Speak FAST English with my #1 FREE Practice Tool!

Mar 18, 2022

Speak FAST English with my #1 FREE Practice Tool!

3/18/2022


(Video Transcript)

 

Get ready to speak fast English!

 

Hi, I’m Julie with San Diego Voice and Accent, and today you’re going to master the speed, fluency, and rhythm of American English with my number one, best practice tool that’s completely free to use!

 

#1 English practice tool: Metronome

Let’s get right to it. If you’re not using a metronome while you practice your English pronunciation, then you’re missing out on an invaluable tool that will help you achieve the rhythm and speed of a native speaker. The techniques that you’ll learn in this video are the same training techniques that I use in my live English class called Julie’s Conversation Club. Join the next live class, and we can practice your English rhythm together!

 

Ok, so in this video, I’m going to use a free online metronome to help me keep the beat as I pronounce words and sentences with different syllable stress patterns. Practice along with me, and the more you practice with this video, the more you’ll start to feel the rhythm of your English and begin to apply what you’re going to learn in this video to other words and sentences that you say every day.

 

American English syllable stress

First, a quick review about American English syllable stress patterns. Spoken American English has stressed syllables and unstressed syllables. Stressed syllables are typically said for a longer duration and at a higher pitch and volume than unstressed syllables. Listen to the words American English. Can you identify the stressed syllables? 

 

American English

 

The stressed syllables should stand out to you - they have more prominence than the other syllables in the word.

 

If we were to put a musical beat to spoken English - actually add beats, like from a drum or a metronome - then the beats would naturally fall on the stressed syllables. All the other syllables, the unstressed syllables, would be squeezed in between each beat. Depending on the word or sentence, you might have to squeeze in anywhere from one to four unstressed syllables between each beat. 

 

That’s where English gets its rhythm - from saying stressed syllables on the imaginary beat, and then squeezing in the remaining, unstressed syllables between each beat.

 

So depending on the word, you might have to speak really quickly to fit all of those unstressed syllables between each beat. So you’ll probably have to use a reduction or a contraction in order to pronounce all of the unstressed syllables between each beat.

 

English rhytym with metronome: Hotel

Let’s get right to the practice. I’ll start with a two-syllable word, then a three-syllable word, a four-syllable word, and one short sentence. I’ll show you the stressed and unstressed syllables on the screen, and then I’ll demonstrate the rhythm using a metronome, and then I’ll increase the speed of the metronome.

 

Practice along with me and force yourself to stay with the beat. Remember, the point of this exercise is to practice the speed, fluency, and rhythm of a word or sentence, not the precise pronunciation of each vowel or consonant, so it’s better for you to stay with the beat of the metronome rather than focusing on pronouncing each vowel and consonant as accurately as you possibly can. That might slow you down; it’s more important to get the rhythm.

 

This is the metronome I’m using. The website is metronomeonline.com, and it’s free to use. You don’t need to make an account; just click the blue “start” button in the center of the metronome to get started.

 

By default, the metronome is set to 92 beats per minute. I’m going to slow it down to 60 beats per minute to start, which is really slow, but start slow and then speed yourself up as you become more accurate with the beat.

 

So you can hear the beat, now let’s look at our first word.



hotel 

 

The syllable stress pattern of this word is ho-TEL, with primary stress on the second syllable, and the first syllable is unstressed. Since the first syllable is unstressed, it needs to be said for a much shorter duration than the second syllable. Hotel. Hotel. It’s not HO-TEL. That doesn’t sound right - there’s too much stress on the first syllable. Keep it short. Hotel.

 

Since the second syllable, TEL, is stressed, it’s going to get the beat, so I’m going to say TEL each time I hear the beat. Practice with me.

 

TEL

TEL

TEL

TEL

TEL

 

Now we have to squeeze in the first syllable, ho, between the beats. But listen to how I do it: hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel. It’s not ho-tel, ho-tel, ho-tel. The syllables aren’t equal length; the first syllable is short, and the second syllable is long.

 

Practice with me: Hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel.

 

Now you try on your own. Remember to keep to the beat.

 

Now let’s speed up the metronome to 80 beats per minute. This is what that sounds like.

 

I’ll keep the metronome playing, and I’ll say the stressed syllable on the beat. Practice with me. TEL, TEL, TEL, TEL, TEL. 

 

Now the full word. Practice with me: hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel.

 

Now you try on your own. Remember to keep to the beat.

 

Now let’s speed up the metronome to 100 beats per minute. This is what that sounds like.

 

I’ll keep the metronome playing, and I’ll say the stressed syllable on the beat. Practice with me. TEL, TEL, TEL, TEL, TEL. 

 

Now the full word. Practice with me: hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel, hotel.

 

Now you try on your own. Remember to keep to the beat.

 

English rhythm with metronome: Banana

Ok, time for a longer word. Let’s try banana. Can you identify the syllable with the primary stress? Banana.

 

The second syllable has the primary stress, and the first and third syllables are unstressed, which means they should be short. 

 

buh-NAA-nuh

 

Since the second syllable, NAA, has the primary stress, I’m going to say it each time I hear the beat of the metronome. And I’ll start it at 60 beats per minute. Here’s what that sounds like.

 

Now I’ll say NAA on the beat. Practice with me.

 

NAA, NAA, NAA, NAA, NAA

 

Now for the full word. Listen to how I squeeze in the first and third syllables between the beats. Practice with me.

 

banana, banana, banana, banana, banana, banana, banana, banana, banana, banana.

 

Now you try on your own. Remember to keep to the beat.

 

Now let’s speed up the metronome to 80 beats per minute. This is what that sounds like.

 

I’ll keep the metronome playing, and I’ll say the stressed syllable on the beat. Practice with me. NAA, NAA, NAA, NAA, NAA 

 

Now the full word. Practice with me: banana, banana, banana, banana, banana, banana, banana, banana, banana, banana.

 

Now you try on your own. Remember to keep to the beat.

 

Now let’s speed up the metronome to 100 beats per minute. This is what that sounds like.

 

I’ll keep the metronome playing, and I’ll say the stressed syllable on the beat. Practice with me. NAA, NAA, NAA, NAA, NAA 

 

Now the full word. Practice with me: banana, banana, banana, banana, banana, banana, banana, banana, banana, banana.

 

Now you try on your own. Remember to keep to the beat.


English rhythm with metronome: Politician

Now for an even longer word: politician. Can you identify which syllable has the primary stress?

Politician. 

 

The third syllable, TIH, has the primary stress. The first syllable, PAH, has secondary stress, but for the purposes of this exercise, we’re not going to give it a beat. 

 

Pah-luh-TIHSH-in

 

That means we have to squeeze in the first, second, and fourth syllables between each beat. 

 

I’m going to say the syllable TIHSH each time I hear the beat of the metronome. And I’ll start it at 60 beats per minute. Here’s what that sounds like.

 

Now I’ll say TIHSH on the beat. Practice with me.

 

TIHSH, TIHSH, TIHSH, TIHSH, TIHSH

 

Now for the full word. Listen to how I squeeze in the first, second, and fourth syllables between the beats. Practice with me.

 

politician, politician, politician, politician, politician, politician, politician, politician, politician, politician.

 

Now you try on your own. Remember to keep to the beat.



Now let’s speed up the metronome to 80 beats per minute. This is what that sounds like.

 

I’ll keep the metronome playing, and I’ll say the stressed syllable on the beat. Practice with me. TIHSH, TIHSH, TIHSH, TIHSH, TIHSH

 

Now for the full word. Practice with me.

 

politician, politician, politician, politician, politician, politician, politician, politician, politician, politician.

 

Now you try on your own. Remember to keep to the beat.

 

Now let’s speed up the metronome to 100 beats per minute. This is what that sounds like.

 

I’ll keep the metronome playing, and I’ll say the stressed syllable on the beat. Practice with me. TIHSH, TIHSH, TIHSH, TIHSH, TIHSH

 

Now for the full word. Practice with me.

 

politician, politician, politician, politician, politician, politician, politician, politician, politician, politician.

 

Now you try on your own. Remember to keep to the beat.

 

English rhythm with metronome: Sentences

Now for a short sentence: This is a short sentence. Can you identify which syllables are stressed?  

 

This is a short sentence. 

 

I chose to stress the first word, this, and the fourth word, short. The word sentence has some secondary stress on the first syllable, sen, but for the purposes of this exercise, we’re not going to give it a beat. 

 

THIS is a SHORT sentence.

 

That means we have to squeeze in the words is and a between a beat, and then the word sentence between the next beat. 

 

I’m going to say the words this and short each time I hear the beat of the metronome. And I’ll start it at 60 beats per minute. Here’s what that sounds like.

 

Now I’ll say this and short on the beat. Practice with me.

 

This, short, this, short, this, short, this, short, this, short.

 

Now for the rest of the sentence. Listen to how I squeeze in the words is, a, and sentence between the beats. Practice with me.

 

This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. 

 

Now you try on your own. Remember to keep to the beat.

 

Now let’s speed up the metronome to 80 beats per minute. This is what that sounds like.

 

I’ll keep the metronome playing, and I’ll say the stressed syllables on the beat. Practice with me.

 

This, short, this, short, this, short, this, short, this, short.

 

Now for the full sentence. Practice with me.

 

This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence.

 

Now you try on your own. Remember to keep to the beat.

 

Now let’s speed up the metronome to 100 beats per minute. This is what that sounds like.

 

I’ll keep the metronome playing, and I’ll say the stressed syllables on the beat. Practice with me.

 

This, short, this, short, this, short, this, short, this, short.

 

Now for the full sentence. Practice with me.

 

This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence. This is a short sentence.

 

Now you try on your own. Remember to keep to the beat.

 

Awesome - nice work! I hope the exercises were helpful! And if you’re interested in receiving feedback on your American English rhythm in my next live English class, join Julie’s Conversation Club! The link to join is below. 

 

Thanks, and have a great day!