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Want to improve your spoken English by watching the news? Curious what makes native English speakers sound smooth and natural? Let’s get to work!
Today we’re studying English with news. We’re looking at how people speak so quickly and so smoothly while still being clear. Two news hosts. One doctor, whose being interviewed and we are going to study their beautiful voices to find tips that can help you with English fluency.
Let’s start right off with Gayle King’s first sentence.
This morning we’re looking at increased screen time during the pandemic is affecting our vision.
Increased screen time. So, right away she’s giving us an example of one of the main points that Americans do for smoothness changing T pronunciations. In this case, the ED ending of increased is a T sound. Increased. Increased, tt. But she said increased screen time with no T. Listen. I’ll slow that down for you.
No T, no ED ending. One of the rules of pronunciation of T is that we often drop the sound between two other consonants. In this case, S and S. So the past tense, increased sounds just like the present tense increase because we dropped the T. And we’ll hear T pronunciations dropped or changed all the time. Why? Let’s look at the pronunciation of T. T, a stop of air, a release, it’s a sharp sound. But the character of American English has a lot of smoothness. No sharp points. We value linking and smoothness from word to word. So by dropping the T here, it’s a smoother link. With the T, increased screen time. Increased screen time. Not that smooth. Let’s drop the T. Increase screen time. More smooth. More sloppy, more lazy, more drunk sounding. Maybe that’s what it feels like to you if your native language is very sharp and clear. Embracing this sloppiness can help you find your American voice as you speak English. You know, the rules for how Americans pronounce ED endings are actually pretty complicated. I’ll put a link to the playlist that covers that topic in the video description. Let’s listen to Gayle again. But first, if you like this video or you’re learning something new, please like and subscribe with notifications, continue your studies with me every Tuesday.
No T in increased. Just in time. It’s important that as you study a tip like this, you also practice it. We’re going to play it again. Twice in slow motion, say it with her the second time. Then twice at regular pace, say it her out loud the second time.
This morning we’re looking at how increased screen time during the pandemic is affecting our vision–
Let’s keep going.
Since this pandemic first hit the average screen time per person has spiked more than thirteen hours a day that’s a lot.
One of the ways thirteen is different from thirty is the T. Thirteen. That’s a true like what Gayle did.
Thirteen. She did first syllable stress, thirteen. You’ll hear it both ways. Thirteen and thirteen. Thirty always has first syllable stress and always has a flap T.
Let’s keep going.
According to Eyesafe Nielsen estimates of 60 percent of people in one recent survey say they were worried about how this will affect their eyes.
Affect their eyes. Looking at the text, what do you notice about the T in affect? It comes between two other consonant sounds. The K sound before it and the TH sound after it. The T may have been dropped, was it? Let’s listen.
Affect their. No T. Affect their eyes. Try that with me. Affect their eyes. Affect their eyes. Let’s keep going.
Doctors also say they’re seeing uptick in vision issues like dry eye yup, I got that. Doctor Christopher Starr, he was an ophthalmologist said, while Cornell medical in, medicine rather in New York.
Did you hear how she corrected herself? She misspoke, she corrected it and then she said rather. So the word she meant wasn’t medical rather it was medicine.
While Cornell medical in, medicine rather in New York.
Let’s keep going.
Joins us with some solutions and whether he thinks products like blue-like glasses can help. Good morning to you doctor, good to see you.
What a nice greeting she gave him.
Good morning to you doctor, good to see you.
Let’s talk about that phrase “Good to see you”. This is a phrase I use quite a lot when I spend times with friends or family. It’s so good to see you. Do you see we have one letter T here in the word “to”? To is a word that reduces and that means we change a sound. We almost always change the vowel to the schwa and sometimes, we change the true T to a flap T. The flap T sounds like the D in American English. The D between vowels. So here it comes after a D and guess what? She just attaches the schwa to good. Goodto, goodto, good to see you. Take a listen.
good to see you.
Now since this is a common phrase, let’s practice it. You’ll hear it in slow motion twice, say it out loud the second time. Sing that song. Good to see you. Then you’ll hear it at regular pace twice, say it with her the second time.
Let’s keep going.
Hi Gayle, how are you?
I’m alright with my dry eyes sitting up here but a lot of people are looking at their screens more than ever.
A lot of. This three-word phrase is very common. The T comes between two vowels and pretty much all the time, a native speaker will make this a flap T. You won’t hear a true T. A lot of, a lot of. It’s a flap T linking, smoothing things out. A lot of. A lot of. You can say that V sound or not. A lot of or a lot of. She drops the V, that’s a reduction and of is a word that we usually reduce. A lot of. A lot of. That phrase begins and ends with a schwa. You want it to be as fast and simple as possible. A, a. A lot of. A lot of. Let’s listen to just that in slow motion a few times.
And now let’s hear it at regular pace.
Changing that T, smoothing out English. Let’s keep going.
Can you explain why it’s such a bad, why it’s bad for your eyesight to begin with?
Yeah, it’s multifactorial. We call it the “Computer Vision Syndrome”. And it uh, it combines–
It combines. We’ve studied a drop T, a flap T and now Dr. Starr is giving us an example of another way we change the T, the true T sound. It’s a stop T. For this we stop the air. It. But we skipped that T release. Instead, we’re going to the next word. So there’s really a quick stop of air and that’s the stop T. That’s not actually a sound rather it’s an abrupt stop of sound. It combines. It combines. Let’s look back at that stop. Here, I slowed down the clip to just twenty five percent and you can see the volume of the voice below. Let’s just listen to this clip once.
This gap here is the stop T. Let’s take just this part here and listen to it by itself so we can see is it really silent, is there really a stop of air of sound. So I’ve isolated just that spot let’s listen to it. Sort of strange isn’t it? It’s just the room noise really. He hasn’t really engaged his voice here. Let’s go back to the original clip. There’s another spot over here where we see something similar and guess what that is. It’s the B on combines, combines, bb, B is also a stop consonant. Let’s listen to this phrase again.
So it becomes ihh, ihh. And then a little stop of air, and then the next word. So, true True T, tt, Flap T, [flap] drop T and now stop T. These are our four T sounds. Let’s listen again to this stop.
Actually there’s one more kind of T. Let’s see if we can find it.
Both eyes strain from just staring at the computers which are right in front of you.
Okay there we had it. Eye strain. When we have a T followed by R like in train, try or in this case, strain. It’s pretty common for that T to become a CH. S-CH-rain. Strain. It’s not very strong but it’s not a T, a T either. T,t, train. It’s more common to hear ch, ch train.. It’s light. C h,ch, strain. We’re going to listen to just strain in slow motion. You won’t hear T but you will hear CH.
So when do you do a true T? T. Let’s keep listening and I’ll tell you.
For all those hours as you said thirteen hours of more, but it also when we’re on the computers, when we’re staring and fatiguing our eyes–
There were several true Ts there. Thirteen hours with a true, ttt teen. Thirteen. Also fatiguing, tt, fatiguing. In these cases, the T sound begins a stressed syllable. Thirteen, fatigue. So a T that starts a stressed syllable is a true T. Unless it’s part of the TR cluster then it’s probably a CH. Fatigue. Fatiguing. A T is usually a stop T when it’s at the end of a thought group or followed by another consonant. For example “It combines “or “what”? End of the thought group stop T. A T is usually a flap T between vowels like ‘a lot of’ [flap]
a lot of. But not if that starts a stressed syllable. Look a t fatiguing. The T sound there is between two vowels but it starts a stressed syllable so it’s a true T. A T is also a flap T after an R before a vowel like in party. Rarara, party. A T is often dropped between two other consonants like “Affect their”, affect their eyes and there’s also one other time where we often drop the T. We’re going to skip ahead to find an example.
Uh taking breaks we recommend every twenty minutes or so.
Twenty. Dropping the T after N, that’s a common pronunciation. Internet, twenty, I want another. Internet. Drop T. Twenty. Drop T. I want another. Drop T. The doctor said twenty several times. Sometimes a true T but most of the time it’s dropped. Let’s listen.
Uh taking breaks we recommend every twenty minutes or so. Take a break, look away, look into the distance at an object that’s twenty feet away of further. Looking out the window is actually perfect for twenty seconds or more. That’s what we used to call the 20-20-20 Rule–
There’s another broadcaster in on this interview. Let’s hear what he’s doing with his Ts.
It can be a really hard to take a break from this.
Hard to take a break. Hard to. This is just like when Gayle said good to, good to see you. Hard to, hard to take a break. Taking the word to, making it just the schwa, attaching it to a word that ends with a D. Hard to. Hard to. Say that with me. Hard to, hard to. Hard to take a break.
It can be a really hard to take a break from this.
Oh you know, I thought of one other time we usually have a true T. When it’s part of a cluster.
Looking at a window is actually perfect.
Perfect. Perfect, ttt. True T release. But you know what? If that links in to another word that starts with a consonant like ‘It’s the perfect place’. then we’ll usually drop the T because it comes between two consonants. Perfect place, no T. Or at the end of a thought group “It’s perfect!”. A true T release. Are you feeling confused? The more you study spoken English, now that you know the rules, the more you’ll notice this and the more natural it become for you to do this. Now where going to skip around in the interview. If you want to watch the full interview, I’ll put a link to that in the video description. But we’ll skip around here for a short quiz. I’ll play a snippet and I’ll highlight in red the T to listen for. You tell me if it’s a true T, flap T, stop T or if it’s dropped. You’ll hear each example three times.
Eight blinks. Eight blinks. That’s a stop T. Listen again.
Try this one:
Did you hear T? I did. That’s a true T. A T at the end of the word at the end of a thought group, that could also been a stop T. But he did a true T.
What about this one?
Computer [flap]. Computer, flap T. T between vowel sounds, doesn’t starts a stressed syllable, that’s a flap.
This next one is tricky. You’ll be listening for three Ts.
Irritated. Irritated. The first T is a true T because of this mark. This is the mark of secondary stress. Stressed syllable even if it’s secondary stress that will be a true T. But the second sound there, T between vowels, not starting a stressed syllable, that’s a flap T. Same with gritty. Irritated and gritty.
By changing so many ttt, sharp true Ts were able to smooth out the sound of English. In coming weeks and months, we’re going to study more ways to smooth out your speech to sound more natural and fluent when speaking English. Keep your learning going now with this video and be sure you subscribe and have notifications turned on for the channel so you’ll know when something new is coming your way. Also, be sure to check out my online school at rachelsenglishacademy.com to train your body and your voice for more comfortable English speaking. That’s it and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.