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GET FIT AND IMPROVE YOUR VOCAB!
Well, it’s January. And many of us make goals in January to be more fit and to eat more healthy. So today we’re going to go over vocabulary relating to eating healthy and dieting. Paleo, gluten-free, calorie, and so on.
Yes we’ll focus on pronunciation so that you’re comfortable not just knowing this words, but using them in conversation. Hmm. I’ve been walking for three minutes. I think that’s enough exercise for today.
To begin, we’ll focus on the word ‘diet’. This word actually has a couple of different meanings. First, as a noun, it can be used to describe the kind of food a person, community, culture, or even animal usually eats. For example, koalas eat a diet of leaves. So that just describes what someone eats.
But we also have a second meaning. And this is not just a general way to describe what someone eats, but a restriction, usually to lose weight or be more healthy in some way. For this, we use the preposition ‘on’. I’m going on a diet to lose weight. I’m not going to have dessert because I’m on a diet. Diet. It’s a two-syllable word with first syllable stress. Di– the AI as in Buy diphthong. Di– Di-et. Then smoothly into the second syllable. It’s an IH as in Sit vowel and the T consonant. Diet. Between the AI diphthong and the IH vowel, it can feel like you go thru the glide consonant Y. Diyyyyet. Diet. The ending T is a Stop T unless it links into a word that begins with a vowel or diphthong, like in the phrase, I’m going to diet all month. Diet all, diet all. Die—rararara– There, it’s a Flap T.
It’s also a Flap T in the word ‘dieting’. Dieting or dieted. Dieted. There, also a Flap T. I dieted last month. He’s was dieting before the wedding. Say these three words out loud with me. Diet. Dieting. Dieted. Diet. Dieting. Dieted. Now let’s talk about some of those diets out there where you restrict what you eat. We have a vegetarian diet and a vegan diet. Vegetarian is a -syllable word with
middle syllable stress. Vegetarian. Vegetarian. Vegetarian
There is secondary stress on the first syllable. Vegetarian. Vegetarian. Now, notice the word ‘vegetable’, which is related, is different. It has first syllable stress. Vegetable. Vegetarian. This is an adjective that can describe a person or a diet. She’s vegetarian; she eats a vegetarian diet. That restaurant doesn’t have many vegetarian options.
Vegetarian means no meat. Vegan takes it one step further and is no meat or animal biproducts like things made with eggs, dairy, or gelatin. Vegan with the EE vowel is the much more common pronunciation, though I have also heard ‘vegan’. Philly restaurants have a lot of good vegan options. Vegan. Vegetarian. Say these words with me. Vegetarian. Vegan. Vegetarian. Vegan. You might also hear the term plant-based. This isn’t totally vegetarian, but the majority of what you eat comes from plants rather than animals.
Plant-based. You’ll hear that with at Stop T. Plant-based. That’s because the next word begins with a consonant. Plant-based. Plant-based. There’s no Ttt– Plant-based. Notice the AH vowel in ‘plant’ is not pure. That would be: pla– plant, plant. That’s not how we say it. When AH is followed by N, then we relax the back of the tongue a little bit, we get an UH vowel, plauh– plant. Plant. Plant-based. That makes it sound much more natural, much more American. Plant-based. Say that with me. Plant-based. Plant-based.
Another diet one might follow is gluten-free or dairy-free. Gluten free. This means free of that ingredient. No gluten in it, no dairy in it. You might also see the phrase ‘fat free’ or ‘sugar free’ as well. No fat, no sugar in that product. The word ‘gluten’ is a little tricky, because what’s happening to that T? Again, it’s not ttt– glutten. It’s a stop T. Glu-en Put your tongue up into position, glu– stop the air, glu– nnn– Then simply make the N sound. Your tongue is already in position. Glut-en, gluten. You don’t need to move your tongue for that. Glu– nn. Gluten. Don’t try to put a vowel in the second syllable. IT’s just an N. N is a syllabic consonant, it takes over the schwa. Gluten. Gluten. Say that with me. Gluten. Gluten free. Gluten. Gluten free. Then we have more specific diets like paleo. This is short for the
Paleolithic diet, also called the caveman diet. This is a diet that mimics the way humans ate in the Paleolithic period as hunter-gatherers and it has been popular in the United States. Paleo. Three syllables. First syllable stress. Pa-leo. Paleo. The L here is a light L. Pa-le-o. Paleo. Say that with me. Paleo. Paleo. Also rising in popularity in the US is something called the Keto diet. This is short for ketogenic. It’s very low carb, moderate in protein, and high in fat from what I understand. I’ve never done it. I’ve never done any of these diets for the record, but I have used calorie counting to lose weight after having children, and I’ll get to that in minute.
I went to Youglish to see how people are pronouncing this. And when they’re talking about the diet, they’re using the Flap T, keto. When it’s a scientist talking about chemistry, usually in that case it’s a True T, Keto. Keto. Keto. Keto. Since we’re talking about diets here, we’ll use the Flap T pronunciation. Keto. Keto. Say that with me. Keto. Keto. Whole. This is an elimination diet. You take out soy, diary, sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes that would be a broad term that includes beans for days. Then you slowly reintroduce foods to see how your body reacts to them.
For example, do you get more stomach aches, do you feel more tired. Whole . The W in ‘whole’ is silent. It’s a homophone with this word hole, as in, a hole in the ground. Whole . Whole. That’s kind of a weird word, right? The L is a Dark L. Whole, ll, ll. We don’t lift the tongue tip for that. It’s made with the back part of the tongue, whole. It presses down the back just a little bit. Whole. It affects the OH diphthong too, doesn’t it? Whole. It’s not who– whole. But it’s who– ohl– Whole . Whole Thirty. So the lips round more and the tongue is already pulling back a little bit for the dark sound, it affects the diphthong. Whole. Whole thirty. Thirty is also a tricky word. First an unvoiced TH, th, thirty. The tongue tip has to come thru for that sound. Then the R vowel-consonant combination, th-r, th-r. Then a Flap T Thirty. Thirty. right in to the unstressed EE vowel. Thirty. Whole thrity. Say that with me. Whole thirty. Whole thirty.
The Mediterranean diet has also gotten quite a bit of attention in the US, and there are quite a few medical studies that back that this really will improve your health long-term. This diet is based on the traditional cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean and includes lots of vegetables, fish, and whole grains. Mediterranean. That is a long word. Six syllables. With long words like this it does help to focus on stress. There’s secondary stress on the first syllable, me-. Mediterra-. Then we have primary stress on the fourth syllable. Mediterranean. Mediterranean. Mediterranean. Notice the T in this word is a True T, this is an exception. It comes between vowels but it does not start a stressed syllable.
Normally, that would be a Flap T but we do pronounce this word with a True T. Mediterranean. Mediterranean. Say that with me. Mediterranean. Mediterranean. The next two are probably a little bit less popular than it were at one point, but they’re still very big in the US, the Atkins diet and the South Beach diet. The word ‘atkins’ is actually trademarked, it’s named after the man who came up with this specific diet. It calls itself “the more flexible keto” and is a low-carb diet. Atkins.
Notice we have a Stop T in there just like in ‘gluten’. At-kins. This is because the T is followed by another consonant. Atkins. First syllable stress, begins with the AA as in BAT vowel. AT-kins. Say that with me. Atkins. Atkins. South Beach. This is another low-carb diet that focuses on something called the glycemic index. This is a way to measure how quickly a food makes your blood sugar levels rise. This one has that tricky sound, the unvoiced TH. South. You may find that you want to substitute an S. I hear a lot of my students say: sous, sous. Try to make a TH sound with your tongue tip coming through: south. South. South Beach. Slow it down if you have to. S consonant, OW diphthong, TH. South. South. South Beach. Beach with the EE as in SHE vowel. South beach. Say that with me. South beach. South beach.
Have you every tried fasting? This is one where you don’t eat. Skipping meals or entire days of eating has become a health trend lately. Fasting. Fasting. We do say the True T as part of an ST cluster. Fasting. Fasting. Say that with me. Fasting. Fasting. I want to go over two more terms for diets, calorie counting and yo-yo dieting.
Calorie counting is when you don’t care so much about what you eat as long as you stay under a certain number of calories a day. This is actually what I did to lose weight after having my two kids. The word ‘counting’ can be pronounced with or without the T. Counting, counting. I’m counting calories. Calorie a three-syllable word, with first syllable stress. There’s a Dark L in that first syllable. Cal– calorie. The unstressed syllables, -orie, -orie, said quickly. Simply. Calorie. Calorie counting. Or calorie counting. Say those with me. Calorie counting. Calorie counting. Calorie counting. Calorie counting.
Now you may hear or see the term yo-yo dieting. A yoyo is a toy, a thing on a string, you throw it down, it comes back up. Yoyo dieting refers to people who go on a diet, lose a bunch of weight, go off the diet, gain it back, and go on a diet again, lose weight, and so on. Yoyo, the same syllable twice, first stressed then unstressed. Yoyo. Say that with me. Yoyo. Yoyo. What do you think, are you going on any diets this year? I’m intrigued by the Mediterranean diet and kind of want to try it.
My family really needs to be eating more vegetables and less processed foods, there’s no question about that. Learn more vocabulary, check out my vocabulary playlist. And don’t forget to subscribe with notifications, I make new videos on the English
language every Tuesday and I’d love to see you back here.