Lesson 14 – Pronunciation of unstressed words

Imitation

Repeat after the reader using the same intonation. If you need to, slow down the playback speed or pause after each sentence.

 

Homework answers

Here are the answers from last class’s homework.

 

IPA story dictation

ˈnɛvɚ gɪv ˈʌp
ɪn‿ˈnaɪntin ˈsɛvənɾi ˈnaɪn ə ˈsmɑl ˈpleɪn ˈkræʃt‿ɪn tə ðə ˈmaʊntənz‿əv ˈsʌðɚn kæləˈfɔrnjə
ˈðɪs‿ɪz‿ə ˈstɔri əv ˈdɛθ ˈlaɪf ɛŋ ˈkɝəʤ
ðɛr wɚ ˈfɔr pipəl ɪn ðə ˈpleɪn
ðə ˈpaɪlət ə ˈfɑðɚ hɪz‿iˈlɛvən jɪr oʊld ˈsʌn ɛn ə ˈjʌŋ ˈwʊmən
ðə ˈpaɪlət‿ɛn ðə ˈfɑðɚ wɚ ˈkɪld‿ɪn ðə ˈkræʃ
ðə ˈbɔɪ ˈnu ðəʔ hɪz ˈfɑðɚ wəz ˈdɛd wɛn hi ˈʧraɪd‿tə weɪk hɪm ˈʌp ɛnd‿i ˈwʊdənʔ weɪk‿ˈʌp
ðə ˈbɔɪ ɛn ðə ˈjʌŋ ˈwʊmən ˈhʌɾəld‿ɪn ðə ˈsnoʊ fɔr ˈsɪks‿ˈaʊɚz
ðeɪ wɚ ˈhoʊpɪŋ tə bi ˈrɛskjud bəʔ ˈnoʊwən ˈkeɪm
ðeɪ dəˈsaɪdəd ðeɪ ˈmʌs ˈʧraɪ tə ˈklaɪm ˈdaʊn ðə ˈʧrɛʧɚəs ˈmoʊntən ɔr ˈɛls ðeɪ wʊd ˈfriz tə dɛθ
ðeɪ biˈgæn tə ˈklaɪm ˈdaʊn ðə ˈmaʊntən ɛn ðə ˈwʊmən ˈfɛl ˈtu ˈhʌndrəd ˈmiɾɚz tu‿ɚ ˈdɛθ
ðə ˈjʌŋ ˈbɔɪ wəz ˈlɛft‿ˈɑl‿əˈloʊn
hi wəz ˈhɝt‿ɛn ˈboʊθ hɪz ˈhænz hæd ˈbroʊkən ˈboʊnz

 

Sentence stress

Is ˈthat the ˈboy?
The ˈbooks can be ˈput on the ˈtable.
She ˈlikes to ˈplay ˈvolleyball on ˈTuesdays.
The ˈold ˈgreen ˈcar and the ˈnew ˈblue ˈcar are ˈnot to be ˈsold.
ˈAsk ˈSusan to pick ˈup the ˈletter from the ˈpost office.
ˈRun ˈquickly!
Be ˈcareful on the ˈice so that you ˈdon’t fall ˈdown.
ˈTake ˈtwo ˈeggs from the ˈchicken house and ˈput them in the reˈfrigerator.
Is ˈfather ˈcoming ˈhome to ˈeat with us?
ˈThose are the ˈchildren who ˈhelped me ˈfind my ˈglasses.
Do you ˈknow how to ˈdo it?
Pronunciˈation is ˈnot ˈalways ˈeasy for ˈeveryone.
ˈWhere can you ˈtake it to?
I’m ˈbuying my ˈticket ˈnow.
Do you ˈknow that you ˈwon’t ˈgo?

Remember

  • If you have two nouns, the first one is stressed.
  • If you have a two word verb, the second one is stressed.

Review

Stressed words

  • Nouns
  • Verbs
  • Adjectives
  • Numbers
  • Adverbs
  • Wh- question words
  • Some pronouns (this, that, these, those, myself, himself)
  • Single words

Unstressed words

  • Articles
  • Pronouns
  • Helping verbs
  • Conjunctions
  • Propositions

Pronunciation of Unstressed Words

These are the 10 most common words in English:

  1. the
  2. of
  3. and
  4. a
  5. to
  6. in
  7. is
  8. you
  9. that
  10. it

Notice that all of these words are usually unstressed. (The word “that” can be stressed depending on it’s meaning.)

Vowels in unstressed syllables often change their pronunciation to /ə/ or /ɪ/.

  • delicious
  • reply
  • automatically

The same thing happens in unstressed words:

Word Stressed Unstressed Example
a ə Do you want a good book?
an æn ən Have an orange.
and ænd ən, n,
ɛn
We saw Jack and Jill.
And then what did you do?
are ɑr ɚ Mary and Jane are sisters.
as æz əz You’re as sweet as sugar.
can kæn kən,
kɛn
I can do it.
Can you come?
for fɔr Is this for me?
from frʌm frəm This is from my brother.
have hæv əv We should have waited longer.
has hæz əz, s, z The storm has already passed.
had hæd əd, həd The children had eaten.
of ʌv əv I’m thinking of you.
or ɔr ɚ I want three or four.
that ðæt ðət He is the one that got away.
than ðæn ðən Mine’s nicer than yours.
to tu Go to school.
was wʌz wəz It was good.
the ði ðə He lives in the white house.
at æt ət Come at 6:00.
he hi i Can he come?
her ɚ Give her the phone.
him hɪm ɪm Give him the money.
his hɪz ɪz Is this his book?
them ðɛm ðəm, əm Give them the tickets.
you ju Can you dance?
your jɔr Is your father home?
do du What do you want?
will wɪl wəl, əl, l Class will finish at noon.
would wʊd əd, d Mary would like it.

Words at the beginning or end of a sentence may be pronounced more clearly:

  • Have they come?
  • I don’t want to.
  • I’ll give it to you.

When “the” comes before a word that starts with a vowel, it’s pronounced /ði/ rather than /ðə/.

  • the entrance
  • the ant

 

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