English is full of idioms. Learn how to use and pronounce ‘Rule of Thumb’ comfortably in conversational English: what words or syllables to reduce, how to link everything together, and the melodic shape of the phrase.
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Today I am going to go over the idiom ‘Rule of Thumb’. A rule of thumb is more a practical rule than one based on exact measurement or scientific fact. For example, as a rule of thumb, I don’t eat past 10 because it makes my stomach upset. This is a general, practical rule.
The word ‘rule’ begins with the R consonant sound [?]. When words begin with this sound, the lips tend to take a pretty tight position, rr, rr, rule. Of course, in the ‘oo’ as in ‘boo’ sound [u], the lips also take a tight position, ru-, ru-, so they remain in that circle for both of those sounds. Rule, rule. The tongue is up and pressed in the middle against the insides of the teeth for the R sound, rr, ru-, it then pulls back for the ‘oo’ as in ‘boo’ vowel sound, as it is the further back part of the tongue that is raised. Rule.
Then, to make the L sound. Which here is the dark L because it’s at the end of the syllable. The tongue tip moves into position, uh-ll, and ends with the tip pressing against the roof of the mouth just behind the top teeth. Rule rule. Of. Here, it is the schwa sound [?]. Rule of thumb, uh, uh, that sound happens very quickly, rule of thumb, as the word ‘of’ is not an important word in this phrase. Rule of thumb. Of, of, of. The bottom lip moves up to the teeth to make that V sound. Rule of thumb, rule of thumb. You might find that you hear, in practice, people pronouncing it almost more as an F. That’s because the next sound, the TH sound, is unvoiced [?]. And because that sound is unvoiced, it sometimes makes the sound before also unvoiced. So you will not hear a strong vv V sound, but more of a quick f/v mix.
Rule of – tongue comes through the teeth for the th. Thu-, the ‘uh’ as in ‘butter’ sound [?], so the jaw drops to make that. Rule of thu-uh-m. And finally, the M consonant sound, where the lips come together. Mm, mm. Thumb. And the B here is silent. Rule of thumb.