Come for a visit to New York’s Coney Island! You’ll study real English conversation and see reductions in action. Plus, you get to see Rachel get scared on a ride!
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>> Sara, where are we going?
>> We’re going to Coney Island!
In this American English pronunciation video, you’ll come with me and some friends to Coney Island, and study some American English pronunciation in real life.
>> There’s a special trick about the word ‘island’, pronunciation-wise. Can you tell me what it is?
>> Well, there’s an S in it, but you don’t really pronounce it in the word ‘island’.
>> It’s silent.
>> That’s right. It is silent.
Other examples of words with a silent S: aisle, debris, and two state names: Arkansas, and Illinois.
In this video you’ll hear English conversation. A few specific topics that I’ll point out for study: first, the ending, unaccented EE sound. My students whose native languages are Russian and Polish often have difficulty with the ending, unaccented EE sound. It tends to be too relaxed, and turns into a sound like ‘ih’. For example, the word ‘many’ will be pronounced men-ih, men-ih: too relaxed and spread. Many, ee, ee, ee. So, the trick is to keep the tongue position very high. Many, many. Words with the ending unaccented EE sound in this video: many, Coney, fatty, scary, city. Notice that two of those words, ‘fatty’ and ‘city’, have a flap T. That is, a T coming between two vowel sounds, so it’s pronounced like a D sound. Fatty, city. We’ll also study some reduction: ’em for the word ‘them’, ‘er for the word ‘her’, ts for the word ‘it’s’, and ‘cuz’ for the word ‘because’.
>> There are many, many stops before Coney Island. Sara, how long do we have yet?
>> At least 45 minutes.
>> Oh, I love New York City. Don’t you?
>> You can see here, Coney Island is in south Brooklyn. It’s on the Atlantic and has a wide, sandy beach, and also a boardwalk. From my home in Manhattan, it’s about an hour’s ride on the subway. There’s also a park with roller coasters.
>> Say something to the Rachel’s English audience!
>> AHH! This is crazy!
>> How was it?
>> Which one did you like best?
>> Uh, I liked that one better.
>> Uh, this was too fast for me. And I felt, it was just kind of weird. That was like I was flying. It was fun.
>> You were flying.
>> Yeah, that one was better, because it was longer and you felt like you were flying.
Because it was longer. Here Megan has reduced the word ‘because’ to simply ‘cuz’, ‘cuz’. Of course, when we reduce, we always want to link. Cuz it, cuz it, cuz it was longer. Cuz it was, cuz it was. Notice how those three words, unstressed, less important, are low in pitch and flatter compared to the adjective, the content word, the stressed word, ‘longer’, which is longer in length, a little louder, and had more shape. Cuz it was longer, cuz it was longer.
>> Cuz it was longer [3x] and you felt like you were flying.
>> No! I don’t like it, I don’t like it, I don’t like it!
>> Never going to do it again.
>> She is a blast.
But not as scary as this. Don’t worry, I didn’t try this one.
>> We want funnel cake, but we don’t know if we can use our tickets!
>> Ah! The frustration! Why don’t you just ask her?
It’s common practice in English to drop the H in words like ‘her’, ‘his’, ‘him’. So, ‘her’ becomes ‘er’, ‘er’. Make sure that you link this to the word before: ask her, ask her, just ask her. This smoothes out the language and sounds more natural.
>> Why don’t you just ask her? [3x]
>> It’s okay, I can get it in that place.
>> You just said ‘tsokay’! I taught a lesson on that once, not too long ago.
>> Oh perfect!
Tsokay. Here, Janae reduced the word ‘it’s’ to simply ‘ts’, ‘ts’. As always, when you reduce, you have to link. Tsokay, tsokay.
>> It’s okay [3x], I can get it in that place.
>> The famous Coney Island boardwalk. With the Atlantic Ocean.
>> Tim, how are your Dippin’ Dots?
>> They’re great.
>> I’ve never had them.
>> Yeah, I’ve never had them either.
Did you notice how Tim and I both reduced the word ‘them’ to ’em, ’em. Of course, we also linked that word to the word before: had ’em, had ’em, had ’em.
>> I’ve never had them. [3x]
>> Yeah, I’ve never had them either. [3x]
>> They kind of melt together.
>> And then they just become this gelatinous mass.
>> Let me see?
>> Look at that.
>> I’m just kidding, I love it. Here’s the thing. I forgot that I’m sort of afraid of heights. And then I got on the Ferris Wheel, and my friends made me get on the car that swings back and forth, and you never know quite when it’s going to start swinging again. Um, I’m holding on to the side, just…
>> …just to prepare for the swing. I also get motion sickness, so. It’s a bit much. >> Oh wow!
Again, reducing the word ‘it’s’ to simply ‘ts’. Tsa bit much. Tsa bit much.
>> It’s a bit much. [3x]
After the Wonder Wheel, we still went on a few more rides and did bumper cars. Then we went to Nathan’s on the boardwalk and ate a bunch of hot dogs and fried food. We felt pretty gross, but we really still wanted to try funnel cakes.
>> What is a funnel cake, Kayon?
>> Well. Funnel, beginning with F … is a delicious treat eaten at the beach.
>> But what is it? Why is it called funnel cake?
>> Cuz of the way they make it.
Did you notice? Another ‘cuz’. Cuz of the way, cuz of the way they make it.
>> Cuz of the way they make it. They put the dough in a funnel
>> …and it’s runny…
>> And they go around like this.
>> All different ways.
>> They do that in what?
>> A fryer.
>> Some oil.
>> It’s a deep fryer.
>> How’s it taste?
>> Tastes like dough-nuts.
>> How’s this one taste, Linds? Pretty good?
>> It’s delicious.
>> I might need some.
>> Oh, that’s delicious.
Before we headed home, we were able to catch the fire works that they were setting off at the stadium next door because of the minor league baseball game. It was the perfect ending to a great night.
>> You guys tired?
>> I think we’re mostly tired because we ate fatty food.
>> We did eat fatty, fatty food.
That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.
Don’t stop there. Have fun with my real-life English videos. Or get more comfortable with the IPA in this play list. Learn about the online courses I offer, or check out my latest video.