In this week's podcast, we're going to learn some important words which contain a silent 'l'. Just looking at them, we could easily get the wrong idea of how thay are pronounced, so it's important to
become aware of them and learn how to pronounce them correctly.
The focus of this week's podcast is:
To learn how to recognize and pronounce words with silent 'l's
Practice using these words in some key American expressions.
In your native language, the way a word is spelled is usually the way it is pronounced.
There is a direct relationship between spelling and pronunciation. As you probably know, this is not always the case in English. This is partially due to the fact that English is a hybrid language,
a mixture of different languages. Another tricky aspect of Engish pronunciation is silent letters;
this includes silent consonants. The most common silent letters are l, t and b and h. Today we will be focussing solely on 'l"
For example, in the word "salt" we pronounce the<l>. However, in the word "talk", the <l> is silent.
When is <l> silent ?
So how do we know when the <l> is pronounced and when the <l>is silent?
First we must remeber that <l> is usually not silent-
it is usually pronounced. Silent <l>
is the exception.
Unfortunately, there are no consistent rules for determining when <l> is silent.
In general, you have to memorize the pronunciation, word by word, case by case.
*But there are spelling patterns which usually indicate that the < l> is silent.
For example, the spelling pattern is <alk> as in the words talk, walk, and chalk. In this spelling pattern, the<l> is usually silent.
Notice that I did not say /wɔlk/. I said /wɔk/. My tongue tip remains flat and does not extend forward into the /l/ position.
Also notice that these words all contain the same vowel sound /ɔ/ which we learned in previous podcasts.
The <alk> pattern with a silent <l>
Exercise: Please listen and repeat the following words with silent <l> -
talk... walk... stalk
The <ould > pattern
Another important spelling pattern which often contains silent < l >is <ould>
We find <ould> in the modal verbs "could", "should" and "would."
Exercise: Please listen and repeat the following modal verbswith silent <l>:
could... should... would ...
Notice how the <l> is silent and also notice how they all contain the same vowel sound /ʋ/.
If you want to learn how to pronounce this challenging vowel sound /ʋ/, you can find a full lesson in my full English pronunciation course in mp3-Best Accent Training.
Other important words which contain silent <l>, but don't necessarily follow a spelling pattern.
Exercise: Please listen and repeat: half... salmon ... Lincoln
One of the best ways to memorize these words with strange pronunciations is to use them in sentences.
Exercise: Please listen and repeat the following sentences containing silent <l>.
Their ideas werehalf baked. (not fully developed)
I would like the salmon please.
He can talk the talk but can he walk the walk? (actually do what he says he's going to do)
Practice is Key!
Today's lesson focussed a specific but important aspect of English pronunciation. There are many other sounds and aspects of pronunciation which need to be mastered in order to speak clearly and correctly.
Speaking English with an American accent is a gradual process but with the right amount of training and practice you can do it!
The Right Training Tools for Better Pronunciation:
It's important to have right training tools in order to improve your accent.
No matter what your first language is, Best Accent Training has the lessons you need for speaking English clearly and correctly.
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Best Accent Training mp3s contains all the sounds of English with step by step instructions and practice exercises.
You'll get all the vowels of English, all the consonants, syllable stress lessons, intonation and rhythm lessons and connected speech!
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