‘Should’, ‘would’, and ‘could’ can all be simplified and reduced in a sentence. This is good news! You’ll feel more comfortable pronouncing these words quickly after watching this video. And don’t forget, the L in all of these words is silent!
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In this American English pronunciation video, we’re going to talk about the pronunciation of should, would, and could.
These words all rhyme. The pronunciation is simpler than it looks; the L is silent. So they all have their beginning consonant, the UH as in BOOK vowel, and the D sound. Should, would, could. They rhyme with ‘good’, ‘hood’, and ‘wood’. Yes, ‘would’ and ‘wood’ are pronounced the same. They are homophones. So this is the pronunciation of these words in full.
But, as you know, Americans like to reduce less important words in a sentence to make the important words stand out more. And these are three words that can be reduced.
As with many reductions, we change the vowel to the schwa and speed up the word: should, should, would, would, could, could. You’ll hear Americans go even further though, and drop the D. I noticed I did this when I was doing a Ben Franklin exercise on some of my speech.
>> Should we get dinner?
Should we get dinner? One of the things I notice is that I’m dropping the D sound, should we, should we.
Shu, shu. Just the SH sound and the schwa. The lips are flared and the teeth are together, sh. The tongue tip is pointing up to the roof of the mouth, but it’s not touching it. Shu-, shu-. Then for the schwa, everything relaxes and you go into the next sound, shu-, shu-, shu-we, should we call her? Shu-we, shu-we. I should go. Shu-go, shu-go. I should go.
Now, if the next sound is a vowel or a diphthong, I wouldn’t drop the D. It would be too unclear to go from the schwa into another vowel. So for ‘should I’, ‘should I’, for example, I make a really quick flap of the tongue for the D. Should I, should I, should I say that? Should I try it? Should I call him?
If dropping the D feels like too extreme of a reduction for you, you certainly don’t have to do it. Just keep ‘should’ unstressed, really quick, should, should, should.
Now let’s look at ‘could’. The K sound is made when the back part of the tongue comes up and touches the soft palate in the back, kk, kk, ku-. Could we try later? Could we, could we? Again, just dropping the D: k sound, schwa, next word. Could we, could we? Saying it with a D when the next word begins with a vowel or diphthong: Could I come back later? Could I, could I. So just a nice short ‘could’.
Finally, ‘would’. For the W sound, the lips are in a tight circle, and the back part of the tongue lifts, ww, ww. Wuh. Would we want to do that? Would we? Would we? Would we want to do that? Or, with a really quick D sound: Where would I go? would I, would I, would I.
So you can reduce these words by changing the vowel to the schwa. You can reduce them further by dropping the D, unless the next sound is a vowel or a diphthong.
So make these words as fast as you can, they’re not the most important words in the sentence. Link them into the sentence. You want to say: where would I go? Instead of where WOULD I go, in order to have that give and take, long and short of American English.
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That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.