Speaking with variation in syllable length and stress is an important part of sounding American. Study the difference in stressed and unstressed syllables while I consider names for my new bike!
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As some of you know, last week my beloved bike Jenny was stolen from the front of my apartment building here in New York City. You may remember Jenny because she has been in a video before.
>> This is my bicycle, Jenny. I didn’t name her, she came named.
So, I had to replace Jenny and I bought this Schwinn. It’s called a “World Traveler”, and that’s not a very good name for a bike. So I asked all my fans on Facebook to suggest different names, and today I’m going to choose my favorite name out of those suggestions to name this.
I got lots of really great suggestions, and I loved doing this, so I may start doing it when I have children, too. So start thinking of names. But, some of my favorites. Priscilla and many other suggested the name Magrela, and this was the reason why. It’s like a nickname to bike in Portuguese, meaning ‘little thin’ or ‘skinny’. Look at all the people that suggested that name! My friend Egle was very persistent about the name Joan. Sorry Egle, it is a pretty name, but I didn’t choose it for my bike. Ari suggested the name Floyd, which happens to be the name of one of my favorite professors from college, but I don’t think I’m going to name my bike Floyd. Monica suggested Alberta, and I really love the reason why she suggested it. “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” And Erick suggested Frida Khalo after the painter. I did really consider that one. It was in the front running, but I didn’t choose it. There were also a lot of name suggestions that had repeating syllables. For example, Boo Boo, Ti Ti, Lulu, Cece, Cocoa, Jon-Jon, and Juju. Now, I happen to love all of those, but ultimately, didn’t choose any of those either. But, it’s a great teaching moment, so let’s take a minute to talk about these repeating syllables.
First of all, cocoa. I find this very interesting because it’s the same sounds, but it’s spelled differently. In the first syllable, it’s just the letter O, and in the second syllable it’s OA. I admit this really confused me as a kid. Any word that is two syllables has one stressed and one unstressed syllable. So, even though all of these words have the same sounds in both syllables, they’ll actually not quite sound the same, because a stressed syllable won’t sound the same as an unstressed syllable. So, for example, cocoa. I’m going to take an audio look of that first syllable and then an audio loop of the second syllable, and you can hear how different they sound.
I hope you hear that the second syllable is quieter, is lower in pitch, and sounds a little bit like I’ve taken some of the energy and a little bit of the voice out of it. Cocoa, -coa, -coa. So this is the difference between a stressed syllable and an unstressed syllable.
So you’re probably wondering: if I didn’t choose all of these great names, then what name did I choose? Well, the name I chose is…
Lucy! Which was suggested by Paulo. Thank you so much for that great name suggestion. What do you guys think, does she look like a Lucy?
Do you have a bike that you love? Tell me about it in the comments. Or better yet, post a picture of you with your bike to my Facebook page. Tell me a story about it. Or, practice your English. Make a video with your bike, telling me about its name, or how you got it, or a great trip you’ve taken with it. Post it as a video response to this video on YouTube. I can’t wait to hear all your stories.
That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.