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You CAN speed up your ENGLISH! I’ve got the #1 secret you need for speaking FAST!
What is the trick of native speakers that helps them speak so fast but still be understood by other native speakers with no problem? As a non-native speaker, can you learn reductions and sound more natural speaking English? can you learn how to speak English fast while still being clear? You bet. That means, absolutely.
Today we’re going to study up-close shots of the mouth while we study the ‘for’ reduction. This video has over 500 sentences so you can study how native speakers use this reduction to speak fast English, while sounding natural and clear. And I guarantee you’re going to be able to do it yourself. We’re going to break it down, we’re going to make it clear for you. And even if this is a concept that you know already all about, being able to see it up close and in slow motion, in action, reveals so much. You’re going to get a lot better at it. And in working with these sentences, you’re really going to build towards that habit of being to do the reduction perfectly, without thinking about, in conversation.
Let’ start. A couple seconds on the basics. The words is F-O-R. Fully pronounced, written in IPA with the AW as in LAW vowel, but that R changes the vowel. It’s not a pure AW vowel. It’s fooooooor. But we’re not here to perfect the full pronunciation, because this word is rarely fully pronounced. It’s almost always reduced. In IPA that is written with the schwa. When schwa is followed by R, you don’t need to try to make a vowel at all. The R overpowers the schwa, so your word becomes fff-rrr. Frrr. Said as quickly as you can. frrr. That’s a reduction. A reduction means a sound changes or is dropped. It’s not FOR, it’s frr.
Let’s look at this up close and in slow motion. This is the phrase: It’s just for fun. Notice the T sound is dropped here because it comes between two consonants. It’s just for fun. It’s just for fun. This is something that you do not because you benefit from in time or money or convenience, but pleasure. It’s just for fun. Let’s say you’re driving somewhere and you decide to take a way that’s longer because it’s prettier. We call that the scenic route. You could say, let’s take the scenic route, just for fun.
First, we’ll just watch the whole sentence. Here it is:
Now we’ll see that again, and we’ll break down ‘for’
Here we are in the position for the F. The bottom lip is pulled up a little so the inside is touching the bottom of the top front teeth. The top lip is lifted a little so it’s not touching the bottom lip.
The correct position for the F is not this: ffff. Don’t curl your lip in. It’s the inside of the lip, here, that touches here. Ffff. Ffff.
See that? Very relaxed. Now let’s watch the whole word FOR, pronounced ‘fer’.
Wow. That was fast, and this is even slowed down. Ferr. Ferr. Now we’re back into position for the F for the next word, fun. Let’s watch just the word ‘fer’ a few times
Fer, fer, fer. Try that now. Fer. Okay. Let’s finish the phrase.
Fer fun. fer fun. fer fun. ‘fer’ is much shorter than the stressed word ‘fun’. Now, we don’t want to rush through our stressed words, that would be fast English but unclear English. So know your reductions, learn them, but don’t rush through everything.
Stressed syllables should still be long and have that up-down shape. For fun. For fun.
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Okay, now, do you have to use this ‘for’ reduction? If you want to sound natural, yes, you do. The alternative is this: Just FOR fun. Just FOR fun. A native speaker would never pronounce it that way, a fully pronounced ‘for’. Short and long, that contrast, is important in American English. So we need frr to have contrast. Just for fun. Just for fun.
Now let’s look at that up close again, but this time at regular pace.
Now we’re going to isolate just the word ‘for’.
Ok, my mouth is in position for the F of ‘fer’. Now, let’s play just that word.
Wow, that was fast. Let’s see it three times.
For. For. For.
Notice how we go right from F into R. There’s no jaw drop to make a vowel or anything like that. The mouth movement is minimal. Let’s watch just that word in slow motion three times right now. Notice how minimal the mouth movement is.
For. For. For.
Okay, let’s see ‘for fun’ at regular pace now.
Fer, fer. The ‘for’ reduction. I love it. Now we’ll look at the phrase: It’s for dinner. In slow motion.
Here is the F position. I’m starting the word ‘for’. Let’s hear it.
Wow, that was fast. I’m done with the R now, and my mouth is ready for the D in dinner. Let’s just hear that word FOR again.
Let’s see the whole sentence one more time.
Let’ listen now at regular pace. You’ll see the full sentence, then just the word ‘for’ isolated.
It’s so fast, isn’t it? fr, fr, fr. Try that with me now, try it a few times, fr. You do it. For. For dinner. For dinner. You do it. For dinner.
Okay, now you get it. It’s time to watch it, listen to it, practice it. We’re going to see over 500 sentences now. Knowing about it will not change the way you speak. Training and repetition is what will change the way you speak. If you’re ready to set aside time for this kind of work, if you’re ready to change your accent, that’s exactly what we do in Rachel’s English Academy. It is the training ground for accent transformation, for understanding Americans, for feeling confident speaking. Check it out at RachelsEnglishAcademy.com
Okay, now, here’s how the rest of the video will work. You’ll see the sentence in slow motion four times, try repeating out loud the fourth time. Then you’ll see the sentence at regular pace four times, again, the fourth time with the video, repeat out loud. You know what, work on this every day this week. Seven days in a row, then let me know in the comments what this kind of work has done for you.
Fantastic. I can tell you’re interested in reductions. I recommend this video, which has some examples of reductions where we drop the H. I love this set of words. Please like and share this video and don’t forget to subscribe with notifications if you haven’t already. I make new videos on the English language every Tuesday. That’s it and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.