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English Words – The Top 10 – Pronunciation Guide – Learn English (American English)


In this video series, you will learn how to
pronounce the 100 most common words in American English. I got this idea when I saw a couple of other
videos on this topic, and I was horrified at what I saw. In those videos, people were teaching the
full pronunciation of these words, like: THAT, HAVE, TO. So many of the 100 most common words are function
words and they reduce. It is completely unnatural to fully pronounce
each word in American English. Let me show you what I mean. This sentence is four words, and each one
of these words is in the 100 most common words list. This is for work. That’s the full pronunciation of each of
those words. And if that’s all you learn about the pronunciation,
then this is how you would pronounce that sentence: This is for work. This is for work. Well, I don’t want any of my students thinking
that that is the correct way to pronounce that sentence. It’s not. It’s not natural. This is for work. This is for work. Is and for are not fully pronounced. Rhythm in American English is extremely important
for capturing the character of the language: for understanding Americans when they speak,
and for sounding natural and being easily understood when you speak. Some syllables are long, and some are very
very short. This contrast is the rhythm of American English. In order to make those short syllables really
short, some words in American English, some of the most common words, reduce. This means a sound changes or is dropped. And everybody studying English should know
these. Let’s take our sentence again and talk about
the real pronunciation of it. This is for work. Two words are longer. This. Work. And two words are shorter. Is, for. This is for work. This is for work. So it’s not iz but is. And it’s not for but fer. This is for work. Rhythmic contrast. So as we go through the 100 most common words
in American English here, we’re going to talk about rhythm and reductions at the same
time, to make sure that you’re learning the correct pronunciation, not the full pronunciation,
which is rarely used in most function words. Okay, let’s start at the beginning. The number one most common word in American English is THE. In a sentence it will become the, the. Very fast with a schwa. This is when the next word begins with a consonant. For example, “the most”, the, the
most. It’s usually pronounced with the EE vowel,
the, the, the. If the next word begins with a vowel or diphthong,
for example, “the other”, the, the, the. The most important thing about the pronunciation
of this word is that it should be said very quickly. The cat. It should never be THE CAT, THE CAT. Always ‘the cat’. The, the, the very fast. The next word is ‘be’, and I assume this
means the verb TO BE, conjugated. I am, you are, he is, she is, it is, we are,
they are. The important thing to know about these pronunciations
is that they will almost always be said in a contraction, ‘I am’ becomes I’m, I’m,
I’m. Said very quickly, I’m. Sometimes you’ll even hear as just. the M sound: M’sorry. M’sorry, mm, mm, mm. This is a natural pronunciation. YOU ARE, you’re, reduces to ‘you’re’. Super fast. basically no vowel. You’re, you’re. You’re gonna be okay. You’re, you’re. Very fast. HE IS becomes ‘he’s’.He’s. SHE IS is she’s. She’s. IT IS, it’s, it’s, it’s. Sometimes we reduce this even further we change
a sound, we dropped the vowel. We say just ‘ts’. Ts, ts. ‘ts cool! ‘ts awesome! Ts. Have you ever heard that? ‘Ts cool. ‘Ts raining. It’s a common reduction. WE ARE, we’re, becomes ‘we’re’. We’re running late. ‘we’re’, ‘we’re’. Very fast. THEY ARE, they’re becomes ‘they’re’. Very fast, the vowel changes, they’re. They’re okay. They’re, they’re. Word number three: to. Almost never pronounced this way, to. We use a reduction: the vowel changes to the
schwa. To, to, said very quickly. And sometimes, the true T at the beginning
changes to more of a D sound, or a Flap T. “Let’s go to the beach.” Go to the. Go to. Go to. How is ‘to’ being pronounce there? to
to, go to. A flap of the tongue, and the schwa. Said very quickly. Go to. Go to the beach. It’s nothing like TO, is it? OF. Again, we don’t fully pronounce this word. It’s not OF, it’s of. Schwa, very light V, said very quickly. And actually, you’ll often hear this word
without the ‘v’. Then it’s just the schwa, and we pronounce
it this way in phrases ‘kind of’ and ‘sort of’. kinda, sorta. For example, I’m kinda tired. Kinda. Kinda, uh, uh, uh. Schwa, very fast. Kinda. Ok, we’re only four words in, but let’s
review. I’m going to put up a sentence. Look at it, find the reduction, and then say
the sentence with the reduction. Say the reduction very quickly. Here’s one sentence: I am remember becomes I’m. How quickly did you make that first word? I’m running late. I’m running late.Try it as just the M sound. Mmm, mmm. M’running, M’running. M’running late. Sorry guys, I’m running late. So natural. When you learn the reductions in American
English, and you start to really use them in your speech, you gain a native feeling. Also, understanding Americans becomes easier
because you can start to identify the reductions. One more for you to try out loud now: I want
you to try reducing the word ‘to’. Look at it, think about it, now try it out
loud. “I know how to do it.” How to, how to, how to. I’m making that the Flap T and the schwa. Are you? Try it again. How to, I know how to do it. Alright, we’ll keep going with number 5:
AND. And. Another word that we rarely fully pronounce. There are a couple of different ways to reduce
this. We’ll start with the full pronunciation,
and we’ll reduce from there. AA vowel followed by N consonant: the tongue
is lifted in the back for AA, Aaaa. Then relaxes before the N. Aa-uh, aa-uh, aa-uh. So it’s not a pure AA sound. Aa-uh, aa-uh. And, and, and, and, and. First reduction is just dropping the D. “An’,
An’and I think it will be okay.” An, An’ I, An’ I. No D, just the N into the next word. An’ I think it will be okay. Another reduction, more common, is to just
say the N sound, “N’. N’ I think it will be okay.” N’, N’, just straight from the N into the
next word. N’ I, N’ I think it will be okay. Cookies and cream, salt and pepper, black
and white, up and down, left and right. All of these, I’m just making a quick N
sound, linking the two other words. Up and down. Number 6. Okay, we’re actually going to do 6 and 32
together, because they’re related. They’re the articles A and AN. Now, we don’t say A and AN. We say ‘a’ and ‘an’. Schwa. Very fast, very little movement for the mouth. A, a, a coffee. A, a or An, an example. An, an. A, an. Number 7. IN. We don’t drop or change a sound here. We don’t reduce. But it is still unstressed. This mean it should be really short, less
clear. Instead of saying ‘IN’, we would say ‘in’. “He’s in love.” In, in. “She’s in a hurry”. In, in, in. So be careful. It’s not IN. That sounds stressed. It’s ‘in’. Number 8: THAT. You know what I realize? I already have a video for a lot of these
reductions. I have a video on the pronunciation of THAT
and how we really pronounce it in a sentence. So I’ll give a brief description here, but
I’ll also link to that and other related reduction videos in the video description. THAT is a word that can be used lots of different
ways in American English. And in some cases, in many cases, we reduce
the vowel from AA to the schwa so THAT becomes ‘that’. Now the ending T: the pronunciation of that
sound depends on the beginning of the next word. If the next word begins with a vowel or diphthong,
it’s a Flap T: That I, d d, d that I. If the next word begins with a consonant,
then it’s a Stop T. That she. That, that That she. I know, it’s a little confusing. Check out my video on the word THAT for a
longer explanation and more examples. But just note that we often don’t pronounce
this word, that. We often reduce it so it has the schwa that. Number 9: the verb HAVE. Just like the verb ‘be’, this will often
be used as a contraction in spoken English, which is already a reduction. We’re already changing sounds for that:
I HAVE becomes I’ve, I’ve I’ve I’ve I’ve. “I’ve been wanting to see that.” I’ve I’ve. YOU HAVE becomes ‘you’ve.’ HE HAS becomes ‘he’s’. He’s he’s. You’ve you’ve. He’s been waiting. He’s. Here’s something interesting: the pronunciation
of the HAS contraction. With ‘he’ and ‘she’, it’s pronounced
as a Z. Hiz. Hiz been, hiz been. But with Shes shiz shiz. But with it, its, it’s been raining, then
it’s an S sound. It’s. He’s, Z it’s, Ss S. WE HAVE becomes ‘we’ve’,
we’ve’ we’ve’ and THEY HAVE becomes ‘they’ve’ which sounds like deiv when
it’s unstressed. Number 10: the pronoun I. Usually said very quickly, it’s not “I”
but “I”. I think so. I, I, I. I think, I. If you’re speaking really quickly, you can
maybe get away with something more like ‘aa’ than ‘I’. I think so. Aa aa aa. I think so. When it’s said so quickly, you can’t really
tell if I’m doing the full diphthong I or not. Wow. Okay, we just did the ten most common words
in English, and none of them are fully pronounced. They’re all words that are unstressed or
reduced. Interesting. Keep your eyes out, that’s an idiom that
means to look for something. We’d expect to it will be coming in the future. So keep your eyes out for future videos in
this series where we’ll go over the rest of the words in this list. Here’s playlist, and as I create the new videos,
I will add them there. When will we find our first stressed word
in the 100 most common words of American English? We’ll have to find out. That’s it, and thanks so much for using
Rachel’s English.

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