Accent's Way Magazine

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How to pronounce ‘figure it out’

In today’s episode you’ll learn about the secret sound that doesn’t show up in the spelling and a three word phrase that sounds like one.

Watch today’s video cause you don’t have to FIGURE IT OUT yourself:)

TRANSCRIPT

Hey guys, it’s Hadar. And this is the Accent’s Way, your way to finding clarity, confidence, and freedom in English. Today I want to talk about the phrase ‘Figure it out’, ‘Figure it out’. So it’s basically three words, but we are going to treat it as if it’s one word, because that’s how you say it. Figure it out. It feels like it’s one word, but first let’s break it down.

The first word is ‘figure’. And basically, it sounds like you’re saying ‘fig’ and ‘y’r’, as in ‘your house’. So, the ‘fig’ begins with an F sound, and then it’s ‘I’ as in ‘sit’ – ‘fi’. So it’s not ‘feeg’ – ‘fig’. It’s more relaxed, drop your jaw, there should be a space of about one finger between your top and bottom teeth. And then a G sound – ‘fig’.

Then you switch to ‘y’. So, although you don’t have any indication in the spelling that there is a Y sound there. Because it’s ‘y’ as in ‘yes’, there is no Y, but it’s there in pronunciation. Listen: ‘fig-y’r’. So, it’s a ‘y’ sound, a schwa, and an R. So basically, it’s a ‘y’ and an R -y’r. fig-y’r.

And then we have the two words ‘it’ and ‘out’, but we connect it together. So the word ‘it’ reduces to a schwa and a T – ‘t. Since it’s a function word, and function words are usually reduced when they’re not stressed, to a schwa. And if I connect the two words together, it sounds like [fig-y’r-‘t]. Because the R in the word ‘figure’ becomes the beginning of the word ‘it’. So, basically, you’re saying [fig-y’r-‘t].

Now, the T of the end of the word ‘it’ becomes the beginning of the next word. And then, the T becomes a flap T because it’s between two vowels. So I’m not saying ‘figure iT out’, okay? I don’t pronounce it as a real T, I pronounce it as a flap T, which sounds like a D or a very light D. Listen: [fig-y’-r’-daut]. You can check out the session on the flap T. [fig-y’-r’-daut]. Okay? So see how I break it down: [fig-y’-r’-daut].

The ‘out’ sound is basically the /æ/ as in ‘cat’ and then an ‘u’ and a T. Listen: ‘aut’. Now, most non-native speakers pronounce it with /ʌ/, with a back /ʌ/ sound: ‘ʌut’. It’s totally okay. And it’s still going to be super clear. But if you want to sound closer to American speakers, then you want to bring your tongue forward to the /æ/ sound.

So it’s not ‘ʌut’, it’s ‘aut’. And when you connect the words together, it sounds like ‘idaut’. The T at the end is just a held T or a very light T, so you don’t have to overly pronounce it. Figure it out. See, I just hold the air at the end. Figure it out. I have to figure it out. Figure it out.

All right. So your task for this week is to find a situation where you have to use this phrase. For example, “Oh, I have this really big problem at work. I have to figure it out.” And when you say it, make sure that you pronounce it just like the way we learned today. All right? ‘fig-y’-r’-daut’, as if it’s one word.

All right, that’s it. Thank you for watching. Please share this video with your friends, if you liked it. And come on over to my website, sign up to my newsletter to get me in your inbox every single week with great content and free stuff. That’s it.

Thank you for watching. And I’ll see you next week in the next video. Bye.


The InFluency Podcast
The InFluency Podcast
202. How to pronounce 'Figure it out'
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To assimilate it, practice this phrase a few times this week, then find an opportunity to use it when speaking.

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