Learn 3-syllable word stress with this video series. This focuses on stress on the second syllable, so the words have the pattern short-LONG-short.
YouTube blocked? Click here to see the video.
In this American English pronunciation video, you’re going to get even better at speaking with rhythmic contrast. We’re going to practice three-syllable words with first syllable stress.
First, if you are just going to watch this video, don’t. That would be very boring. This video only works if you’re willing to practice your English out loud. So, if you’re somewhere where you can’t do that, make sure to come back to this video later.
When learning English as a second language, most people don’t make unstressed syllables as fast, low in pitch, or quiet, as they should. The tendency is to over-pronounce them, but that’s not good English.
In English, we have clearer, stressed syllables: DA, and less clear unstressed syllables: da. So for these syllables, don’t be afraid to be less clear.
In this video, we’re just going to do 3-syllable words, with second syllable stress, like this: da-DA-da. da-DA-da. That’s all you’re going to hear. You’re going to get into a groove with the rhythm. After each repetition of the word, repeat it just like you hear it. Don’t over-pronounce the unstressed syllables. This is going to move quickly. See if you can keep up.
Procedure. da-DA-da. Procedure.
Decided. da-DA-da. Decided.
Example. da-DA-da. Example.
Directly. da-DA-da. Directly.
Important. da-DA-da. Important.
Consider. da-DA-da. Consider.
Completely. da-DA-da. Completely.
Advantage. da-DA-da. Advantage.
Agenda. da-DA-da. Agenda.
Mistaken. da-DA-da. Mistaken.
Forgetful. da-DA-da. Forgetful.
Exactly. da-DA-da. Exactly.
Iconic. da-DA-da. Iconic.
Nutrition. da-DA-da. Nutrition.
Unweildy. da-DA-da. Unweildy.
Now, we’re going to go back to the beginning and just do the words one time each. Repeat each word and don’t worry too much about the sounds. This is a drill exercise in rhythm.
Now we’re going to go back to the beginning and just do the words one time each with a short sentence. Repeat the word and the sentence keeping the right rhythm when it’s in a sentence.
Procedure – What’s the procedure?
Decided – We decided to stay.
Example – I need another example.
Directly – Go directly to your supervisor.
Important – How important is it?
Consider – I’ll consider it.
Completely – I completely agree.
Advantage – That’s one advantage.
Agenda – What’s on the agenda?
Mistaken – I must be mistaken.
Forgetful – I’m pretty forgetful.
Exactly – That’s exactly right.
Iconic – It’s an iconic building.
Nutrition – He’s studying nutrition.
Unweildy – It’s not heavy, but it’s unwieldy.
What other three-syllable words with second syllable stress can you think of? Put them in the comments below to give everyone more words to practice with.
Stress is something I stress in my book American English Pronunciation. If you want an organized, step-by-step resource to build your American accent, click here to buy the book. I think you’re going to love it.
That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.