Learning English is difficult—there’s no way around it! If you are truly committed to learning English you need to master the spoken English pronunciation of thousands of English words and the many unique spoken English reductions and colloquialisms of American English.
But I can help you! This video proves that learning English is possible. It looks at 10 of the most common English words and makes sure you fully understand their pronunciation—not just the exact pronunciation but, more importantly, the spoken English pronunciation. That’s the key! Spoken English fluency is what it’s all about.
I don’t want you to simply learn English. I want you to be learning English as a native American English speaker learns it! That is, with a laser-focus on spoken English pronunciation. That’s the key: learning English as spoken English.
Of course learning English grammar is important. So is building up your vocabulary—your repertoire of English words. And knowing the correct, full, pronunciation of every English word is a great goal as well.
But learning English should, in my opinion, always be directed toward you learning English as spoken English. Why? It’s actually simple: if you’re not learning English as spoken English you will always struggle to sound like a native speaker. And for most people trying to learn English that is the desired end result: having a pronunciation style that is fluent, smooth, natural and confident.
I want you to have the kinds of conversations and connections you desire. My guess is that this is your desire too. I’ve been teaching English online for 10 years, teaching millions of students along the way. And I’ve seen first hand how exhilarating in can be as someone is learning English and truly getting it!
And that’s what this video is all about: learning English as spoken English by diving deep into 10 of the most common English words.
You can use this video to learn the 11th through 20th most common words in American English. You will be taught how their pronunciation should sound in spoken English and get the opportunity to practice, train and integrate these words into your everyday vocabulary.
This video is part of a series. The series covers the 100 most common English words, using the same method I apply in this video.
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Today you’re studying the pronunciation of the 100 most common words in American English. This is video 2 in the series. If you didn’t see video one, click here to watch it now. It is important to understand what we’re doing here with studying reductions.
We’re starting today with number 11, the word ‘it’. This word doesn’t reduce in a sentence, we don’t drop or change a sound, but it said very quickly. And the pronunciation of the T depends on the next word. If it begins with a consonant, this T is a Stop T: it, it, it. It won’t be. It, it won’t. Very fast, it. If the next word begins with a vowel or diphthong, then this T is a Flap T, linking the two words together. It always, it always, it it it it, it always, it always. Said very quickly. It always. Nothing too crazy here, just say the word quickly. Not IT, but it.
Number 12, one of my all-time favorite reductions: For. We almost never say it this way. We say ‘fer’. Isn’t that funny? I had a student once who lived in America and was married to an American. She told her husband how she was learning about this reduction. And his response was, “that’s ridiculous”. We don’t do that, we don’t pronounce that fer. Then later, he did it, as he was speaking naturally, and she pointed it out. Most Americans aren’t even aware of these crazy reductions that we do. So, to make this reduction drop the vowel, ff-rr, fer fer. Say the word very quickly, low in pitch. Fer fer. This is for work. Fer. I made a longer video with more examples on the reduction of the word ‘for’, check it out if you want more detail here. I got it for my birthday. For for. What’s for dinner? For. In conversation, fer not ‘for’.
Number 13: Not. Now, this word, in conversation, will very often be contracted n’t. Didn’t, doesn’t, can’t, shouldn’t, won’t, and so on. Notice I’m not releasing the T there, didn’t, didn’t. It’s an abrupt stop of air in the N to signify the T: didn’t, didn’t, shouldn’t, nt nt, nt, shouldn’t couldn’t, couldn’t. If we don’t use a contraction, then we’re often stressing it: I do NOT want to see her right now. In these cases, we’ll probably do a Stop T. Not. I do NOT want to see her right now. Not, stop the air, and then keep going. I do Not wanna. Not
Number 14: on. This word doesn’t reduce. We don’t change any sounds like we did with ‘for’. But, it is unstressed. You don’t want to say ON in a sentence, but rather, ‘on’. On on. “Put it on the table.” On. When it’s unstressed, that gives good contrast to the longer, clearer stressed words ‘put’ and ‘table’, and this contrast is very important in American English. It’s better than each word being longer and clearer. What would it sound like if ‘it, on, the’, were also stressed? Put it on the table. Put it on the table. No, that’s not how we speak. Put it on the table. Put it on the table. That’s how we speak. Not ON, but on. Try that with me now. Low in volume, low in pitch, not very clear. On, on. Put it on the table.
Number 15, the fifteenth most common word in English: with. There are two ways you can pronounce this word: with a voiced TH, with, with, with or an unvoiced TH, with, with. I don’t use the voiced TH. I think it sounds a little old-fashioned. I would stick with the unvoiced TH, with, with. Just like ‘on’, this word doesn’t reduce. None of the sounds change. But, it is unstressed. It will usually be pronounced like this: with, rather than WITH. “It’s with the other one” with the, with the, with the, with the, with the. Notice I’m just making one TH to connect these two unstressed words, with the, with the, with the. It’s the unvoiced TH. With the, with the other one. It’s with the other one.
Number 16, he. Oh yes, this one reduces. Can I just say, we are already at 16, and we still haven’t seen one word that is stressed, that’s a content word. Wow. When are we going to see it, and what is it going to be? I can’t wait to find out. But, back to 16, he. Fully pronounced, ‘he’, it’s the H consonant and EE as in SHE vowel. But very often we drop the H, and have just the EE sound. What does he want? What does ee ee ee ee. We drop the H and we connect it to the word before: does he?, does he? What does he want? What would that sentence sound like if every word stressed? What does he want? What does he want? What does he want? No, that’s not natural English. What does he want? I have a video on dropping the H reductions. Click here or in the description below to see that video and to get more examples.
Seventeen. As. Yep, this word reduces. It’s not pronounced AS in a sentence. That’s stressed. This word is usually not stressed. The vowel changes to the schwa and it becomes ‘uhz’. AS, uhz. He’s as tall as me. Uhz—uhztalluhz. Uhztalluhz. Not AS, uhz, uhz. He’s as tall as me. I have a video that goes over this reduction too. Click here or in the description below to see that and more examples.
Eighteen. You. Another word that reduces. This word can be reduced to ‘yuh’. What are you doing? What are you. Yuh, yuh, yuh. You never have to do reductions, and you could definitely say “What are you doing?”, you, you, you. I’m not reducing that, I’m not changing the vowel, but I am still making it unstressed. ‘you’ instead of YOU. This word will usually be unstressed. That means, don’t pronounce it ‘you’, which is stressed. Pronounce it you.
Nineteen. Do. Our first content word. Content words are nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. They’re usually stressed in a sentence. Our first stressed word! Sort of. Actually, this word can reduce. It depends on how it’s being used in a sentence. In a question, when there’s another verb, we often reduce it. For example, what do you think? ‘Think’ is another verb. Did you notice how I pronounced ‘do’? What do you? What to, what to, what to do do. D plus schwa. Reducing DO like this is nice, natural English. I do have a video, there I’m stressing it, I do have a video because it’s a statement, not a question, I do have a video on the DO reduction. Click here or in the description below to see that video.
Twenty. The word At. Preposition, function word, and yes, it reduces. In conversation, we often pronounce this word ‘ut’, with a schwa, instead of AT, with the AA as in BAT vowel. The T is a Flap T if the next word begins with a vowel or diphthong, and a Stop T if the next word begins with a consonant. If you’re not sure what a Stop or Flap T is, I do have a video on that, click here or in the comments below. Sample sentence: She’s at school. Ut. AT becomes ‘ut’. She’s at school.
So now we’re twenty words in, and still all our words are usually unstressed or might reduce. We’ll have to keep looking for our first stressed all the time word.
That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.