I know I don’t have to tell you, but English is not known for being the easiest thing to learn. With all the irregular rules, confusing pronunciations, and phrasal verbs, it can sometimes seem overwhelming.
But, if there’s a way to make life simpler, I’m always gonna find it and share it with you, because I want YOUR life to be simpler too.
Today, I’m sharing with you 11 Pronunciation Hacks that will make your English SO MUCH EASIER, and I’m including five of them below.
Hack #1: Don’t always pronounce the TH
The TH is a tricky, tricky sound in English. The good news? You don’t always have to pronounce it in these words! The words ‘clothes’ and ‘months’ are commonly pronounced without the TH sound.
- Clothes: Instead of klowthz /kloʊðz/,
say klowz /kloʊz/.
- Months: Instead of munths /mʌnθs/,
Download the Pronunciation Cheat Sheet to practice it in sentences:
Hack #2: Don’t stick your tongue out fully for the TH in function words
Function words are words that have little meaning on their own, but they glue together words in a sentence. They are reduced in spoken English and not fully pronounced. When using function words such as ‘the’, ‘this’, ‘that’, ‘these’, ‘those’, and ‘them’, don’t stick your tongue out for the TH. Instead, place the tip of your tongue lightly on the back of your teeth, as if you’re pronouncing a D sound on your teeth.
Practice these function words out loud in these sentences:
- I don’t think this cake is the right cake for him.
- I’ve been thinking about them ever since I was at the party.
- I didn’t think that movie was really funny.
Hack #3: Drop the T/D sound between consonants in connected speech
Consonant clusters are when there are many consonants in a word without a vowel in between. They can be very tricky to pronounce, especially if your language does not allow many consonant clusters. This hack will make your life much easier if you struggle with consonant clusters!
The T or D sounds are often dropped when they are at the end of a word in between two consonant sounds. For example:
- Instead of ‘just saying’, say: jus-saying
- Instead of ‘best thing’, say: bes-thing
- Instead of ‘stand with’, say: stan-with
- Instead of ‘next person’, say: neks-person
Hack #4: Drop the H sound in unstressed pronouns
Unstressed pronouns are usually reduced in English. When an unstressed pronoun starts with an H sound, speakers often don’t pronounce it. Therefore, words like ‘her’, ‘him’, ‘hers’, and ‘his’ are pronounced ‘er, ‘im, ‘erz, ‘iz.
- Tell her that she can go.
- Bring her along.
- Can you get him his bag?
Hack #5: You can drop the L sound in some words
The words ‘always’, ‘already’, and ‘alright’ are commonly pronounced without the L sound at the end of the first syllable.
- always: Instead of aal-weiz/ɑlweɪz/,
say aa-weiz /ɑweɪz/.
- already: Instead of aal-redi /ɑlɹɛdi/,
- alright: instead of aal-rait /ɑlɹaɪt/,
For the full list of all 11 hacks with sentences to practice with, I’ve prepared a FREE pronunciation cheat sheet with words and sentences for you to practice on your own. <<Get it here>>
Hey everyone, it’s Hadar. Thank you so much for joining me. Today we are going to do what I really love doing, which is to simplify pronunciation. So, as you know, I like cheating, to be honest, I like cheating. Like not cheating on someone and not cheating people. I like cheating when it comes to learning and to speaking.
Because why work hard if you don’t have to? Why work really hard if you get the same results without investing as much energy into the work? So this is why I wanted to create this episode for you where I share with you this cheat sheet that I’ve been using for years to help my students have an easier time pronouncing hard things.
And all of a sudden, I realized that I’ve never shared it publicly. Like all of those little hacks and tricks and things that I always say when people ask me questions about these words, but I never created this cheat sheet, pronunciation practice with hacks – cheat sheet and hacks, these are good words to practice – with hacks that will make challenging transitions or words feel a lot better when pronouncing them.
So this is it. This is what we have for you today. And also we have a PDF that you can download with all those hacks and examples so that you don’t have to remember it. You don’t have to take notes right now, just listen to the episode and practice along with me. But you don’t have to take notes. I’ve summarized everything for you, and you can download it for free. I’m going to put it in the show notes. So I hope you’re excited, as excited as I am. And let’s listen to today’s episode.
Hey everyone, it’s Hadar. Today, I have 11 hacks for you that are going to simplify your life and your English. Whenever I share these hacks and tips with my students, they tell me, How come I’ve never known about this before? So, make sure you watch this video all the way until the end.
If you’re new to my channel, then hi, my name is Hadar. I’m a non native speaker of English. I’m a fluency and pronunciation coach. And I’m here to help you speak English with clarity, confidence, and freedom. If you want more content and free lessons, make sure you check out my website at hadarshemesh.com. And follow me on social media for English tips every single day.
The first hack is that you don’t have to pronounce the TH in the words ‘clothes’ and ‘months’. This transition is very challenging for non native speakers who don’t have the TH sound in their language. So, to pronounce the word ‘months’, we think that we need to transition between the TH and the S – ‘month-s’. But in fact, people tend to drop the TH here and just say ‘muns’. And instead of saying ‘clothes’ with the TH and the Z, you can just say ‘klowz’, as in ‘close the door’. ‘muns’ – ‘klowz’.
Another TH hack is when you’re pronouncing the TH sound in function words like ‘the’, ‘this’, ‘that’, ‘those’, ‘these’, ‘them’, the secret is that you don’t have to stick the tongue all the way out (the, this, that). You can just place the tip of the tongue on the back of the teeth – the, this, that, or almost pronouncing it like a D on the teeth: the, this, that, those. The reason why we do this is because these words are anyway reduced, and they’re supposed to be pronounced very shortly. And if you focus on sticking the tongue all the way out, you’re going to end up emphasizing this word. And it’s going to take you a long time to transition between the previous sound to the TH, and we want to reduce this transition.
So, when you place the tongue on the back of the teeth, and you pronounce it like a D, it makes it easier for you to pronounce: the car, in this, with that. That way, the focus is not on the TH, it’s a lot quicker and it’s easy for you to pronounce.
Another hack is when the T consonant or D consonant appear between two consonants, especially when you connect words together, you can drop the T or the D. For example, instead of saying ‘just saying’, there is a T there, you can drop the T and connect the two sounds together -> jus-saying. Or, ‘stand with’, ‘stand with them’ -> ‘stan-with them’, ‘stan-with them’, I dropped the D.
‘Best thing’: the T is between the S and the TH. ‘It’s the best thing that ever happened’, I just dropped the T. And it’s really hard to notice it. ‘It’s the bes-thing that ever happened. ‘bes-thing’. Now, the S-TH transition is tricky, but still it’s easier than ST-T-H. ‘Next person’: the T is between the S and the P: ‘nekst person’. Drop the T -> neks-person, neks-person. One less consonant to pronounce.
Another hack is that the H in pronouns, like ‘her’, ‘him’, or ‘hers’ and ‘his’, is dropped when it’s unstressed. So instead of saying ‘Tell her that she can go’ -> ‘tell-er’. Instead of saying ‘Get him his bag’, you can say ‘ged-im’, ‘ged-im’, ‘ged-im-iz-bag’. ‘ged-im-iz-bag’. So ‘him’ and ‘his’ turn into ‘im’ and ‘iz’. Instead of saying ‘bring her’, you can say ‘bring-er along’, ‘bring-er along’. ‘bring-er’. Not ‘bring-her’.
The next hack is that you don’t have to pronounce the L in the words ‘always’, ‘alright’ and ‘already’. It’s not a mistake to pronounce the L, but if you’re struggling with the L, just drop those sounds. Simply pronounce an ‘aa’ sound right before: aa-weiz, aa-redi, aa-rait.
If you’re struggling with the R, the next one is for you. You can drop the R in words like ‘yesterday’. And instead of saying ‘YES-t’r-dei’, you can say ‘YES-tuh-dei’. Instead of saying p’r-TI-kyuh-l’r-lee, you can say ‘puh-TI-kyuh-luh-lee’. ‘puh-TI-kyuh-luh-lee’. And you can also drop the R in KUHMF-t’r-b’l -> KUHMF-tuh-b’l. KUHMF-tuh-b’l. And even in the word ‘for’, when the next word starts with a consonant: ‘it’s fuh me’, it’s fuh them’.
The next hack has to do with reductions and connected speech. The phrase ‘What are you’ and ‘What do you’ sound exactly the same. And this is how you can pronounce it – wa-da-ya, wa-da-ya. wadaya waant? – What do you want? wadaya duwing? – What are you doing? ‘wa-da-ya’.
The next hack is also about connected speech. When a word ends with a consonant and the next word begins with a vowel, the consonant becomes the beginning of the next word. Instead of saying ‘make it’, the K becomes the beginning of the next word: ‘mei-kit’, ‘mei-kit’. ‘All over’ turns into ‘aa-low-v’r’. Instead of saying ‘love her’ – remember, we drop the H in pronouns – luh-v’r, ‘I luh-v’r. And yes, it does sound like a ‘lover’. I’m only -> ai-mown-lee, mown-lee. ‘ai-mown-lee saying that…’ mown-lee, ai-mown-lee.
Do not pronounce the B in words ending with the spelling pattern MB, like ‘climb’, ‘comb’, ‘lamb’, ‘bomb’.
Do not pronounce the O in words that have the WO spelling. Like ‘work’ -> ‘r, w’rk. w’rm (worm), not ‘worm’. w’rth (worth), and w’rld (world).
When we have small function words like ‘and’ or ‘or’ or ‘of’, you wanna reduce it so the vowel is pronounced with a schwa, and then you wanna connect it as if it’s an additional syllable to the previous word or the following word. For example, if we have the word ‘and’, it will be reduced to [‘n], and you want to connect it: bread’n-butter, bread’n-butter. Black or white -> ‘black’r-white’. So really think of it as one word – black’r, and then ‘white’ – black’r-white. ‘couple of weeks’ -> coupl’v-weeks. So I’m connecting it to the previous word – coupl’v-weeks. And in this case, you can even drop the [v] sound and just say coupl’, coupl’-weeks.
All right, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed these hacks. Write them down, remember them. You can also find them on my website, organized for you, so go check it out. And if you have more tips and tricks and hacks, share them in the comments below. Thank you so much for watching. If you enjoyed this video, consider liking and subscribing and sharing it with your friends, family, coworkers, colleagues, and students.
Have a beautiful, beautiful rest of the day. And I will see you next week in the next video. Bye.