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Learning English—How to learn ENGLISH SPEAKING—Learning English with movies | Rachel’s English


I’ve got something very exciting for you. In this video, we’re going to study English with movies! Today it’s a short scene from a new movie, On the Basis of Sex, and we’re going to do an in-depth pronunciation analysis to boost your listening comprehension and help you sound more American. It’s amazing what we can discover by studying even a small bit of English conversation. I call this kind of exercise a Ben Franklin exercise. First we’ll watch the scene, then you and I will study together to understand exactly how the words are being pronounced. You’ll be amazed at what we’re going to find after watching the scene. First, the scene. I apologize, okay? I want to know where you were. Denise and I went to a rally to hear Gloria Steinem speak. What? Gloria Steinem. She’s a writer. She just started her own magazine.>>She testified in the Senate.
>>Yeah, I know who Gloria Steinem is.>>What if you got hurt, or, arrested?
>>Mom, it’s a rally, not a riot. Jane, these things can get out of hand. Okay, well I’m fifteen years old, and you don’t need to control every minute of my life. Yes I do. That is my job.
And your job is to go to school and learn. Now, the analysis. I apologize. I apologize. I apologize. A five-syllable thought group. I apol– And the middle syllable, the third syllable is the most stressed. I apologize. But the intonation is smooth. We don’t have skips. It scoops up, the voice scoops up and then it comes back down. I apologize. I apologize. I apologize. I apologize. Linked together smoothly. We have a vowel to vowel link here, with a diphthong AI. I uh– linking right into the schwa of ‘apologize’. In a link like this, when it’s an AI diphthong linking into another word that begins with a vowel or diphthong, you can think of connecting them with a Y sound.
I ya– yapologize, yapologize. I apologize. It can help smooth out that link. I apologize. I apologize. I apologize, okay? Okay? Okay? Pitch goes up at the end. Okay. It’s a yes/no question. However, it’s, she’s not really asking yes or no. Her tone is pretty harsh, isn’t it? I apologize. It doesn’t sound very apologetic at all. I apologize, okay? I apologize, okay? I apologize, okay? I apologize, okay? I want to know where you were. I want to know where you were. One sentence, one thought group. What are the most stressed syllables there? I want to know where you were. I want to know where you were. I want to know where you were. I want to know where you were. I think ‘know’ and ‘were’ are the most stressed words there. Every word is linked together smoothly, the words ‘want to’ linked together into a single reduction. Wanna. I wanna, I want to know. I wanna know where you were. No gaps between the words, everything super smooth. I wanna. AI diphthong right into the W constant sound, schwa of ‘wanna’ uh, uh, right into the stressed word know. I want to know. I want to know where you were. I want to know where you were. I want to know where you were. I want to know where you were. Denise and I went to a rally to hear Gloria Steinem speak. Then her daughter replies with a long thought group. Denise and I went to a rally to hear Gloria Steinem speak. What do you hear as the most stressed words there? Denise and I went to a rally to hear Gloria Steinem speak. Denise and I went to a rally to hear Gloria Steinem speak. Denise and I went to a rally to hear Gloria Steinem speak. Went to a rally to hear Gloria Steinem speak. So Denise is a little bit stressed, but there’s also, she’s not putting a lot of energy in her voice there at the beginning, Denise, Denise. Denise and I went to a rally– Denise and I went to a rally– Denise and I went to a rally to hear Gloria Steinem speak. Speak is also a little bit longer. Let’s talk about her reductions. Do you hear any reductions here? A reduction is where a sound on a word is dropped or changed. Denise and I went to a rally to hear Gloria Steinem speak. Denise and I went to a rally to hear Gloria Steinem speak. Denise and I went to a rally to hear Gloria Steinem speak. This first one, right here. Denise and I– Denise and I– The word ‘and’ is reduced, it’s just an N sound, quick schwa N. Denise and, Denise and, Denise and I. I think this word sounds sort of like the word ‘in’ when it’s reduced. Denise and I, Denise and I. And it’s really smoothly linked together, the ending S sound links into the schwa. Denise and I. And then the N sound links right into the AI diphthong. Denise and I– Denise and I– Denise and I– Denise and I– Denise and I– Denise and I went to a rally to hear Gloria Steinem speak. Went to a — Went to a — We have two T’s here, they’re connected with just a single true T sound. So you don’t need to make two T’s here, we link them together. Went to a — Went to a — Went to a rally. Went to a rally. Went to a rally. Went to a rally. The word ‘to’, this word usually reduces. Almost always the vowel changes to the schwa but here, the next word is simply the schwa. So if we changed the OO vowel to a schwa, then we wouldn’t have anything to let us know we’re changing syllables here, because it would be the same exact sound. So in order to link smoothly, but have us know, have us hear that as two separate words, we don’t reduce the vowel when it’s followed by a schwa. To a– To a– To a– To a– So even though it’s not stressed, that would be ‘to’ it’s still said flatly and quickly. To, to, to. It’s not reduced. Went to a– Went to a– Went to a– Went to a rally. Went to a rally. Went to a rally. Went to a rally. Went to a rally. Okay, now, look. Here, we have another word ‘to’, another opportunity to study the word. How is it pronounced here? Went to a rally to hear– Went to a rally to hear– Went to a rally to hear– T’s definitely not: to, to, to. There’s no true T and there’s no OO vowel. It’s more of a flap T and then the vowel is the schwa. Rally to– So we make it t a flap T when it comes between two vowels. We don’t usually do this at the beginning of words, but words like today, tomorrow, two, together, these words we do sometimes do this with, make the true T a flap T instead. Rally to– Rally to– Rally to– So we have two occurrences of the word ‘to’, both times they’re unstressed but once it’s not reduced at all, none of the sounds are changed and the other time it’s reduced a lot. Both sounds change flap T and schwa. Rally to– Rally to– Rally to hear– Rally to hear– Rally to hear– ‘Hear’, this is a verb and usually our content words are stressed, but in any sentence, if we have a lot of different content words that is nouns, verbs, adjectives, or adverbs, they won’t all be equally stressed. So here, went and hear, even though those are both verbs, to me feel less stressed than the others. Then we have Gloria Steinem, a proper noun. Now, any time we have a name, it’s the last word in the name that’s the most stressed. So Gloria– Glor–, the stressed syllable there is stressed but Steinem, the stressed syllable there, to me, is even more stressed. Gloria Steinem. Da-da-da-DA-da. Steinem. The stressed syllable of her last name would be the most stressed in the group of her name. Gloria Steinem. Gloria Steinem. Gloria Steinem. Gloria Steinem. Gloria Steinem. And then one more stressed word, speak, at the end. Gloria Steinem speak. Gloria Steinem speak. Gloria Steinem speak. What? What? What? She does a light true T release at the end, that’s a little uncommon, it’s more common to make a stop T at the end of a thought group. What? What? But she does a light release. Notice the intonation goes up. What? What? She’s surprised. She can’t believe what she’s hearing. Let’s talk about the WH consonants here. How does she pronounce these sounds? What? What? What? Just as a pure W sound. What? What? It’s become outdated, I would say, to pronounce the hh sound before the W. What? What? In WH words, you might hear some people say it that way. My mom does it that way, what, white, for example, but it’s much more common these days to just do a clean W sound. What. Not the W sound with the little escape of air H before. What? What? What? What? Gloria Steinem. Gloria Steinem. Gloria Steinem. Okay there’s that name again. And again, we have a little bit of stress on the stressed syllable of Gloria, but then more stress on the stressed syllable, Steinem. Gloria Steinem. There’s no separation between these words they’re linked smoothly together because they’re part of the same thought group. Everything in English is really smoothly linked together within the same thought group. Gloria Steinem. Gloria Steinem. Gloria Steinem. Gloria Steinem. She’s a writer. She’s a writer. She’s a writer. Again, linked together, really smoothly there’s no break, the letter A, the article a here is the schwa. She’s a–, so the apostrophe S is a Z sound, it links right into the schwa. The schwa links right into the beginning sound of the next word, which is an R. The W is silent in this word. She’s a writer. She’s a writer. What’s the most stressed syllable there? She’s a writer. She’s a writer. She’s a writer. It’s the stressed syllable of writer. So we have smoothly going up, she’s a writer, then the peak on wri–, and the pitch falls down. She’s a writer. Uuuhh— Really smooth, no jumps or gaps in the pitch there. She’s a writer. And notice the T here is a flap T because it comes between two vowel sounds. So it’s not a true T, but rather a flap of the tongue. She’s a writer. She’s a writer. She’s a writer. She’s a writer. She just started her own magazine. She just started her own magazine. What are your most stressed words there? She just started her own magazine. She just started her own magazine. She just started her own magazine. Started her own magazine. Star and mag the most stressed syllables there, the other syllables said quickly. She just– How is the word ‘just’ pronounced? Focus especially on the ending cluster ST. She just started– She just started– She just started– Just started– Just started– She just started– The T is dropped. This is really common with the ST cluster at the end when the next word begins with a consonant, we tend to drop the T. Just started. So the two words linked together with a single S sound. She just started. She and just, low in pitch, flatter, compared to star. She just star– she just started. She just started. She just started. She just started. The T here in started, another flap. Why? It comes after an R before a vowel, not between vowels. True, but this same rule applies. A T becomes a flap T when it comes after an R before a vowel. Started. Started. So the vowel sound here is the IH as in sit vowel followed by the D consonant. This is how we pronounce the ED ending. Started. The ED ending is pronounced this way if the sound before is a T or a D. Started. Started. The ED ending when it makes an extra syllable is always unstressed. Star– ted, ted, ted. So it’s said more quickly, it’s flatter in pitch, less energy in the voice. Started. She just started. She just started. She just started. She just started her own magazine. Her own magazine. Her own magazine. So her and own, less stressed, a little flatter, leading up in pitch and energy to the stressed syllable, mag. Her own magazine. And then smoothly, the voice falls off. So this is how stress works in American English. We have stressed syllables where the pitch of the voice peaks, and the energy of the voice peaks, and it’s always a smooth connection up to, and then falling away from that peak. The word her, she doesn’t drop the H although that is a common reduction. Started her. Started her own. Started her own magazine. You might hear that. She doesn’t do that though, she pronounces a light H sound even though it’s unstressed. Her own magazine. Her own magazine, her own magazine, her own magazine. She testified in the senate. She testified in the senate. Okay so she’s getting more impassioned. The pitch of her voice, the high pitches of her voice are getting higher. She testified in the Senate. And then her mom starts speaking. But she, in, the, all function words, a little less important for meaning, lower in pitch, faster, less clear than the stressed syllables of the stressed words. Test, sen. She testified in the senate. She testified in the senate. She testified in the senate. Notice the ED ending here in testified. It’s just a sound, it’s the D sound. So there’s no extra syllable, it’s not a vowel and a consonant, it’s just a consonant. And that’s because the sound before was not a T or a D. Testified. So just a light D sound at the end which then links into the next word, the IH as in sit vowel for in. She testified in the Senate. And it’s hard to hear because her mom starts talking but this T is a stop T. She doesn’t release the escape of air. Senate. It’s an abrupt stop of air. If I said that with a true T, it would sound like this: Senate. Do you hear the difference? Senate. But instead it’s, Senate. That might sound to you like the T is dropped but it’s not totally dropped because we do stop the air. Senate. It, it, it. And that abrupt stop is part of the T. Senate. Senate.>>Senate.
>>Yeah, I know who Gloria Steinem is. Yeah, I know who Gloria Steinem is. So a really quick yeah, and then I know who Gloria Steinem is, a thought group with three stressed syllables. I know who Gloria Steinem is. And all of those sounds linked together really smoothly. There’s no break between words. I know who Gloria Steinem is. Ending M links right into the beginning vowel IH of ‘is’. Is, pronounced with a light weak Z sound at the end. Is, is, is. Yeah, I know who Gloria Steinem is. Yeah, I know who Gloria Steinem is. Yeah, I know who Gloria Steinem is. What if you got hurt? What if you got hurt? What if you got hurt? Two stressed words there. What if you got hurt? Hurt, the most stressed. She does a light release so that’s a true T. Hurt. The T here, got hurt, is a stop T. We make a T a stop T when it’s at the end of a thought group, like here in Senate or when it’s followed by a word that begins with a consonant sound. And here, it begins with a consonant sound, H. Got hurt, got hurt. So there’s a stop here. Got hurt. And that signifies the stop T. What about the T in ‘what’ over here? What if you got hurt? What if you got hurt? What if you got hurt? What are you hearing there? It’s a flap T. What if, what if. And that’s because it comes between two vowel sounds. So even though the vowel in ‘if’, the IH vowel, isn’t part of the same word, these two words link together so that T does come between two vowels and it is a flap T. That flap T connects the two words. What if, what if, what if. What if you got hurt? What if you got hurt? What if you got hurt, or, arrested? Arrested, arrested. Da-DA-da. Stress on the middle syllable. A-rres-ted. The ED ending of this word, how is it pronounced? It is an extra syllable. That means it’s a vowel and a consonant. The IH vowel and the D sound, that’s because the sound before was a T. Arrested. Arrested.>>Or, arrested?
>>Mom.>>Or, arrested?
>>Mom.>>Or, arrested?
>>Mom, it’s a rally, not a riot. Mom, it’s a rally, not a riot. Okay, so what do we have here? What are our most stressed syllables? Mom, has some length. Mom, it’s a rally, not a riot. Then stress on the syllable rall– and riot, she also exaggerates the R, rally, rrr– and when we exaggerate a consonant by holding it out a little bit, giving it a little bit more time, that adds more stress. It’s a rally. It’s a rally, not a riot. It’s a rally, not a riot. It’s a rally, not a riot. It’s a little hard to hear, what her final T is. I think it’s a true T but it’s a little hard to hear because her mom starts talking. It’s a– not a–, these two sets of unstressed words, flatter in pitch, it’s a– not a– said more quickly compared to rally and riot which are stressed. Everything links together. Everything’s very smooth. It’s a rally, not a riot. Not a, linking together with that flap T. It’s a rally, not a riot. It’s a rally, not a riot.>>It’s a rally, not a riot.
>>Jane, these things can get out of hand. Jane, Jane. Single thought group, stressed word, up down, Jane, Jane. Jane, these things can get out of hand. Get out of hand. She says this word a little bit differently. It’s part of the accent that she’s developed for this movie, we would say hand, the AH as in bat vowel when it’s followed by N, like it is here, has an UH sound like butter or schwa before the N. Hand– This is where the back of the tongue relaxes. But this is not really how she pronounces it. Jane, these things can get out of hand. Jane, these things can get out of hand. Jane, these things can get out of hand. Hand, hand, hand. So that’s not really a standard pronunciation of the word. Hand, hand, ah, ah, ah, Would be more standard. The word ‘these’ unstressed, said more quickly. These things can get– Then we have the word ‘can’. It’s not only unstressed but it reduces, a sound changes. Rather than ah, it’s the schwa, and it’s said really quickly. Can, can, things can, things can get. These things can get out of hand. These things can get out of hand. These things can get out of hand. Now, we have two T’s here. This T comes between two vowel or diphthong sounds. This T comes between two vowel or diphthong sounds, so they should both be flap T’s. Let’s listen to how she does it. Can get out of hand. Can get out of hand. Can get out of hand. And they are both Flap Ts. Get out of, get out of. The word ‘of’ is reduced to just the schwa. That’s pretty common especially with ‘out’. Out of, out of, out of. Get out of hand, get out of hand. Get out of hand. Get out of hand. Get out of hand. Okay, well I’m fifteen years old, and you don’t need to control every minute of my life. Then we have a very long thought group here, it continues on to the next slide. Let’s listen to this first part and listen for the stressed syllables. Okay, well I’m fifteen years old– Okay, well I’m fifteen years old– Okay, well I’m fifteen years old– So her pitch is higher, her speech is a lot faster, showing emotion here, but I still hear a couple syllables, a couple words is a little bit more stressed. Okay, well I’m fifteen years old– Fifteen and old, a little bit longer, a little bit more stressed. The T here is a true T because it starts a stressed syllable. Fifteen. That’s different than the word ‘fifty’ where it’s the first syllable that’s stressed. Fifty. Then we usually make that T a flap T even though it doesn’t follow the rules. Fifty, but 1-5, fifteen, has a true T, stress on the second syllable. Well, I’m fifteen years old– Notice everything links together really smoothly, the plural S in years is pronounced as a Z and it links into the next words. Zold, zold. Years old, years old. Okay, well I’m fifteen years old– Okay, well I’m fifteen years old– Okay, well I’m fifteen years old, and you don’t need to control every minute of my life. And you don’t need to control every minute of my life. Okay, don’t, she stresses that, she does a gesture with her arms on it to add more stress. You don’t need to control every minute of my life. Okay, so those are our most stressed syllables. What else is going on here? First of all, I notice the reduction with the word ‘and’. And, and, and, and, and, said really quickly. And you, and you, and you. And you don’t need to– And you don’t need to– And you don’t need to– Now we have a stressed word, don’t. Usually when a word is stressed, we don’t change anything about the pronunciation. We don’t reduce it. But what happens to the T? Let’s listen. And you don’t need to– And you don’t need to– And you don’t need to– You don’t need, you don’t need. It’s it’s totally dropped. This is a way that we do pronounce N apostrophe T contractions. There are several different ways it’s pronounced, this is one of them. T completely dropped, the N in don’t links directly into the N in need. Don’t need, you don’t need. And you don’t need to– And you don’t need to– And you don’t need to– Need to– need to– need to– Now, here, again, it’s a flap. It’s not a true T sound. It’s more like a D. And we can link that with the word before, need to– need to–. So this is just like earlier when she reduced the word ‘to’ to flap and schwa. She’s doing it again. Need to– need to– need to– And you don’t need to control– And you don’t need to control– And you don’t need to control– Control, stress on the second syllable, TR cluster is often pronounced as CHR and I do hear this lightly as a CH, rather than a T sound. Control, control. Control, control, control every minute of my life. Minute of my life. Every minute of my life.
Every minute of my life. Again, the pitch change is always very smooth. Every min– that’s leading up to the peak in minute of my life. It goes down and then back up, minute of, linked together with a flap T. Minute of my life. Now, here, the V sound isn’t dropped. It is said lightly. Minute of my life. Every minute of my life. Every minute of my life.>>Every minute of my life.
>>Yes, I do. That is my job. Yes, I do. That is my job. Quite a bit of stress here. Yes, I do. That is my job. Two peaks in each of those sentences. Yes I do. Uhhhh. But the pitch change is very smooth, very linked together, those words: Yes, I do. That is my job. These two words linked with a flap T. That is, that is, that is. That is my job. Yes, I do. That is my job. Yes, I do. That is my job. Yes, I do. That is my job.
And your job is to go to school and learn. And your job is to go to school and learn. And your job is to go to school and learn. Those are the most stressed words there. What’s happening with reductions? And your job is to go to school and learn. And your job is to go to school and learn. And your job is to go to school and learn. And your job, and, and, and, and. So the word ‘and’ reduced again. I would probably say the vowel isn’t reduced, and, instead of un, un, un, un. Here, it was: and you, and you, and you. But here it’s: and, and, and, and your, and your, and your. And your job– And your job– And your job– And your job– And your job– So even though she’s stressing the word ‘your’, she’s reducing it, she’s not saying: your, she’s saying: yer, yer. So that’s the Y sound, the schwa, and the R. So she’s reduced the sounds but the intonation and the stress is there. Yer– up down, it’s a peak. And your job, and your job. And your job– And your job– And your job is to go to school. Is to go to school. So interestingly, alright, first we have the Z sound in ‘is’. Iz, iz to. Then I here this as a true T and the OO vowel, not reduced: to, to, to. I’m not quite sure why she does that, it might be part of the accent she’s developing for this period. To, to, to. Your job is to go to– But then the second word ‘to, totally reduced. Flap T and the schwa. Go to, go to, go to, go to school. Is to go to school. Is to go to school. Is to go to school and learn. And learn. And learn. And learn. I would write that as schwa N, that reduction, it’s certainly not and. And learn. And learn. And learn. So as you’ve seen here in this dialogue, there are lots of different reductions in American English. T’s are pronounced differently depending on the context. ED endings, pronunciation is not always what you think, like the N apostrophe T in ‘don’t’, why is that T dropped? So the more you study English like this, and the more you pay attention to how Americans speak, the easier time you will have understanding them, and then also the easier you’ll be able to imitate them when you know the details of what’s happening. And when you’re able to really imitate then you will start to sound more natural when you speak American English. Because a lot of what Americans do with pronunciation might be different from what you learned in school. Let’s listen to this whole dialogue one more time. I apologize, okay? I want to know where you were. Denise and I went to a rally to hear Gloria Steinem speak. What? Gloria Steinem. She’s a writer. She just started her own magazine.>>She testified in the Senate.
>>Yeah, I know who Gloria Steinem is.>>What if you got hurt, or, arrested?
>>Mom, it’s a rally, not a riot. Jane, these things can get out of hand. Okay, well I’m fifteen years old, and you don’t need to control>>every minute of my life.
>>Yes I do. That is my job. And your job is to go to school and learn. We’re going to be doing a lot more of this kind of analysis together. What movie scenes would you like to see analyzed like this? Let me know in the comments. And if you want to see all of my Ben Franklin videos I’ve ever made, here is that playlist. You can also find the link in the video description. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.

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