Free English Pronunciation and Accent Reduction Lessons
|Home||English Pronunciation Pod 30|
Saturday April 4th, 2009
In this week's podcast, we're going to learn an interesting rule of English pronunciation which can greatly improve your ability to be understood by native speakers.
Last week, we learned the difference between voiced and voiceless consosnants.
The focus of this weeks podcast is:
As we discussed in last weeks podcast, some consonants are voiced. They involve our vocal chords. We can feel our vocal chords vibrating when we pronounce them.
For example: /z/ or /v/.
Other consonants are voiceless. They do not involve the vibration of our vocal chords.
For example: /s/ or / f/
Exercise: Hearing the Difference-
Let's Listen to the difference between "safe and "save".
There's a More Subtle Difference:
One of the main differences between the words "safe" and "save" is the difference in voicing.
Exercise : Listen while paying attention to the length of the vowel in each word.
safe ... save
Which word had the longer vowel? Both words contain the same vowel /eI/ but perhaps you noticed that the vowel in the second word is longer.
Rule: When a stressed syllable ends in a voiced consonant, we make the vowel before it longer.
For example: back ... bag
Both of these words are identical except for the final consonant. Back ends in voiceless /k/. Bag ends in /g/, a voiced consonant.
As a result, acoording to our rule, the vowel in "bag" will be longer.
The longer vowel acts as a signal to our listener as to which word we are saying.
This rule can be very useful when you have a sentence such as "I want that back."
If you're trying to say "back", you want to make the vowel short. If you're trying to say "bag" you want to make the vowel longer.
How this Improves your Pronunciation
Speaking this way, will greatly improve your ability to be understood by native speakers because a native speaker is not really listening to the final sound.
In fact, Americans often have problems pronouncing final voiced consonants.
It's interesting to note that even Americans, native speakers,
can have problems pronouncing final voiced sounds properly.
Exercise : Hearing and Saying the Difference:
You will hear two sentences. The sentences are exactly the same except for one word.
Voiceless Final Consonant Voiced Final Consonant
Do want to make the bet? Do you want to make the bed?
I found twenty bucks on the street. I found twenty bugs on the street.
Looks into my ice when we toast. Look into my eyes when we toast.
Do you have any plants? Do you have any plans?
Oh no, she's going to sink! Oh no, she's going to sing!
Don't eat that crap! (junk food, sh*t,) Don't eat that crab!
Wow! Your teeth are so white! Wow, Your teeth are so wide!
Use the Same "Tricks" and Methods as Native Speakers
As you can hear, lengthening the vowel before a voiced consonant
can greatly improve the clarity of your speech.
Start Building a Foundation with the Right Tools
Today's lesson was a somewhat advanced lesson in English pronunciation.
If you feel that you need more work and practice just learning the fundamentals, the basic consonants of English, I recommend trying Best Accent Training mp3s- a complete English pronunciation course in mp3 format. ( * comes with pdf transcripts for all lessons )
Hundreds of practice exercises with all the consonants of English!
Learn how to distinguish between difficult consonants like /r/ vs. /l/, /v/ vs. /w/, /b/ vs. /v/, /p/ vs. /f/ and many more!
No matter what your first language is, Best Accent Training has exercises especially for you!
Best Accent Training gives you step by step instruction for pronouncing all the sounds of English clearly and correctly just like a native speaker!
You'll find all the vowels, all the consonants, syllable stress, intonation and connected speech. It's all there!
And best of all, it's in mp3 format.
Download Best Accent Training onto your mp3 player and take it with you wherever you go!
Any questions, comments or suggestions ? Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you and see you next time!Share
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