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Practice with America Ferrera’s ‘Gloria’ from the hit movie Barbie

Have you seen the movie Barbie? Recently, I went to the theater to watch it with my mom and sister, and immediately knew I had to make a video about it.

America Ferrera’s monologue in the movie Barbie is a great example of how the different elements of speech come together to deliver an important message.

Watch the video and pay attention to where she connects words together, which words she emphasizes, and the intonation she uses when she contrasts between two different ideas.

Listen to the audio version as a podcast here.

TRANSCRIPT

Podcast intro:

Welcome to the InFluency Podcast. I’m Hadar, and this is episode number 350. And today we are going to shadow a monologue from the movie Barbie.

Hey everyone. Thank you so much for joining me for another episode of this podcast. And I am exceptionally excited about today’s episode because first of all, we’re going to do shadowing. Which is a technique that I absolutely love because it connects a bunch of different things: it’s pronunciation work, prosody work, a little bit of acting, a little bit of connecting to your emotions, using someone else’s words to deliver a message. I love doing that, and my students tend to love that too. I hope you like it. And if you don’t, then today is an opportunity to explore whether or not you like it.

When I first saw the movie Barbie coming out, I thought to myself, Ah, you know, another movie idealizing unattainable beauty, and this Barbie doll that I actually don’t like. I don’t like it that my girls play with it, even though it’s like a babysitter, because sometimes when they start playing with it, they can be gone for hours, especially when they have friends over. So, they really enjoy playing with it.

And I remember enjoying playing with it. I remember going to my friend’s house. I think we were in fourth grade or fifth grade, and we would play with Barbie and Ken, and she had this Barbie house that I was very jealous of because I didn’t have one. And, you know, we would play family, and Ken and Barbie would have fights, and then they would make up and, you know, everything was fun and beautiful. And then I would return to my boring life.

So, when I saw the movie Barbie coming out, I said, There’s no way I’m going to go see it. There’s no way my daughters are going to go see it. I didn’t even know what it was about. And then the reviews started coming in and everybody started talking about Barbie being the next big hit. And my friends started going to see Barbie. And I started hearing different thoughts and opinions about the movie. Some say it’s so entertaining and fun, and it has this amazing feminist message, and we love it. And then others were more critical of it and said, No, it actually does a disservice to feminism and we didn’t like it, but it was funny.

And anyway, I was like, okay, I think I need to go see it. So I invited my mom and my sister to come see it with me. Of course, my older daughter got very offended that I’m not taking her, but I actually wanted to spend some quality time with my sister and my mom, because I was away for almost a month. I was abroad, so it was a good opportunity to kind of catch up. And I did not anticipate that Amalia is going to take it the way she had.

But anyway, I picked up my mom and my sister, and we went to see the movie. Now, the one thing I can say, whether or not you like the movie or you didn’t like it, there was some good acting there, it was a lot of fun. And there was one particular monologue that was actually really powerful and was performed really well by one of the actresses, named America Ferrera. Now, I actually already did a shadowing/speech analysis exercise with her because I analyzed her TED Talk cuz it was so good. And then when I watched the movie, I was like, okay, I think I’m going to have to do another exercise with her speech, this time in the movie Barbie.

So that’s what I did. The next day I filmed this shadowing exercise for you. And that’s what I have for you today. So I hope you enjoy it. Now, in this particular episode, or shadowing exercise, I mostly focus on intonation, especially this type of intonation pattern that you use to compare different things. So, you will get to practice that with me today.

You can also watch it on video if you want to see the text in front of you. But I’m also going to link to the script if you want to just listen to the audio and see the script in front of you. So, the link to the script is going to be in the description.

Now, if you get even more excited about intonation after watching this, then just so you know, at the time I’m releasing this episode, I’m going to be running a five day pronunciation training. And a lot of the focus is going to be on intonation, rhythm, stress, and you’ll get to practice a lot more of the things that we discussed today. So even if you join late, it’s okay, because everything’s recorded and you’re still going to have access to the content for a while. So, I’m also going to link to the Pronunciation Made Simple training in the description. All right. So let’s go ahead and practice shadowing with Gloria from Barbie.

Video transcript:

Hey everyone, it’s Hadar. Thank you so much for joining me. Today we are going to practice together the awesome speech of America Ferrera, who plays Gloria in the movie Barbie. And by the way, this is why I’m wearing pink. And I know it’s not as pink as it should be, but that’s the pinkest I could find.

I wanted to share with you the speech because first of all, I thought it was great. I think it really consolidates the experience of being a woman. And this is why it became so viral on TikTok and Twitter. And everyone’s talking about it, you can hear a lot of people talking about that specific monologue. But also in terms of intonation, I think it’s such a great practice because it has so many different contrasting ideas and it’s a great opportunity to practice your intonation, connected speech, and pronunciation when working on this awesome monologue. I think you’re going to have fun. Are you ready? Let’s get started.

“It is literally impossible to be a woman.”

‘It is literally impossible to be a woman’. Let’s break down the word ‘literally’: li, duh – flap T, ruh, lee. Round your lips for the R. ‘li-duh-ruh-lee’. ‘It is literally impossible to be a woman’. The word ‘impossible’ is stressed, so you want to try and stretch it a little bit and raise your pitch. ‘It is literally impossible to be a woman’.

“You are so beautiful and so smart”.

‘You are so beautiful and so smart’. So here we wanna try and stress the word ‘so’ to emphasize what it is that she’s saying. ‘You are so beautiful and so smart’.

“And it kills me that you don’t think you’re good enough”.

‘And it kills me that you don’t think’, ‘you don’t’, ‘you don’t’, the D is flap and you connect it together – ‘yuw-downt’. ‘you don’t think’, stick the tongue up for the TH: ‘you don’t think you’re good enough’. good, good, good enough, you don’t think you’re good enough.

“Like, we have to always be extraordinary.”

‘Like, we have to always be extraordinary’, extraordinary. The primary stress is the OR vowel – extraORdinary, so you want to stretch it a little bit.

“But somehow we’re always doing it wrong.”

‘But somehow we’re always doing it wrong’. Let’s do that last part again. ‘But somehow we’re always doing it wrong’. A quick tip about the word ‘always’: you don’t have to pronounce the L sound if it’s tricky for you – ‘aa-weiz’, just an open ‘aa’ sound, ‘aa-weiz’.

And now we start the part in the speech where she contrasts two different ideas within the same sentence. And I want you to pay close attention to the intonation pattern she uses: one idea in comparison to another idea. It’s called to juxtapose ideas. To juxtapose means to put closely together two contrasting ideas for comparison.

So for example, in the sentence we’ve just read, the idea of being extraordinary, but also we’re always doing it wrong. Okay? Being extraordinary and doing it wrong. So two ideas, one in front of another. Let’s move on to the next sentence and pay attention to this idea.

“You have to be thin, but not too thin. And you can never say you wanna be thin. You have to say you wanna be healthy, but also you have to be thin.”

‘You have to be thin, but not too thin’. One versus another. ‘You have to be thin’ – stick the tongue out for the TH, ‘but not too thin’. Right? Can you see the two ideas? Thin, but not too thin.

“And you can never say you want to be thin. You have to say you want to be healthy.”

‘And you can never say you want to be thin. You have to say you want to be healthy’. So we have ‘thin’ versus ‘healthy’. So there is a lift in pitch when we say ‘thin’ – one idea, versus another idea – ‘healthy’. thin. thin – healthy. So let’s read that part again. ‘And you can never say you want to be thin, you have to say you want to be healthy’.

But then she adds: “but also you have to be thin”. ‘But also you have to be thin’. Right? So she compares: not too thin, be healthy, but also you have to be thin. So, the emphasis is on the idea of being thin.

Before we move on to the next sentence, I want you to read out loud what we’ve already practiced.

The next part: “You have to have money, but you can’t ask for money, because that’s crass.”

‘You have to have money, but you can’t ask for money, because that’s crass’. So here we’re comparing ‘have’ versus ‘ask’: you have to have money, but you can’t ask for money. By the way, you can also say ‘b’t-chyuw-kent’ in contemporary American English. So the T and the Y connect together, and then what you hear is a CH sound – b’t-chyuw-kent.

‘but you can’t ask for money because that’s crass’. Crass, by the way, is an act that lacks refinement or that is insensitive or doesn’t have class. Okay? So that’s what she means. Like you can’t ask for it ’cause it’s not cool.

Next up, now let’s see how she’s comparing those two different ideas. “You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean.”

‘You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean’. ‘boss’ versus ‘mean’. ‘You have to be a boss’, ‘hafta’. ‘You have to be a boss’, aa as in ‘father’ in American English. ‘You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean’. ‘mean’, right?

So even though ‘mean’ is not high in pitch, it’s still stressed because it’s emphasized. It’s longer, more volume, which is another way for us to stress words in English. ‘You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean’.

“You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas.”

‘You have to lead’, ‘hafta’, ‘You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas’. Squash, squeeze, demolish. ‘squash other people’s ideas’. other people’s, other people’s, other people’s ideas.

So, let’s compare it. ‘You have to lead’ – stressed, ‘but you can’t squash other people’s ideas’. So, the stressed words are ‘lead’, ‘squash’, ‘ideas’. ‘You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas’.

Now, notice the rhythm here. The stressed words are the emphasized words, and that determines the rhythm of the sentence, right? ‘You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas’. And the words that appear between those stressed words, they have to fit in the rhythm, whether it’s one word or five words.

Notice this: ‘you have to lead, but you can’t squash’; but-you-can’t – so I’m reducing it to fit into the rhythm. ‘You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas’. other people’s, other people’s, other people’s, right? These words are not stressed, so I’m going to say them faster, I’m going to reduce whatever I can reduce so it can fit the rhythm. ‘You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas’. Let’s do it again. ‘You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas’. Good. Now you.

Next: “You’re supposed to love being a mother, but don’t talk about your kids all the damn time.”

‘You’re supposed to love being a mother, but don’t talk about your kids all the damn time’. ‘Love’, ‘don’t talk about your kids’. ‘Love being a mother’, ‘don’t talk about your kids all the damn time’. Right? So let’s compare that again. ‘You’re supposed to love being a mother, but don’t talk about your kids all the damn time’.

“You have to be a career woman, but also always be looking out for other people.”

‘You have to be a career woman, but also always be looking out for other people’. ‘have to be a career woman, but also always be looking out for other people’. ‘Looking out’, ‘looking out’. ‘Looking out’ is considering the feeling of other people or taking care of them, or making sure they’re okay. Looking out, looking out, looking out, stress on ‘out’. Now you.

“You have to answer for men’s bad behavior, which is insane, but if you point that out, you’re accused of complaining.”

‘You have to answer for men’s bad behavior, which is insane, but if you point that out, you’re accused of complaining’. ‘complaining’. Okay, so here we have ‘you have to answer for men’s bad behavior’. So that’s one part. men’s, men’s, bad, ‘men’s bad behavior’. And then there is a part where she states her opinion, so it kind of like changes the intonation a little bit. ‘Men’s bad behavior’, right, one idea.

‘which is insane’, here you can go down in pitch. ‘but if you point that out, you’re accused of complaining’. Okay? ‘complaining’. Stress on ‘complaining’. Now you.

The next part: “You’re supposed to stay pretty for men, but not so pretty that you tempt them too much or that you threaten other women because you’re supposed to be a part of the sisterhood.”

‘You’re supposed to stay pretty for men’. ‘You’re supposed to stay pretty’, ‘pretty’, ‘pretty’, ‘pretty for men’. ‘but not so pretty’, do it with me again, ‘but not so pretty that you tempt them too much or that you threaten other women’. ‘Tempt’, ‘tempt’, you don’t really hear the P here – [temt]. ‘tempt them too much, or that you threaten other women’, ‘women’, ‘women’, ‘because you’re supposed to be a part of the sisterhood’.

Let’s say that all together, connect all the words together in connected speech. ‘Because you’re supposed to be a part of the sisterhood. of the, of the, of the, of the sisterhood, sisterhood, sisterhood, of the sisterhood. Now you.

The next part. “But always stand out and always be grateful.”

‘But always stand out and always be grateful’. stand out, stand out – stick out, be noticeable. Stand out is another phrasal verb, and in phrasal verbs, we stress the second part: stand OUT, stand OUT. ‘But always stand out and always be grateful’.

“But never forget that the system is rigged.”

‘But never forget that the system is rigged’. ‘Rigged’ is manipulated or dishonest, in a dishonest way, like rigged elections. ‘But never forget that the system is rigged’. Try to connect all the words together: but-never-forget-that-the-system-is-rigged. ‘But never forget that the system is rigged’.

“So find a way to acknowledge that but also always be grateful.”

‘So find a way to acknowledge that but also always be grateful’. Now you.

Okay, the next part, I’m going to need my phone for that, the next part feels like one long sentence, that one idea builds on top of another. So also I want you to pay attention to what you can do with your intonation to distinguish one phrase from another.

“You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line.”

Let’s do it together. ‘You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off’. Show off – another phrasal verb, ‘off’, ‘show off’. ‘never be selfish’. Now, to make sure that it’s not repetitive, make sure that each phrase is a little different in terms of the musicality, intonation, and pitch. Try to be varied. Let’s do it again.

‘You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, and never get out of line’. ‘Out of line’ is like not following the rules or not doing what is expected to be done. Okay, so now you try it. Try to make each phrase slightly different in pitch.

Okay, next part. “It’s too hard! It’s too contradictory and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you!”

‘It’s too hard. It’s too contradictory’. Let’s break down this word: kaan-truh-dik-tuh-ree. Contradicting itself. Contradictory. Contradictory. Contradictory. “It’s too hard. It’s too contradictory, and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you’. ‘And nobody gives you a medal’; medal, notice the D, it’s really light, it’s like a flap T: medal, medal. ‘or says thank you’.

And the next part, this is a long sentence, so we’re going to take a deep breath and say all the sentence, the entire sentence, on one breath.

“And it turns out, in fact, that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault.”

‘And it turns out, in fact, that not only you are doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault’. Let’s do it again. Read it with me, and we’re going to do it slowly. ‘And it turns out, in fact, that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault’. Now you try it.

So now we’re getting to the last part.

“I’m just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us.”

Let’s take a deep breath. ‘I’m just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us’. So sometimes when we want to emphasize something, we just separate the words. We don’t use regular connected speech and every word is somewhat stressed. All right, now you do that last part.

All right, that’s it. If you want to see the full script, click the link below and it’ll take you to my website where I put the entire script there for you to practice with. And I recommend using it on the go. You can also listen to it as a podcast, I’m going to link to it in the description so you can practice along with me and with this awesome, wonderful, insightful monologue.

Alright, I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, make sure you like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. You can also check out my website at hadarshemesh.com for more content for you to speak English with clarity, confidence, and freedom.

Thank you so much. Have a beautiful, beautiful rest of the day. And I will see you next week in the next video. Bye.


The InFluency Podcast
The InFluency Podcast
350. Practice your English with Barbie - America Ferrera’s Monologue
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Monologue Transcript:

It is literally impossible to be a woman. You are so beautiful, and so smart, and it kills me that you don’t think you’re good enough. Like, we have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong.

You have to be thin, but not too thin. And you can never say you want to be thin. You have to say you want to be healthy, but also you have to be thin. You have to have money, but you can’t ask for money because that’s crass. You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean. You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas. You’re supposed to love being a mother, but don’t talk about your kids all the damn time. You have to be a career woman but also always be looking out for other people.

You have to answer for men’s bad behavior, which is insane, but if you point that out, you’re accused of complaining. You’re supposed to stay pretty for men, but not so pretty that you tempt them too much or that you threaten other women because you’re supposed to be a part of the sisterhood.

But always stand out and always be grateful. But never forget that the system is rigged. So find a way to acknowledge that but also always be grateful.

You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line. It’s too hard! It’s too contradictory and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you! And it turns out in fact that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault.

I’m just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us. And if all of that is also true for a doll just representing women, then I don’t even know.


How did you do? Let me know in the comments!

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