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  • Today you're transforming your spoken English by studying a scene from a movie,

  • The Art of Self-defense, with me. When you study this way, you'll be able to understand American movies

  • and TV effortlessly without subtitles.

  • Today, we're really going to study how Americans shape their phrases.

  • We're going to study what happens with volume, pitch, and vocal quality.

  • This can really quickly impact how natural you sound speaking English.

  • A gun to-- So, the vowel almost always reduces here to the schwa.

  • We're going to be doing this all summer, June through August, stick with me every Tuesday,

  • they're all great scenes and there's going to be so much to learn

  • that can transform the way you speak and understand English.

  • And as always, if you like this video, or you learn something, please like and subscribe with notifications.

  • You're going to watch the clip, then we're going to do a full pronunciation analysis together.

  • This is going to help so much with your listening comprehension,

  • when it comes to watching English movies in TV.

  • But there's going to be a training section you're going to take what you've just learned,

  • and practice repeating it, doing a reduction, flapping a T, just like you learned in the analysis.

  • Okay, here's the scene.

  • There is a waiting period before you can legally purchase this gun.

  • Oh.

  • So, a person who's upset with another person can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • Instead, they have to wait a little while before they can do that.

  • Do you have any children?

  • No, I don't. Just a dog.

  • Good.

  • And now the analysis.

  • There is a waiting period before you can legally purchase this gun.

  • It's a pretty long thought group here to begin. What do you feel is the most stressed syllable there?

  • What has the most volume?

  • There is a waiting period before you can legally purchase this gun.

  • There is a waiting period before you can legally purchase this gun.

  • There is a waiting period before you can legally purchase this gun.

  • Definitely feeling that on the word waiting. There is a waiting period.

  • So that would just be the first syllable, not the second syllable, just the stressed syllable,

  • and that does have a flap T in it. Waiting, waiting, because the T comes between two sounds

  • that are vowels or dipthongs. Waiting. There is a waiting period.

  • There is a waiting period.

  • He even does a gesture on that stressed syllable. So why does it matter?

  • Stressed syllables are what give us our anchors in American English, so

  • it's really important to have that contrast. We have those stressed, more clear, bigger syllables,

  • compared with smaller, less important, more quickly said syllables. There is a, there is a, there is a.

  • There is a,

  • That has a really different feel than way, there is a way, and that contrast is important.

  • Let's look for other syllables in this thought group that have a little bit more length, that are stressed.

  • There is a waiting period before you can legally purchase this gun.

  • There is a waiting period before you can legally purchase this gun.

  • There is a legally purchase this gun.

  • Before you can legally purchase this gun. I feel some more stress there.

  • Legally purchase this gun.

  • Legally purchase this gun.

  • Legally purchase this gun.

  • Legally purchase this gun.

  • But the other syllables are said pretty quickly. We've already studied 'there is a' which becomes:

  • There is a, There is a. See if you can practice that, simplifying your mouth movements as much as possible.

  • There is a, There is a, There is a.

  • You should be able to do that without moving your mouth very much.

  • There is a...

  • So after our stressed syllable 'wait', we have a bunch of unstressed syllables.

  • The unstressed syllable of that word: ting, ting, ting, ting period before you can,

  • ting period before you can, ting period before you can. Again, you have to simplify your mouth movements.

  • Make them minimal.

  • Waiting period before you can,

  • And let's notice that we have a reduction here, the word can, is not said fully pronounced,

  • it's reduced to the schwa. And the schwa gets absorbed by the N and is called a syllabic consonant.

  • So you don't even need to try to make a vowel here.

  • It's just the K sound and the N sound: kn, kn, before you can, before you can, before you can.

  • Before you can,

  • And we don't want any breaks between our words here.

  • Waiting period before you can.

  • Right from the D sound, I'm not releasing it that would be period, period, but I'm going period,

  • right from the D into the B, no release, we want that smoothness,

  • that continuous sound linking in American English.

  • Period before you can,

  • legally purchase this gun.

  • Now let's look at just the last three words, and let's listen to that rhythm.

  • Legally purchase this gun.

  • It kind of starts to take on the feeling of a song doesn't, it? Da-da-da-da-da-da-da.

  • Legally purchase this gun. Legally purchase this gun. Uuuuhhh--

  • with this up-down shape, when we have a more stressed syllable, and then coming down in energy and

  • pitch on an unstressed syllable. Legally purchase this gun. You might want to think about English,

  • American English, as singing, might help you link things together, might help you focus on the melody and

  • the rhythm of the language, and in ways that is maybe different from your own native language.

  • Legally purchase this gun.

  • Legally purchase this gun , legally purchase this gun, legally purchase this gun.

  • And of course, when we speed it up it, doesn't really sound like a song, it does feel like speech.

  • Legally purchase this gun.

  • Legally purchase this gun ,

  • Notice how quickly I'm saying the word 'this'. It's not 'this', it's: legally purchase this,

  • purchase this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, saying it quickly with simplified mouth movements.

  • It's an unstressed word it does not need to have length. It shouldn't have length.

  • Because then we don't get the contrast that we need.

  • We have to have short syllables so we have contrast.

  • Purchase this..

  • gun.

  • Oh.

  • And then he says so quietly, Oh, Oh, oh, oh, little up-down shape, he blinks his eyes twice, he looks nervous.

  • I love this actor. I think he does vulnerability so well.

  • Oh.

  • So, a person who's upset with another person can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • So now we have a very long thought group. What is a thought group? It's an utterance between pauses.

  • For example, this guy could have said: So, a person who's upset with another person,

  • can't come in here and buy a gun, to shoot that person with.

  • Did you hear how I put all of those breaks in? So, a person who's upset with another person,

  • so there I made a break here, making so its own thought group, I made a break after person,

  • making this line its own thought group,

  • but he just kept going, he didn't put in any breaks, so it's a long thought group.

  • So, a person who's upset with another person can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • So, a person who's upset with another person can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • So, a person who's upset with another person can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • I'm just gonna take the first part of it through here,

  • let's look at our most stress syllables definitely we have so, so.

  • So--

  • a person who is upset with another person---

  • So a person who is-- I'm actually not gonna write that as a contraction, I do feel it is another syllable.

  • If it was a contraction, it would be one syllable, who's.

  • If it's not a contraction, its two syllables, who is, who is, who is, who is, who is.

  • There's a little difference and I do feel like I hear that as its own syllable, as its own word.

  • Who is up-

  • So a person who is upset with another person,

  • a little bit of stress on other, definitely some stress on per-- our stressed word, person.

  • So a person who is upset with another person---

  • So a person who is upset with another person---

  • So a person who is upset with another person---

  • Also some stress on upset. Upset. Upset. Second syllable stress on that word.

  • So a person who is upset with another person-- notice we have a stop T here in upset.

  • Upset with, upset with, that little pause, that little break is a stop T, we stopped the air in our vocal cords,

  • upset with, and that to us, gives us the feel of the T even though it's not released.

  • And the reason why it's a stop T is because the next word begins with a consonant.

  • Upset with--

  • And everything really links together, there are no breaks. So a person, here, the word a, the article a,

  • is just a schwa, it's its usual pronunciation, and it links the words together so a per-- so a per-- no break

  • so a person who is upset with another person.

  • So a person who is upset with another person--

  • So a person who is upset with another person--

  • So a person who is upset with another person--

  • See if you can do that with no breaks, slow it down if you have to, really feel uuhhhhh, a slower glide up and down.

  • We don't want abrupt changes in pitch. It's usually a glide up or a glide down.

  • So a person who is upset with another person--

  • So a person who is upset with another person--

  • So, a person who's upset with another person can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • Okay let's look at the second half of this thought group.

  • Can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • Can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • Can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • Now, the whole second half here is quieter, isn't it?

  • The general trend of a phrase in American English is we start louder and higher in pitch in general,

  • and throughout the sentence, we lose some volume and some vocal energy and the pitch tends to go down.

  • And so here, it's a long phrase and the whole second half of it is quieter.

  • Here we have the actual volume of that phrase, and you can see how the first half has more higher peaks

  • and the second half is in general quite a bit lower, and then really tapers down at the end.

  • Let's listen to that phrase and pay attention to the volume as you listen.

  • So, a person who's upset with another person can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • And this is a really important part of American English. We want to have that feel of bigger at the beginning,

  • and then fading a bit at the end. Shaping your phrases like that will help you sound a lot more natural.

  • A lot of my most advanced students still have to do this.

  • They still have to figure out how to take out some of the energy and

  • volume at the end and let the pitch come down,

  • so that it really falls off a little bit and gives it the more natural shape to phrases.

  • Let's listen to this one more time and again, watch the volume here at the bottom,

  • and really pay attention to what you hear and think about how you can shape a phrase like this.

  • So, a person who's upset with another person can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • So now let's go ahead and look at what words do have a little bit more length,

  • what syllables have a little bit more length in this second half of the thought group.

  • Can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • Can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • Can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • Can't come in here-- little stress on in, can't come in here and buy a gun shoot to that person with.

  • I think those are our peaks of stress here. Shoot being the most stressed.

  • Can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • Can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • Can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • Now let's just listen to: can't come in.

  • Can't come in.

  • Did you notice the stop T here?

  • N apostrophe T has a couple different pronunciations, and one of them is with a stop,

  • a little break, can't, can't, can't come, can't come,

  • and that's how he pronounced this N apostrophe T contraction.

  • Can't come in,

  • here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • Can't come in here and-- in here and-- The word 'and' sounds sort of like in, this is common when we reduce it.

  • We drop the D, we reduced the vowel to the schwa, which sounds to me a lot like the IH vowel

  • like in the word in, when it's unstressed. Can't come in here and-- can't come in here and buy a--

  • So maybe if you think of the word and as in,

  • that might help you reduce it as you say it quickly and link it to the words around it.

  • Can't come in here and buy a--

  • Can't come in here and buy a--

  • Can't come in here and buy a gun to shoot that person with.

  • Buy a gun. Again just like up here with 'so a person', 'buy a gun', it's just a quick schwa that

  • we glide through between those two words to link. Buy a gun. Buy a gun.

  • Buy a gun.

  • And now let's listen to the reduction of the word 'to'.

  • A gun to shoot,

  • It's not to, is it? It's: a gun to, a gun to, so the vowel almost always reduces here to the schwa.

  • The T can be a true T or a flap T, which can sound like a D, and that's what happens here. Gun to--

  • gun, your tongue is already at the roof of the mouth for the N, gun to-- and rather than making a T,

  • we make a D and release it into the schwa. Gun to-- gun to-- buy a gun to--

  • It's just another way to smooth that word out. You don't have to do it. He could have said: gun to-- gun to-- gun to--

  • What's really important is that we do do the schwa reduction,

  • that is something you need to do in order to sound natural.

  • And you know what, why not try it with that D sound? Buy a gun to-- buy a gun to--

  • Buy a gun to--

  • It's also important that it feels shorter, and that it's less stressed. Make that as quick as you can. Da,da, da.

  • So it shouldn't be DA, it should be the: duh, duh. Gun to-- Gun to shoot. \

  • Gun to shoot.

  • Just like with upset the T in shoot is a stop T

  • because the next word begins with a consonant let's just listen to the last four words of this phrase.

  • Shoot that person with.

  • Shoot that person with.

  • Shoot that person with.

  • So the stop T is really subtle, but I would definitely say it's not totally dropped. Shoot that, shoot that.

  • Shoot that.

  • Shoot that. And another stop T at the end of that. Shoot that. Shoot that person with.

  • Now, do you notice, what is happening with his voice in these last four words?

  • Shoot that person with.

  • Shoot that person with.

  • Shoot that person with.

  • They all have a popcorn quality in the voice. Shoot that person with.

  • Uhhhh. We have that in the voice as he speaks. Now, it's not that way at the beginning:

  • So a person,

  • But it is that way at the end.

  • Shoot that person with,

  • This is part of that shape of the phrase that I've been talking about.

  • More energy, more volume at the beginning, lower energy, lower volume,

  • also lower in pitch towards the end, and that does bring in that popcorn quality.

  • You would never want to speak that way all the time. So a person who's upset with another person.

  • That is not good or clear English at all. But when it comes into your voice a little bit at the end,

  • that's a good sign. That's a sign that you're taking the energy out at the end of the phrase,