Accent's Way Magazine

#77

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How to say “Vulnerable”

When I was asked to explain the word vulnerable, I immediately had a vision of myself 15 years back, struggling with this word as I was trying to express myself in a delicate situation.. “I’m feeling vul.. vune.le. re..labol?”

The word vulnerable has some important sounds to discuss like the Schwa and the dark L, and difference between a W and a V.
But mostly, the word ‘vulnerable’ is a beautiful, delicate word that distills the experience of the non-native speaker when struggling to pronounce a certain word.

How to pronounce ‘vulnerable’:

TRANSCRIPT

Hey guys. It’s Hadar, and this is the Accent’s Way.

Poro Shatam asked me to talk about the word ‘vulnerable’. Now, I do not want you to feel vulnerable when saying this word, and this is why I’m gonna explain to you how to say this word clearly and effortlessly. So let’s begin.

We begin with a V sound. To make the V sound, you bring the bottom lip to the top teeth. You release air with sound. [sounds out V]

Now, this sound is very simple for some speakers, but for others – Hi, Russian speakers – this sound is sometimes confused with a W sound. So you may say something like ‘wulnerable’ – ‘wul’, instead of vulnerable.

Now, here’s the difference. To make the V sound you gotta have contact, so the bottom lip must touch the top teeth. [sounds out V] You have this friction sound and you feel the vibration, and it’s tickling a little bit. [sounds out V]

To make the ‘w’ sound, you just round the lips, and there is no contact – your teeth are not involved. [sounds out W] So you do want to have contact here. [sounds out V] x2

Now you shift to the ‘uh’ as is cup, love, fun. A very neutral vowel, it’s also considered to be a stressed schwa. The tongue is pretty relaxed, in the center of the mouth, the jaw drops, the lips are relaxed. ‘uh’, ‘vuh’.

But, then you have an L sound and this is a dark L, so it colors the vowel before. ‘vul’. And it actually sounds like you’re putting a neutral ‘uh’ sound or the ‘o’ as in “all” before the L sound. ‘vul’, ‘vul’.

Then you shift to an N sound and a schwa: ‘vul-nuh-‘. And then another schwa – ‘ruh’, and then another schwa – ‘b’l’. ‘nuh-ruh-b’l’, ‘nuh-ruh-b’l’. Vulnerable.

Now, since the cup sound and the schwa are not that different, then the jaw is pretty much in the same place for the entire word. Vulnerable, vulnerable.

The emphasis is different, because the first syllable is more stressed. So I engage more energy here – vul, it’s a little higher in pitch. Then the rest of the syllables that are soft, lower in pitch and shorter – ‘vul-nuh-ruh-b’l’.

“I’m feeling very vulnerable today.” ‘vul-nuh-ruh-b’l’.

All right, good. Say this word slowly a few times until you get used to the new pronunciation, practice it over and over and over and then use it in a sentence. That’s the only way to make a change and to really get this new word into your system.

All right. So I hope this answers your question, Poro Shatam, and I hope it helps you guys as well.

All right, so 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 to check it out and get more great content.

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

 


The InFluency Podcast
The InFluency Podcast
231. How to pronounce 'Vulnerable'
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