Study real life conversation and notice word stress in two-syllable words. You’ll also get to see a lovely American wedding, out in the cornfields of Indiana!
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In this American English pronunciation video, you’re going to join me at my friend’s wedding on a beautiful farm, and study the pronunciation of the word ‘wedding’ and other two-syllable words.
Today I’m at the wedding of one of my very best friends. Her name is Laura, and you have seen her previously in the video where we made a pumpkin pie. The word ‘wedding’. It’s a two-syllable word, so we have one stressed, and one unstressed syllable. The word begins with the W consonant sound, so the lips will come into a tight circle for that. Then the jaw has to drop a good bit for that EH as in BED vowel. We-, we-. Then we have the D consonant sound opening up into the ING. Now, that’s the unstressed syllable, so it’s going to be lower in pitch, pretty quick: -ding, -ding, -ding. So, the tongue tip starts here for the D, quickly comes down for the IH, and then the back of the tongue makes contact here for the NG. Make sure the tip of the tongue does not come back up, that would be an N ending. Common mistake. We want the NG back here. Wedding wedding.
Every 2-syllable word in American English will have one stressed and one unstressed syllable. So, one will be longer and have shape in the voice, and the other will be short and flat, and low in pitch. To make both syllables the same length is not correct and ignores the rhythmic structure of American English. Speaking with an American rhythm is key to sounding natural. Wedding. There I’ve made both syllables the same length, and all the sounds are correct—wedding—even so, it will not sound right because it does not have the correct rhythmic structure of one long and one short syllable. Wedding. Long-short. Wedding. Let’s study more two-syllable words.
Today I’m at the wedding of one of my very best friends. Her name is Laura, and you have seen her previously in the video where we made a pumpkin pie.
Here, we have several 2-syllable words. Today. Stress on the second syllable, so the first must be very short. To-, to-, to-day, -day, today. Listen again.
Today I’m at the wedding… [3x]
of one of my very best friends.
Very: stress on the first syllable. So, the second syllable is very short and flat: -y, -y, -y, ver-y, ver-y, very, very. Listen again.
…of one of my very best friends. [3x]
…of one of my very best friends. Her name is Laura.
Laura, stress on the first syllable. Laur-a, Laur-a, Laura.
Her name is Laura. [3x]
Her name is Laura, and you have seen her previously in the video where we made a pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin. Stress on the first syllable. Pump-kin, pump-kin. Pumpkin, pumpkin. Listen again.
A pumpkin pie. [3x]
So this is my good friend Liz, also here for the wedding. Hey Liz!
>> Hi, hi, hi friends.
Also: stress on the first syllable. Al-so, al-so, also, also.
Also here for the wedding. [3x]
…also here for the wedding. Hey Liz!
>> Hi, hi, hi friends.
>> Liz came in from Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh, a great city in Pennsylvania. Stress is, again, on the first syllable. Pitts-burgh, Pitts-burgh. Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh.
>> …came in from Pittsburgh. [3x]
>> …came in from Pittsburgh. Now, Liz, tell me how you know Laura.
>> Um, Laura is a college friend of mine.
College: stress is on the first syllable. Coll-ege, coll-ege, college, college.
>> Is a college friend of mine. [3x]
>> Laura is a college friend of mine, so I met her freshman year, first year of college, when I met you, as well.
Freshman, stress on the first syllable. Fresh-man, fresh-man. Freshman.
>> Freshman year, first year… [3x]
>> Freshman year, first year of college, when I met you, as well.
>> Right, but didn’t you meet her because of a specific activity?
>> Yes. Laura and I played tennis together.
Tennis. Stress on the first syllable. Ten-nis, ten-nis, tennis, tennis.
>> Laura and I played tennis together. [3x]
>> Laura and I played tennis together.
>> Yes we did. Um, and, uh, were we doubles partners? I don’t think we were ever doubles partners.
‘Doubles’ and ‘partners’. In both of these words, stress is on the first syllable. Dou-bles, dou-bles, doubles. Partners. Part-ners, part-ners. Partners. Doubles partners.
>> Doubles partners. [3x]
>> Weddings are good for holding babies.
Holding and babies. Again, first syllables are stressed in both of these words. Hold-ing, hold-ing, bab-ies, bab-ies, holding babies. Listen again.
>> …for holding babies. [3x]
>> This is brother-in-law of the bride. What do you have on your plate there?
>> Peach pie and vanilla ice cream.
>> That sounds delicious. How is it?
>> It’s, it’s delicious, it’s a wonderful combination, complements each other …
>> Just like Laura and Mark.
>> Just like Laura and Mark.
>> There we go.
Speaking of Laura and Mark, traditionally at weddings, the bride and groom will have a first dance alone together.
>> Well, guys, thanks so much for letting me use my video camera here at your wedding, and sharing your special day, document it for the Rachel’s English community!
That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.