Practice word stress in 2-Syllable words with first syllable stress through repetition. In correct spoken English, syllables must be different lengths: short and long. Practice creating different syllable lengths in this video.
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In this American English pronunciation video, you’re going to get even better at speaking with rhythmic contrast. We’re going to practice two-syllable words with first syllable stress.
First, if you were 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 two-syllable words with first syllable stress, like this: 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 going to move quickly, so see if you can keep up.
mother, DA-da, mother
little, DA-da, little
feeling, DA-da, feeling
reason, DA-da, reason
kinda, DA-da, kinda
nervous, DA-da, nervous
pretty, DA-da, pretty
master, DA-da, master
crumble, DA-da, crumble
sorta, DA-da, sorta
toothpaste, DA-da, toothpaste
borrow, DA-da, borrow
English, DA-da, English
staying, Da-da, staying
really, DA-da, really
wonder, DA-da, wonder
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.
mother – Her mother left.
little – I’m a little tired.
feeling – I’m feeling okay.
reason – What’s the reason?
kinda – I’m kinda hungry.
nervous – She’s nervous.
pretty – That was pretty good.
master – I want to master it.
crumble – It’s going to crumble.
sorta – I sorta thought so.
toothpaste – I need more toothpaste.
borrow – I need to borrow that.
English – English is tough.
staying – We’re staying here.
really – I really want that.
wonder – I wonder what he meant.
I couldn’t hear you, but I bet you did really great. This video is part of a series where we take words with the same stress, and practice a bunch of them at once. It’s a drilling exercise. You want to do it over and over until the stress pattern feels natural. Click the link here or in the description below to see other videos in this series. The more you practice while working on stress, the more natural you’ll sound to Americans. So when you’re learning vocabulary, organize the words in lists by stress. Practice words of the same stress together to get into that groove.
What other two-syllable words with first 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.