ESL PRONUNCIATION EXERCISE: Free Time – American English


In this American English pronunciation video,
we’re going to study American English by looking at a short text. Topic: free time. I call this a Ben Franklin exercise. This
is when you take very good notes, very detailed notes, on what you’re hearing. And then go
back and try to record yourself based on what you’ve written down, the notes. Did you write
down a Flap T, or the way two words link together? After you’ve recorded yourself, compare it
to the original. Did you do everything that you wanted to do? In this video, we’re going
to take notes together. One of my favorite things to do with a free
day is to ride my bike. Sometimes I’ll ride along the Hudson River or in Central Park,
and sometimes I’ll go visit friends in Brooklyn.>>One of my favorite things to do One of my favorite. I definitely here ‘one’
and ‘fav-‘ as being stressed. ‘Of my’ is very quick, very different than ‘one’ and ‘fav’.
Of my, of my, of my. So I’m using the schwa here, and I am giving the V sound: of my,
of my, of my, but it’s very flat and quick.>>One of my favorite [3x] I notice that I’m dropping the middle, unstressed
syllable in ‘favorite’. So it’s not FA-vo-rit, but simply, FA-vrit. Favorite. Favorite things.
And I notice that I am making that a Stop T, I’m not releasing it. I’m going straight
into the TH. One of my favorite things.>>One of my favorite things to do with a
free day [3x] One of my favorite things to do with a free
day … so I notice both the words ‘free’ and ‘day’ have a lot more length than the
others. ‘Things’ is a content word, it is a noun, but it’s more generic than ‘free’ and
‘day’, I think that’s why I didn’t give it as much time. One of my favorite things to
do with a free day.>>One of my favorite things to do with a
free day [3x] I notice, with the word ‘to’, I am reducing
that to the schwa sound. It’s not ‘to do’, it’s ‘t’do’.>>To do [3x] with a free day. Also the article ‘a’, of course, is a schwa.
Now I pronounced the ending TH unvoiced, with a, with a. Sometimes when people link the
ending TH that is unvoiced into a voiced sound, like the vowel schwa, they will voice it and
say ‘with a’. With a. But I left that unvoiced: with a, with a, with a free day.>>with a free day [3x] Is to ride my bike. Ride, bike. Those were
the two longest words in that sentence fragment. Is to ride my bike. I notice again, I reduced
this to the schwa sound. It’s not ‘to’, it’s to, to, is to, is to, is to ride, is to ride
my bike.>>Is to ride by bike. [3x]
Sometimes I’ll ride along Hudson River What did you hear as the most stressed syllables
there? I’m hearing some-, ride, Hud-, Riv-. As you practice your own speech, listen to
it and make sure that you can pick out stressed syllables in a sentence. If you can’t, then
they all sound too much the same. And we’re lacking good rhythmic contrast. So, it’s always
good to study other speech, and to note what do you hear as being the longest syllables.
Usually it will go along with adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and verbs.>>Sometimes I’ll ride along the Hudson River What else do you notice? I notice the ending S here is pronounced as
a Z. Sometimes I’ll ride. Also, did you notice how I pronounced that contraction? I didn’t
say I’ll, I said I’ll, I’ll. So it sounded a lot like this word. In fact, it sounded
just like this word. I’ll, I’ll. I used the ‘aw’ as in ‘law’ vowel. Sometimes I’ll, sometimes
I’ll ride. So, I reduced the contraction, which is already a reduction of ‘I will’,
to I’ll, I’ll, I’ll. Sometimes I’ll ride.>>Sometimes I’ll ride along the Hudson River. [3x]
The Hudson River. The word ‘the’ pronounced with the schwa. Sometimes it’s pronounced
with an EE vowel. That would be when the next word begins with a vowel or diphthong. Here
it begins with a consonant, the H sound, Hudson, Hudson, so it was a schwa. The Hudson, the
Hudson River.>>The Hudson River. [3x] Did you notice how the second and unstressed
syllable of ‘Hudson’ was pronounced? It’s written with the letter O, but there’s the
schwa vowel in there. As an unstressed syllable, it’s very fast, -son, -son, -son. And when
the schwa is followed by the N sound, you don’t need to worry about making a separate
schwa sound. It gets absorbed by the N. -Son, -son, -son, Hudson. The Hudson.>>The Hudson River [3x]
or in Central Park. I notice I did not reduce the word ‘or’, that
can be reduced to ‘er’, Hudson River or Central Park. But in this case I didn’t. I said ‘or’.
Wait, I just realized I missed the word ‘in’. Or in Central Park, or in Central Park. Do
you hear how fast the word ‘in’ is? Or in, or in, or in, or in Central Park. Central.
Stressed syllable of ‘Central’ is the first one. Cen-, Cen-. The second syllable has the
schwa: -tral, -tral.>>In Central [3x] Did you notice? I’m making more of a CH sound
here instead of a T sound for the T in ‘Central’. Cen-tral, -tral, -tral. This can happen when
the T is followed by an R.>>In Central [3x] Park, and sometimes I’ll
go visit friends in Brooklyn. And sometimes. I definitely dropped the D
in that word, and sometimes, and sometimes, reducing the word ‘and’.>>And sometimes [3x] Let’s talk about stress in that last part
of the sentence.>>And sometimes I’ll go visit friends in
Brooklyn. What do you hear as being the most stressed
syllables? Some-, sort of, but even stronger, vis-, friends, Brook-. Verb, noun, noun. The
content words. And did you notice the contraction ‘I’ll’? Again, pronounced with the ‘aw’ as
in ‘law’ vowel, reduced to ‘I’ll’, ‘I’ll’.>>And sometimes I’ll [3x] go visit friends
in Brooklyn. Also, all of these words, as always in a thought
group, were very connected. I had a Stop T here in ‘visit’, so I didn’t bother to release
it, which would have made a little gap in my line. Visit friends, visit friends.>>visit friends [3x] in Brooklyn. Also, the ending Z sound of ‘friends’ linked
into the beginning vowel of the next word, friends in, friends in, friends in, friends
in Brooklyn.>>visit friends in Brooklyn. [3x] One of my favorite things to do with a free
day is to ride my bike. Sometimes I’ll ride along the Hudson River or in Central Park,
and sometimes I’ll go visit friends in Brooklyn. I hope this has given you some ideas on how
to take notes and study the speech of native speakers. Do this on your own. Take video
and audio clips that interest you or that have topics that are important to your field of
work. After you take good notes, record the text yourself and compare to the original
recording. What do you still need to work on, or what did you do well? This is a great
way to improve your pronunciation. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s
English. So this is what I like to do with a free day.
What do you like to do with a free day? Record yourself talking about it, and post it as
a video response to this video on YouTube. I can’t wait to hear about it.

9 thoughts on “ESL PRONUNCIATION EXERCISE: Free Time – American English

  1. good video. could you correct second time you write the word sometimes please?. Your pronunciation is beautiful.

  2. I'm french. My accent is terrible because I have been taught British English at school, and I want to master American one. It's sort of a mix of both with none of the stresses or anything else put in the right place ^^ I'd like to be able to mimic both

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