Does someone seem ill or upset, or did something bad just happen to him or her? Learn how to say this phrase comfortably in conversational English: what words or syllables to reduce, how to link everything together, and the melodic shape of the phrase.
YouTube blocked? Click here to see the video.
In this American English pronunciation video, we’re going to study the pronunciation of the phrase: Are you ok?
This is part of a sentence study series, where we look at a short, common phrase, and discuss its pronunciation. First let’s look at the phrase up close and in slow motion.
You might hear two different stress patterns for this phrase: Are you ok? da-Da-da-DA? That has a primary stress on the second syllable of ‘okay’, and a secondary stress on the syllable ‘you’. Or, you might hear: are you ok? Without the stress on ‘you’. Both are fine. What’s more important is that your short syllables are short, and your words link together.
The word ‘are’ can reduce to just the R sound. rr, rr, rr-you ok? The lips will probably flare out a little, but not too much because we’re not starting a stressed syllable. And it will be really quick. The tongue is pulled back and up, and the middle part might be touching the roof of your mouth or the inside of your teeth here, but the tip isn’t touching anything. To transition into the Y sound, my tongue comes back forward. The tip will touch behind my bottom front teeth, and the front/middle part of the tongue will touch the roof of the mouth, a little further forward than it was for the R. Rr-yy, rr-yy. While the tongue is at the roof of my mouth, the throat is making this sound. Yy, yy. My jaw really doesn’t need to move much between these two sounds, rryy, rryy. Now we have the OO as in BOO vowel, are you. The lips will round some for this sound, though not as much as they would round if they were in a syllable with primary stress. Are you, are you. So, I’m stressing this word a little bit. My voice has a little curve up and down, the shape of a stressed syllable. Are you, are you, are you.
Are you, are you. Next is the OH diphthong. So it might feel like you’re going through the glide consonant W: are you–wo, you-o. Make sure you connect, no break. This is an unstressed syllable, so the jaw won’t drop as much and the lips won’t round as much for the OH diphthong as they would in a stressed syllable, are you o-, are you o-. But there’s still a little of both. Oh, oh.
And finally the stressed syllable. The tongue tip will stay forward while the back part of the tongue reaches up to touch the soft palate, and release into the AY as in SAY diphthong, kk, -kay. The jaw has to drop a good bit for the first sound there, the tongue tip will be here, and for the second half the jaw will close some as the front part of the tongue reaches towards the roof of the mouth. The tip will stay here. Are you ok? Are you ok? Notice that the pitch of the voice goes up. -Kay, -kay. That’s because it’s a yes/no question, and those usually go up in pitch at the end. Are you ok? Are you ok? Are you ok?
Let’s watch one more time in slow motion.
This video is part of a series. Click here to see other videos just like it. If you have a phrase you’d like to suggest for this series, please put it in the comments.
That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.