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How to Pronounce Literally

Do you know how to pronounce the word literally?

The word literally is vastly used in English as.. a filler word.

Which means that sometimes people use it in addition to a perfectly structured sentence not because of its literal meaning but for the sake of sounding more ‘natural’, filling in the gaps and buying time to come up with the rest of the sentence.

I’m not a filler word hater like many of my colleagues in the public speaking industry.

As non-native speakers, we sometimes need an additional split second to retrieve a missing word. The fact is that everyone uses it to a certain degree. It’s all a matter of moderation.


I literally use literally in every other sentence.

Hey, it’s Hadar, and this is the Accent’s Way. And today we’re gonna talk about the word ‘literally’.

Literally is one of those literally abused words in the language because people use it not only when they need to use it, but also as a filler word, which is a valid reason for us to practice it to say it correctly, literally.

Let’s start with the first syllable. You start with an L-sound and then it’s i as in sit, it’s not lee-terally, it’s li, li – notice that the L is a little heavier, it’s not super light (lee, lee) but a little heavier, you engage the back of the tongue.

Li, li, this is the first syllable. And also the primary stress so it’s longer and higher in pitch, Li. Then the second syllable is a flat T, which sounds like a D, lida, da, da, but it’s not a strong D. It’s a very, very light D, it’s a very small tap. Lida, da, can you hear that?

Lida and a schwa right after, which is a reduced vowel. Lida, lida, and then an R sound around your lips, bring the tongue up.

Lida rrr, you have to hear this continuous, tense sound, and then a schwa. Lida ra, lida ra, and then you bring the tongue up for another L, lee, and then end it with a high E. Lee, it’s a secondary stress so it’s going to be a little longer than the previous two syllables, the two schwas, literally, ta da ta ta, literally.

All right, that’s it, I’m literally done. And I hope this was helpful and I would literally appreciate it if you literally shared this entire video with literally all your friends. Literally.

Have a great week and I’ll see you next week in the next video.


(blooper beep)
I literally, literally.

I literally used literally– literally used literally in every other sentence.

I can’t speak, literally!

The InFluency Podcast
The InFluency Podcast
63. How to pronounce "literally"

L is one of the challenging sounds for non-native speakers of English. If you want to learn how to make it right, watch this episode.

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