what’. Well, the T is at the end of the word, it is not part of a consonant cluster, and it does not link to a next word that begins with a vowel or diphthong. Therefore, it must be a stop. The second word, how do you pronounce that T? It begins the word. Therefore, it is the, tt, actual T sound. What time, what time. And the next T, also it’s beginning a word. Therefore, it is the actual T sound. What time tomorrow? And the answer, how do you pronounce that T? Again it is ending a word, and the word that comes after does not begin with a vowel or diphthong sound. Therefore, it’s a stop. At, at, at, at seven. At seven. What time tomorrow? At seven.
This sentence. How do you pronounce that T? It’s at the end of a word, but it does link to the next word, which begins with a vowel sound. Therefore, the sound comes between two vowel sounds. It is then going to be pronounced as the flap/tap T, or, in other words, the D sound. I’m outta, I’m outta. Now, in this particular phrase, the word ‘of’ is generally reduced to simply being the schwa sound. No consonant. I’m out of here. I’m out of here. How do you pronounce the T in this sentence? Not the TH. It begins a word, so it would be the tt, real T sound. But as I said in the different T pronunciations video, it is a reduced word, and it might be reduced to the point of actually having a voiced sound there. Dd, dd, rather than tt, tt. I’m going to the bank, I’m going to the bank, I’m going – to – the bank.
How do you pronounce the Ts in this sentence? In the first word, it begins the word, so it is the tt, actual T sound. Tell. The next T is part of the TR consonant cluster, and also, it’s beginning a word. Again, it’s the tt, real T sound. Tell me the truth.
How do you pronounce the Ts in this sentence? In the first word. It is part of a consonant cluster at the beginning of a syllable. It is pronounced as a real T. Tt, chemistry. Chemistry. How do you pronounce the next T? It’s at the end of a word, not part of a consonant cluster, but it does connect to the next word, which begins with a vowel sound. Therefore it would be dd, dd, the flap T sound, or, the D sound. At eight, at eight. I just gave away the next word. How do you pronounce that T? Well, the next word, Anatomy, does begin with a vowel. But there’s a comma there, which means we’re not going to connect it. Therefore it is a T at the end of a word, not part of a consonant cluster, it’s a stop. At eight, at eight. Chemistry’s at eight. how do you pronounce the T in the next word? Again it is a T between two vowel sounds. Anatomy, anatomy. Therefore it is the flap T sound, or, D. Anatomy. And again, the T in the next word is pronounced as a stop. It comes at the end of the word. At, at. And finally, it begins the word. Therefore it is pronounced as the real T. Tt, ten.
How do you pronounce the T’s in this sentence. The first T. It’s followed by the schwa and N sounds. Therefore, it is a stop. An acquaintance, an acquaintance. And the next T? It begins a word. Therefore it is, tt, the actual T sound. An acquaintance told me. How do you pronounce the Ts in this sentence? The first T finishes the word, but it is part of a consonant cluster, therefore it is pronounced as the actual T. I slept, tt, tt, I slept. The next T? Again, it is part of a consonant cluster at the end of a word. It is pronounced, tt, as an actual T. I slept well last… And finally, the T here is the end of the word. Not part of a consonant cluster. It is a stop. I slept well last night.
How do you pronounce the T in this sentence? It’s an ending T, it’s part of a consonant cluster, but remember NT was the exception consonant cluster. So the T here is a stop. I was sent, I was sent, I was sent home. I was sent home. I hope this has helped to clarify this pretty complicated situation: how to pronounce a T, depending on where it falls in a word or sentence. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.
This is yet another video on the letter T. I’ve already done a few videos on it, but it’s such a big subject, I can’t quite seem to get away from it. Today we’re going to talk about this case: party, party. Do you hear how the T is being pronounced here? Party. If you’ve already seen my video on T pronunciations, then you know when the letter T or double T comes between two vowel sounds, that it is often pronounced in everyday speech by native speakers as a D sound. For example, butter, water. But I got an email from someone recently saying that he’s noticed when the letter T comes after the R and before a vowel, that in this case too, it is sometimes pronounced as a D. And I admit, I’ve noticed this myself.
Now, I’m not saying that new English speakers should try to do this. But I am saying I’ve noticed that native speakers to it, so let’s point it out, let’s talk about it, so you know what’s happening when you hear it. The R consonant sound. When it is not at the beginning of a syllable, whether by itself or in a cluster, it sounds just like the ‘ur’ as in ‘her’ vowel. For example, in the word alert, alert. Here it is the R consonant sound, but it’s just like the ur vowel sound, rr, rr. So when the R comes after the vowel or diphthong in a syllable, it functions much like the ‘ur’ vowel sound. For example in the word alert, alert alert, there is no change in sound there from the ‘ur’ as in ‘her’ vowel symbol to the R consonant symbol. Ur, it’s all just one sound. And this R consonant as a vowel sound occurs any time the R consonant comes after the vowel or diphthong in a syllable.
For example in the word ‘father’, er, er. It’s that same sound, even in a syllable where there is a distinct, separate vowel sound before the R consonant. For example, in the word ‘part’. Ah, rr. Part, part, part. It may be a little quicker here, but it’s that same R consonant as vowel sound. This is why native speakers might pronounce it as a D when it comes after this sound and before a vowel sound. It’s that same rule, when it comes between two vowel sounds, even though it would be written in IPA with the R consonant sound. The R consonant sound in these cases is just like the ‘ur’ as in ‘her’ vowel sound.
Let’s look at some examples. Alerted, alerted. I’ve alerted the staff. Article, article. I read that article. Charter, charter. They’ll sign the charter tomorrow. Mortified, mortified. I was mortified. Sorted, sorted. We sorted it out. Vertical, vertical. Please draw a vertical line.
You may find that you hear this not only within a word, but in a phrase. When a word ends with -rt, and the next word begins with a vowel. Let’s look at some examples of that. Part of, part of. It’s part of the problem. Sort of, sort of, it sort of got out of hand. Expert in, expert in. He’s an expert in pronunciation. Airport on, airport on. I want to get to the airport on time. As I said, if you’re not comfortable with integrating this into your speech, that’s ok. But you probably will hear native speakers do it. Part of, part of, part of, part of. When the T gets changed to a D sound, it does smooth out the line somewhat. Part of, part of, part of. And linking and smoothing things out is a big part of American English. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.
In this American English pronunciation video, you’re going to come to a work day at this beautiful farm. We’ll also tudy pronunciation of the letter T, using ‘kinda’, and the reduction of the words ‘because’ and ‘to’.
In this video, we’re going to take a look at some stop T endings. When a word ends in a T that’s not a part of a consonant cluster, that T will often be a stop. For example, the word ‘out’ will often be ‘out’, ‘out’. But when that word is followed by another word that begins with a vowel, it will often be a flap T because now it comes between two vowels when linked together. So, for example, in the phrase ‘out of’. That T will go from being a stop in the word ‘out’ to being a flap in the phrase ‘out of’. These are general guidelines. You will hear people clearly pronounce the full true T at the end of the word ‘out’ sometimes. It all depends on the habit of the speaker, and how clearly the speaker is enunciating.
>> What is the assignment today? What is. Flap T. Listen again.
>> What is the assignment today?
>> What is the assignment today?
>> What is the assignment today?
>> Well, you can pull up some landscape fabric,
>> Or take this, break this down.
>> Uh-huh. >
> Or carry some wood over to the trees.
>> Or help take this structure down.
>> Okay. Great.
>> Or snip some herbs.
>> Snip some herbs. That sounds like the most fun out of everything that you just said.
Did you notice how I dropped the T sound in the phrase ‘just said’. Sometimes, we’ll drop the T when it comes between two other consonant sounds. For example, the word ‘exact’. We will say an ending true T there. But when we add -ly, it’s not uncommon to drop the T: exactly, exactly, just said. Listen again.
>> Everything that you just said.
>> Everything that you just said.
>> Everything that you just said.
>> Hi Michelle.
>> Hi Rachel.
>> What project are you working on there?
>> I’m tearing this down. I’m destroying it.
>> You’re doing a good job.
>> Thanks. Kinda fun. You should join in.
>> I should help, instead of videotape, right?
>> It’s ok. We’re doing a pretty good job.
Did you notice how Michelle said ‘kinda’. She reduced the word ‘of’ to just the schwa vowel and attached it to the word ‘kind’. Kinda, kinda. Listen again.
>> Kinda fun. Kinda fun. Kinda fun. You should join in.
For the record, I didn’t only make a video. I did also help.
>> It’s stuck!
>> Michelle, let me help you with that.
>> Hey, thanks Rachel.
>> It’s a good thing I’ve been working out lately.
Working out. Stop T. Working out lately. Listen again.
>> Working out lately. Working out lately. Working out lately.
>> Edgar is documenting me documenting.
>> Documenting you documenting me.
>> It’s a meta-documentary going on there.
>> Notice how HaQuyen leaves off the T in ‘documentary’.
>> Do you know why you’re doing that?
>> Why am I doing it? Am I reducing it?
>> Well, it’s, T is a weird letter, and sometimes after N we do drop it. Like, in words like ‘center’, we’ll say ‘cenner’. Interview …
>> ‘Innerview’. Documentary.
>> Rachel, why’d you take off your hat and jacket?
>> Because I got hot.
Did you notice how I reduced the word ‘because’ to ‘cuz’, ‘cuz’. Because I got hot. Listen again.
>> Because I got hot. because I got hot. Because I got hot.
Also, did you notice that stop T: hot, hot.
>> Because I got hot. Because I got hot. Because I got hot. Do you remember that awesome video I made on ‘hot’ back in the summer?
>> Uh, no, I don’t.
>> You actually don’t need to respond. I’m going to put a link to it then.
>> How can I help, Rachel?
>> Well, we’re about to need to take all the plants that have grown on this out.
Did you notice how I said ‘about to’. And I reduced the word ‘to’ to the true T and the schwa sound. The reason why I didn’t make it a flap T is because the word before ended in a T. So in this case, when we reduce the word ‘to’, we need to keep the true T. About to. About to. Listen again.
>> We’re about to need to take
>> We’re about to need to take
>> We’re about to need to take all of the plants that have grown on this out.
>> Edgar, how much time did we save you by coming to the work day?
>> You saved at least a month.
>> Oh, wow! That’s great.Great. There I released the T, making the ending T a true T sound. Listen again.
>> That’s great. That’s great. That’s great. What are you going to do with that extra month?
>> Think I’ll work some more! >> Get other stuff done.
>> Get other stuff done.
>> Thanks for having us out.
Out. There I made the ending T a stop T. Listen again.
>> Thanks for having us out.
>> Thanks for having us out.
>> Thanks for having us out.
>> Thank you for coming. You guys were great.
>> Our pleasure.
>> Ready? Okay.
>> That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English!
>> He was quiet for the whole take, I can hardly believe it. Thank you.
The T and D consonant sounds. These two sounds are paired together because they take the same mouth position. Tt is unvoiced, meaning, only air passes through the mouth. And dd is voiced, meaning, uh, uh, dd, you make a noise with the vocal cords. These consonants are stop consonants, which means there are two parts. First, a stop of the airflow, and second, a release. The airflow is stopped by the tongue position. The tongue will come up and the front part will touch the roof of the mouth just behind the top teeth. It will then pull down to release the air. The teeth are together, tt, and as the air comes out, when the tongue releases, they part, tt, dd. Let’s take for example the word ‘pat’. Pat: the first part, the tongue has moved up into position, cutting off the flow of air. Pa-tt. And the second part, the tongue releases, and the air comes through the closed teeth.
A note about the teeth position for the D. As I said, the teeth are together, tt, and part when the air is released. This must happen for a release of the T. But the D can actually be made without the teeth coming all the way together: dad, dad. You can see there the teeth are not closing all the way, but you’re getting a D sound by the tongue coming up into position and pulling away.
Stop consonants are sometimes pronounced without the second part, without this release, when they come at the end of a syllable or a word. Let’s take for example the sentence ‘I bet you did’. I bet, you can see the tongue has moved up into position for the T. I bet you did. But rather than releasing air through the teeth, the mouth simply moves into the next sound, which is the ‘ew’ as in ‘few’ diphthong. I bet you did. I bet you did. No release. It’s important to note we’re not just leaving out the sound. I bet — the tongue is moving into position, which is cutting off the airflow. And that stop is part of the T. I bet you did. So even though we’re not releasing to give the complete full T, the idea is still there by the tongue going into position, cutting off the airflow. So T and D can sometimes be pronounced with the stop and the release, and sometimes just the stop.
The T has another pronunciation, it’s call the flap or tap T, and on my website in the International Phonetic Alphabet, I use the D symbol to represent this sound because it sounds and functions, and is made just like the D. This sound happens when the T comes between two vowel sounds. Let’s take for example, the word madder and matter. One is spelled with two D’s, and one with two T’s. But they’re pronounced the same: madder, matter. Let’s look at them in sentences. I’m madder than I’ve ever been. What’s the matter? It’s the same sound.
The lip position of these sounds is influenced by the sound that comes next. For example, dime, dime. You can see the mouth is taking the shape of the first sound of the ‘ai’ as in ‘buy’ diphthong, dime, even before the D is made. Drain, drain. Again, you can see the lips taking the position for the R, drain, even before the D is made. Do, do, again you can see the lips taking the circle for the ‘oo’ as in ‘boo’ vowel. Do, do. Here we see the T/D mouth position on the right compared with the mouth at rest on the left. Here, parts of the mouth are drawn in. The soft palate is raised for these consonant sounds. The tongue position stretches up in the front and presses against the roof of the mouth to make the stop before releasing the air. The position is just behind the top front teeth. Sample words: time/dime, tad/dad, tote/dote. The last two word pairs ended with T’s and D’s. Did you notice that I did not release them? Sample sentence: Tom tasted Dad’s dark chocolate treats. Now you will see this sentence up close and in slow motion, both straight on and from an angle, so you can really study how the mouth moves making these sounds.
Tom, with the T, you see the teeth close, the tongue raised behind them. And there’s the release. Tom. The lips will close for the M, and when they open you will see the teeth are still closed for the T in tasted. Then the ST consonant cluster, and there there’s a quick ih vowel, there, before the D, tasted. Dad’s. The tongue will come up here to make the D, there will be a quick Z before the D in dark, and you can see the lips already starting to take the form of the R even before the teeth release. Chocolate, tongue through the teeth for the L, and then up to make the T which is a stop here. Treats, and again you see the lips forming the R even before the teeth release the T. And the TS sound at the end.
Tom, you see the tongue tip up behind the closed teeth, releasing into the ‘ah’ as in ‘father’. Lips close for the M. Tasted, tongue up to make the T, quick ih sound and then the D, tasted, Dad’s. Tongue up again to make the final D. Dad’s. Dark, lips taking the form of the R. Chocolate, tongue up for the L and then to the roof of the mouth to make the stop of the T. And treats, where the lips form the R shape around the closed teeth. And tongue tip up to make the final T, and S sound. Treats. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.
This video comes to you from Dillon, Colorado, where I’m spending Christmas with my family. I’m going to introduce you to my cousin and my cousin’s husband. Do you notice anything interesting about how those words are pronounced? If not, stay tuned.
>> Hi, I’m Rachel’s cousin Nikki.
>> I’m Rachel’s cousin’s husband, Steve.
>> Did you notice how they pronounced the words ‘cousin’ and ‘husband’? Listen again.
>> Hi, I’m Rachel’s cousin Nikki.
>> I’m Rachel’s cousin’s husband, Steve.
Did you notice how they pronounced the S as a Z sound? This is actually quite common in American English. I’ve done a video on how to pronounce plural nouns. There are many cases there where the final S will be pronounced as a final Z. The same rules apply to third person verb conjugations. But in the words ‘cousin’ and ‘husband’, they’re not plural nouns, and they’re not third person verb conjugations. They’re simply words where the S is pronounced as a Z. Unfortunately, there are no rules to tell you why the S is pronounced as a Z. But there are a whole slew of words where this is the case, and they just have to be memorized.
Two days ago, my cousin’s husband Steve took me snowboarding. Unfortunately, because I’m not very good at it, I fell many times. And I’ve ended up with a huge bruise on my knee. Both knees, actually. Did you notice? Because, with a Z. But also, did you notice, bruise. Spelled with an S, pronounced with a Z.
>> Don’t believe her, she did an excellent job. Do believe her about the bruise, though.
>> Yes, the bruise is, is not a lie.
Other words where the S is pronounced as a Z: is, his, use. Now, let’s stop for a minute and talk about use. In verb form, the S in ‘use’ is pronounced as a Z. But when it’s a noun, use, it’s pronounced as an S. So that’s one way you can differentiate between which form of the word is being used. This also applies to a few other words, for example, house. As a noun it is an S, and as a verb, house, it is a Z. Was, design, lose. These are just some of the many words where the S will be pronounced as a Z. Special thanks to my cousin and her husband for being in this video with me. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.
The S and Z consonant sounds. These two sounds are paired together because they take the same mouth position. Ss is unvoiced, meaning only air passes through the mouth, and zz is voiced, meaning you make a sound with the vocal cords. To make the sound, the lips part and the corners pull back while the teeth themselves lightly touch, ss, zz. The tip of the tongue is down, lightly touching behind the bottom front teeth, ss, ss, while further back, the top of the tongue raises and actually touches the roof of the mouth, ss, zz, about here. The tongue touches on either side of the roof of the mouth, but down the middle there’s a passage where it’s not touching. This is where the air comes, ss, zz.
Here is the S and Z consonant sound shape on the right compared with the mouth at rest. And with parts of the mouth drawn in. The soft palate is raised for these sounds. But more importantly, note the tongue position. It stretches forward and up. The important point of contact is where the tongue touches the bottom teeth. The sides of the tongue are raised, pressing against the sides of the roof of the mouth. The teeth are closed but the lips are parted. Sample words: sip/zip, see/zebra, bus/buzz. Sample sentence: Because it’s sunny and he’s fair-skinned, he has to wear sunscreen. Now you will see this sentence up close and in slow motion, both straight on and from an angle, so you can really study how the mouth moves when making this sound.
Lips press lightly together for the B sound. Because, with the ‘uh’ as in ‘butter’ sound. Teeth come together to make the Z, and you can see the tongue there right behind them. It’s, the S sound, teeth together with the tongue right behind. Sunny, ‘uh’ as in ‘butter’, tongue goes up to make the N. And, jaw drops for the ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’, tongue up for the N and D. He’s fair-skinned, bottom lip up for the F, fair-skinned, teeth together for the S with the tongue just behind. Jaw drops a bit for the ‘ih’ as in ‘sit’. Tongue up to the roof of the mouth for the ND sound. He has. Now here, has would normally be pronounced with a Z, but because it’s followed by an unvoiced consonant, the T, it is pronounced as an S. He has to wear. Lips form the W shape. Sunscreen. Teeth together for the S, sunscreen. And again for the S in -screen. Lips form the R position, ‘ee’ as in ‘she’, and tongue tip up to make the N.
Lips press together for the B in because, teeth come together to make the Z sound with the tongue just behind. It’s. TS sound. Sunny, the S sound, teeth closed. ‘Uh’ as in ‘butter’, tongue up for the N. And, jaw drops for the ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’, tongue up for the ND. He’s, teeth together to make the Z sound. This Z sound also could come across as an S because it’s followed by an unvoiced consonant. Bottom lip up for the F, fair-skinned. Teeth together for the S, ‘ih’ as in ‘sit’ sound, tongue up for the N. He, he has to, jaw drops for the ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’, normally pronounced as a Z, here it is pronounced as an S because it is connected to the T, hast, has to wear. Teeth together for the S, sun-, and again for the S, -screen. Lips form the R consonant shape. The ‘ee’ as in ‘she’ and the tongue tip up for the N. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.
In this American English pronunciation video we’re going to have some fun holding out the R sound.
As with any new concept or sound, it’s a great idea to slow something down when you’re first working with it. Slow it down, and drill it over and over. If you can speed up, great. But never sacrifice correctness for more speed. Today we’re going to apply this slow-down method to the R consonant, specifically, in consonant clusters. I’ve noticed, with some of my students, that even when they’ve gotten a good R sound, sometimes in clusters it tends to turn more into a W sound. Or, sometimes, it turns into more of a D sound, a flap. Now when you do this, you can’t hold it out. So holding out the R is a good way to test that you’re doing it correctly. So, say these words along with me, really holding out the R sound. If it feels awkward, that’s a good sign that you really need this exercise, that the R sound is not yet second nature to you.
If that was hard or uncomfortable, do it again. And do it on your own many times.
That is what it takes to drill a sound that is new. I hope this helps.That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.
I recently got an email asking me to outline several sounds. The first one is the ‘ar’, ‘ar’, that would be the ‘ah’ as in ‘father’ moving into the rr, rr consonant sound. Well, as you can see I’m sure, there is a shift in the jaw. Ah: the jaw is dropped and relaxed. Rr: to make this R sound, the tongue, which went from lying on the bottom of the mouth, has to come up so that the sides of the tongue can touch the inside top of the teeth. Rr, rr. And in order for it to raise (the tongue) the jaw has to go with the tongue. Aah-rr. Ah: the sound is very relaxed and it feels further back here. Rr, rr: when the tongue comes up and presses against the inside of the teeth, that brings the jaw up, which brings the sound more forward. Ahrr, ahrr. Some words: hard, heart, car, marsh. Ar: car, marsh, hard, heart.
The second sound that was requested is the orn sound, orn. Now, written in IPA, the vowel sound here is written as the ‘aw’ as in ‘law’. I really feel though that it’s a separate sound when it’s spelled with an O. It’s closer to the oy as in boy, o, o, I feel. But, how does it transition into that R sound? Orn, thorn, o, you can see the lips start in a little bit in the corners. But the rr, rr, they go back to being out. So that is the first change. Or. Also, just like as in the ‘ar’, the jaw is more dropped in the vowel sound and it needs to come up more to follow the tongue as it rises to touch on the insides of the top teeth. Or, or. Now to make the N for the sound. The tongue, the tip of the tongue, which was touching nothing in the R sound (in the R sound it’s the sides of the tongue that touch), needs to come up and touch the top of the mouth. So it goes from being here, where the sides are touching to form the R, to raising and touching the roof of the mouth. Rrnn. And you can see that the tip of the tongue has to move forward to do that because it is here, just behind the teeth, where the tongue touches to make the N: o-rr-nn, and then the sides of the lips relax. Some words: Worn, morning, born.
The third sound requested: what is the difference between few and fuel? Now, this is interesting, because fuel ends in an L. And it is related to the blog entry I just did on the L sound, the light and the dark. In that blog, I said that when it is at the end of a word, the L takes on a dark quality in which it is preceded by a vowel, uh, before the tongue moves up to position. And that’s exactly what happens here. Few, few, fuel. Uh-ll is the dark L sound. So ‘few’ is part of the word ‘fuel’, however, fuel has those two extra sounds on the end, the uh-ll, the dark L (the two sounds that make up the dark L). Few, fuel.
And the last sound requested is the T N sound. As in mountain, cotton, kitten. On all of these examples, the T is in the middle of the word, which often means it’s not pronounced tt with that escape of air in which the T is really crisp and heard. It often takes on a sound similar to the D. I find it more as a stop than a sound itself. Mount-n. Mountain. Now the thing that’s interesting about this, is when the T is not pronounced sharply in the middle of a word, the tongue position it takes is that of a D, which is its related consonant. Mount-n. Now if I was to say the word dad, dad, which begins with a D, the tongue begins in a position at the top of the mouth. This part is all touching the roof of the mouth. Dad. It’s similar to the N, in which this part touches the front of the mouth, on the roof, nn, but for the dd, it’s more of the tongue, and it’s more of the whole roof of the mouth. Dad, dad. So when we make this T sound in the middle of a word, we bring our tongue up into that position. Mount: it’s touching the roof of the mouth. Now, I said it’s almost more of a stop than of a sound itself because we don’t actually say a D sometimes. We bring the tongue up, which stops the sound. And to the native ear, it makes enough of the sound, that we know what it is [a T]. Now interestingly, it’s very related to the nn sound, so the tongue is pretty much in the position to make the N. Mount-n. The tongue just needs to slide a little bit forward on the roof of the mouth to bring it up to make that nn sound. Mountain. Cotton. Kitten. I have a mountain of work to do. My cotton shirt shrunk. I wanted a puppy but I got a kitten.