[gr] ‘gr’ as in ‘graduate’

In this American English pronunciation video, we’re going to go over pronunciation of the word ‘graduate’.

This week’s word of the week is ‘graduate’. Graduate is the verb form: gra-du-ate. It can also be pronounced ‘graduate’, in this case it’s either an adjective or a noun. Graduate, graduate. So, for both of them the stress is on the first syllable, gra-, gra-. We begin with the GR consonant cluster. To make the G, the back part of the tongue reaches up and touches the soft palate. Gg, gg. To make the R, the tongue pulls back, so the middle part of the tongue is touching here, and the front part of the tongue isn’t touching anything. Grrr, grrr, you should be able to hold that sound out. Gra-. The ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’ vowel. To make this sound, you do need to drop your jaw, gra-, gra-. And you may lift your upper lip a little bit, exposing some of your front top teeth. Gra-, gra-. The next syllable, unstressed, has the JJ consonant sound and the oo vowel sound. Gradu-, gradu-, gradu-, du, du, unstressed, lower in volume—a little quieter. The last syllable is ‘ate’ as a verb. Graduate, -ate. So it has the ‘ay’ as in ‘say’ diphthong, you do need to drop your jaw a good bit for the first sound there, ay, ay, graduate. And finally, the T sound. This could be released very lightly, in most cases it will be a Stop T, graduate, graduate, where you bring your tongue up into position for the T, but don’t release.

And for the noun or adjective pronunciation, the last syllable has the ‘ih’ as in ‘sit’ vowel and the T. Graduate, -ate, -ate. There I’m making a Stop T, where my tongue goes up into position for the T, but I don’t release it. Graduate. You could also lightly release it to make a True T. Graduate.

I’m going to graduate school next fall.
I’ll graduate in May.

That’s it, your Word of the Week. Try it out yourself. Make up a sentence with the word, record it, and post it as a video response to this video on YouTube. I can’t wait to watch it!

That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.

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