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How to pronounce ‘Congratulations’

You know, I’ve been a dialect coach for almost 10 years, and while I had mostly focused on pronunciation in my first years, I recently realized that RHYTHM is the real key for ‘getting’ the flow and feel of English.
And sometimes, especially when it comes to long words, applying different rhythm makes pronunciation pretty complicated.

Now, I have a few videos that teach the melody and rhythm of English that will be released in the upcoming few months, but in the meantime,
I’d like to use this pronunciation video – how to say CONGRATULATIONS – to also discuss the rhythm in words.


Hi guys. It’s Hadar, and this is the Accent’s Way, your way to finding clarity, confidence, and freedom in English. Let’s say that your friend is celebrating something, and you want to congratulate them on that event. And you are coming up to them and you say, “Hey, congratu…” and you get stuck. Why? Because it’s a long word, and the spelling does not correspond with pronunciation exactly, and you get frustrated. And then you get in your head and then, you know, why feel that weight?

So, let’s practice the word ‘congratulations’ so you can go ahead and congratulate everyone around you. So let’s begin with a beginning. “k’n” – it’s a ‘k’ sound, a schwa, and an ‘n’, a weak syllable. k’n.

Then you have a secondary stress syllable – ‘gra’. It’s a G sound, an R – round your lips, and open your mouth to the A as in cat: ‘gra-‘, as in the word ‘gratitude’, or ‘graduate’. ‘gra-‘. Then it’s a weak syllable again: ‘k’n-gra-dj’. Although it’s spelled with a T, it’s actually pronounced as a ‘dj’ – a D and a J together – ‘dj’. And a schwa, of course, a weak syllable. ‘k’n-gra-dj-‘.

Then the primary stress of the word: L, and then EI as in ‘day’ – LEI, as in “late” – LEI. And then another weak syllable – ‘sh’n-z’: a ‘sh’, a schwa, and an N – ‘sh’n-z’, a Z at the end. ‘sh’n-z’. ‘k’n-gra-dj’-LEI-sh’n-z’. Congratulations.

Now, another interesting thing about this word is the rhythm, okay? Not every syllable receives the same beat. So it’s not con-gra-tu-la-tions, con-gra-tu-la-tions, but it’s ‘k’n-gra-dj’-LEI-sh’n-z’: short, longer, short, LONGER, short. ta-da-da-DA-da. ‘k’n-gra-dj’-LEI-sh’n-z’. While the LEI is the primary stress, it’s also higher in pitch. Congratulations. “Congratulations on your anniversary”. Congratulations for saying ‘congratulations’.

All right, that’s it. I think we had enough for today. Have a great week, and come on over to my website to check it out and get more great content every single week.

Have a great, great week. And I’ll see you next week in the next video. Bye.

The InFluency Podcast
The InFluency Podcast
119. How to pronounce 'Congratulations'

Did you like it?
Check out the video ‘How to pronounce spontaneous‘ to practice some more the rhythm in long words.


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