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PHONETICS Essential Elements of English Pronunciation

Learn English with Zak Washington

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This week's English language lesson asks

WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION?

and we also answer the question

WHAT CAN I LEARN THAT WILL IMPROVE MY ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION WITH LITTLE OR NO EFFORT?

 


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Our first video explains about the schwa which is the #1 sound in English.

It is a weak, unstressed sound and it occurs in many words. It is usually the sound in function words (grammar words) like articles (the, a and an) and prepositions (of, for, to, etc.)

 

Pronouncing the schwa sound correctly is the real secret of making your pronunciation sound more accurate and natural.

The phonemic symbol for this sound is /ə/ .

 

Now watch the video and listen to the examples:

ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION: #1 SOUND IN ENGLISH (ZakWashington Video tutorial - Part 1)

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Unstressed syllables

Any vowel letter (A E I O U) can be pronounced as the schwa. It just depends if it is the UNIMPORTANT or UNSTRESSED part.

 

In the word 'man' the letter 'a' has its full sound - represented by the symbol /æ/.

In 'postman' the syllable 'man' is not stressed and the letter 'a' is pronounced as schwa, represented by the symbol .

 

Over to you!

Exercise 

 

Look at the word list below and practice them. Check them with the pronunciation on www.wordreference.com

list of words containing the schwa pronunciation

What does vintage women's underwear and English pronunciation have in common? Watch the video and find out. 

ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION: VIDEO TUTORIAL (Part 2)

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Over to you! Now practice saying these schwa words out loud. 

  • about
  • taken
  • memory
  • supply
  • emphasize
  • vitamin
  • celebrate
  • president
  • occur
  • campus
  • cut
  • love
  • sun
  • truck
  • stuff
  • salad
  • balance
  • assume
  • agree
  • problem

Now watch the video tutorial. 

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Don't miss our next Libertarian Linguistics English Language Social Club event

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Next Libertarian Linguistics English Language Social Club event:

The next gathering will be a WINE TASTING IN ENGLISH on Tuesday 11th February 2020 at Messer Vino in the centre of Varese.

Free entrance and participation, with an apericena for 15 euros consisting of 3 glasses of wine and 5 Venetian-style bread rolls per person! 19:00 – 23:00 hrs.

For those of you who don’t know, the English Language Social Club meets once a month - it's a non-profit community open to anyone with no official membership – all are welcome in the true anarchist tradition.

All we ask in return is participation with comments, watch time, shares and likes on our Learn English with Zak Washington Youtube channel!

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