Numbers are something you’ll use constantly in conversational English, from amounts to times of day. Get more comfortable with the pronunciation of numbers.
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Eleven. I pronounce it with a schwa in the first syllable, but some people do pronounce it with the ‘ee’ as in ‘she’ vowel sound [i]. So that would be either eleven or eleven. In any case, it’s the middle syllable that is stressed. Eleven. The middle syllable begins with the L sound, -le-, opens into the ‘eh’ as in ‘bed’ [e], -le-, elev-, it then has the V sound so the bottom lip comes up, vv, to touch the top teeth. Eleven. It then has the schwa and the N sound. Eleven, or, eleven.
Twelve. Twelve begins with the T sound, and then goes into the tight circle for the W. Tw, tw, twe-. It then opens wide into the ‘eh’ as in ‘bed’ vowel sound. Twe-. It then has the dark L, ul, where you make the ul sound before the tip of the tongue comes up. Twel-, twel-, vv. And finally, the V consonant sound at the end. Twelve, twelve. A note on the ‘teen’ words. If you were to hear someone counting: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, you would hear the stress on the – 13, 14 – on the first syllable. However, that is only when you are counting, to differentiate it from all the different ‘teens’. If you were going to say a sentence, like, ‘I’m 18’, then the stress comes on the word [part of the word] ‘teen’. And this is normally goes in conversation. If you wanted to stress the age, for example, ‘We all got cars when we were 17; she got one when she was 16′, then you would stress the first syllable. But in general, you will stress the ‘teen’ when you are saying one of the ‘teen’ numbers.
Thirteen. Thirteen beings with the unvoiced TH sound, so the tongue must come through the teeth, th, thir-. It then has the ‘ur’ as in ‘her’ vowel sound, thir-, so the tongue pulls back, fattens up, and raises some, thir-. TT. It then has the T sound. So the tip of the tongue comes back forward, to touch behind the closed teeth, and, tt, pulls away to release the air. Thirteen. It then has the ‘ee’ as in ‘she’ vowel sound, corners of the lips pulled wide, and then the N consonant sound. Thirteen.
Fourteen. Fourteen has the word ‘four’ in it, and just like the word ‘four’, it has the F consonant sound, ff, the ‘oh’ as in ‘no’ [o], rr, and the R consonant sound. Fourteen. However, here it is the unstressed syllable in the word 14, 14, so all of the sounds are there, and they’re all pronounced the same, but they might be a little lower in pitch to contrast with the word [part of the word] ‘teen’. Fourteen. Fifteen. Fifteen begins with the F consonant sound, ff. It then has the ‘ih’ as in ‘sit’, fi-, and then once again the F consonant sound. Fif-. So the bottom lip has to start, go down, and come back up into that position, fif-, followed by the syllable ‘teen’. Fifteen.
Sixteen. Sixteen has, again, six, just like four, followed by ‘teen’. And it is pronounced the same way: the ss, S consonant sound, the ‘ih’ as in ‘sit’, si-, the K consonant, sik-, the S consonant sound, sixteen, sixteen. Seventeen. Seventeen again, is the word seven by ‘teen’. Seventeen. So, you have the S consonant sound, into the ‘eh’ as in ‘bed’ vowel sound, se-. Vv, the V consonant sound, the schwa, and the N consonant sound. Seven-, seven-, seventeen.Eighteen. Again, it’s the word ‘eight’ followed by ‘teen’, although here there is only one T sound. It’s not eight-teen. It’s simply the ‘ay’ as in ‘say’ diphthong , eigh- teen. Into ‘teen’. Eighteen. Nineteen. Again, the word ‘nine’ followed by ‘teen’. Nine with the N consonant sound and the ‘ai’ as in ‘buy’ diphthong [a], ni-, ni-, nn, followed by the N consonant sound and ‘teen’. Nineteen, nineteen.