Roller Coaster English

English Rhythm Intonation StressIf you’re learning English you may notice it’s rhythm and melody are not like your native language (especially true of Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese).

It’s important to learn about expected rhythm, or “perCENT” will sound like “PERson”, and “bamBOO” will sound like “BOMB boo” (just like it did with 2 of my students!)

There are predictable highs and lows in an English sentence. Think of the sentence like a roller coaster.

Many sentences start at a low, quiet pitch and rise when there is a “content word”, usually nouns and verbs or other important words. Learn to give stress to the important words, with longer, louder and higher pitch. The “function words” are not stressed, so they will be low and quiet. English alternates between stressed and unstressed words.

You sentences will be understood if make your rise and fall like Americans. Practice mimicking how Americans speak.

Different Ways We Pronounce T

Different Ways We Pronounce American TIn American English, we have several ways we pronounce T in words, as well as sentences.

Beginning T in a word is always fully pronounced – ten, take, table

T in sentences, or in the middle or end of a word is reduced, and sounds more like a D, or it disappears altogether  –  water = wader, twenty = twenny

T with a Y sound is more like CH – nature + nachur, get you = getchu

Click for a free printable worksheet with T practice words, and click for the audio clip for practice. 

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Learn these different ways we pronounce T in English and you’ll improve your speaking and listening.