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Twenty First Century

You know those phrases or words that you just wish you could avoid?
I’m happy to announce that this will no longer be the case for the phrase
‘Twenty-First Century’.
Because there’s a very cool trick that’ll make your pronunciation of this phrase as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
Watch: How to say Twenty-First Century & Twentieth Century


Hi guys, it’s Hadar.

Today I want to talk about

the phrase “21st century.”

21st century.

And as a bonus, I’m

gonna add “20th century,”

but it’s a bit more

advanced, so we’ll start

with “21st century.”

Okay, so let’s with the word “century.”


This word has two syllables.

The primary stress is on

the first syllable, sen,

and then the second

syllable is ch, ch, chree.


So it’s a ch sound, an R, and a high ee.

Chree, sen-chree.


Okay, so let’s put this on the side.

Then let’s start with the word “twenty.”

As you’ve noticed, I’m not

pronouncing the T here,

because the T after an N is often dropped,

especially in popular words and especially

if I wanna speak fast, so I’m not saying

twen-tee first century,

I’m saying twe-nee.

Twe-nee, okay?

And then first.

For the word “first,” we

wanna begin with this R sound,

so we shift from the F

to the R immediately.

F’R, F’R.

Then we have the S, F’Rs, and then you

abruptly stop the S with a T.


Okay, I don’t need to pop

the T to let the world know

that there is a T there.

Firs-t, no.

Basically a T after an

S is just an abrupt stop

of the S consonant sound, okay?

So listen to this.


I just held the S, okay?

So we have twenty, first, and century.

But the real secret on

pronouncing this phrase

is how to connect the

three words together.

So twenty-first, pretty easy, right?

Twenty-first, ’cause

there is a vowel before

and then to connect it to the

consonant of the word “first,”

twenty-first, that’s pretty simple.

But when you try to

pronounce “first century,”

it may be a bit more

difficult because you get

stuck there, because of the

T, because you have an S

and then a T that you have

to stop your breath with.

F’Rsss, and then another S.

First century.

Now this is the proper

way to say it, however,

and this is what I do,

I just eliminate the T.

I don’t pronounce it.

I disregard it.

I say it fast and I put

the two words together,

combining them with one S.



Twenty-first century.

If I pronounce all the

other words correctly,

and I put the stress on the right word

and the right syllable,

then it doesn’t matter

that I don’t pronounce the T.

It’s super clear, and

it’s actually more fluent

and less choppy.

Twenty firs-T century, right?

That’s not how you wanna say it.


Twenty-first century.

Now say it.

Twenty-first century.

How easy is that, right?

If you just pronounce it with one long S.

Twenty-first century.

Okay, so this is a little trick.

However, when you say “twentieth century,”

that’s a little more difficult because

there is no cheating here, okay?

You have to go through

the transition between

a T-H sound, twentieth, th, th, right?

The tongue is out for the T-H.

And then you have to pull

it in for the S sound.

So let’s look at the main differences

between those two phrases.

So “century” remains the same.

If we wanna say the word “twentieth,”

it starts again with twenee, but then

it has the ending ith, ith.

So basically, it’s twenee,

then you end it with a high ee,

and then you drop your tongue a little bit

to a relaxed i, as in sit.

Twenee-ith century.

You do wanna have that mild

transition in your tongue,

otherwise it’s gonna sound

like twenee-th century,

then it already sounds

like “twenties,” okay,

and that’s a little different.

So you wanna have that shift between

the twenee to the ith.

So if it’s hard for you

to pronounce a high ee

and then a relaxed i,

because it’s very subtle,

just use a schwa there, so

it sounds something like

twenee-uh, and then a T-H.

Twenee-uhth, twenee-uhth, okay?

And then the distinction

between those two vowels

is more clear.

So twenee-y’th, the tongue is out,

then as you breathe out for the T-H,

you wanna pull the tongue in.

Twenee-y’thSSS, make the S a little longer

to make sure you brought inside,

you brought it back home,

and then you’re actually

pronounce a nice, clear S sound.

Twenee-y’thSSSEN-chree, okay, and then you

continue to the rest of the word.

Now I know it’s a difficult transition.

This is why I have a video just about

the transitions between a T-H and an S,

and a T-H and a Z, so

I’m gonna put the link

to this video right

below this video, okay?

So check it out if it’s still

a problem for you, okay?

So let’s try both phrases again.


Twenty-first century.

Now let’s say it really

fast, twenty-first century.

And twenee-y’thSSSEN-chree.

Twentieth century.

Okay, good.

So you have the whole week to

practice these two phrases,

and I want you to let me

know in the comments below

how your practice is going,

and if it’s difficult,

if not, if there is

another issue that comes up

that I haven’t addressed in this video,

so I can help you out and answer you.

That’s it, I hope you enjoyed it.

Thank you for watching.

Please share this video with your friends

so they can also benefit from pronouncing

these phrases correctly, and

come on over to my website

to put your hands on

my list of the 50 most

commonly mispronounced

words in English, okay?

So you can check it out.

Just click on the link

below or here in the video.

Have a great week, thank you for watching,

and I will see you next

week in the next video.


The InFluency Podcast
The InFluency Podcast
242. How to pronounce 21th Century and 20th Century

In the video we talk about s-th transitions. To learn about how to make these transitions smooth, check out the second part of this video.

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