Episode #12

American Intonation: What They Don’t Teach You In School

00:21:22 minutes long
audio file size: 29.4 mb
  • 12. American Intonation: What They Don’t Teach You In School 00:00

Why is it SO HARD to understand native speakers? And what do you HAVE to know to improve your spoken English and get your point across clearly and confidently?

In this episode, you will learn the 3 fundamentals of American intonation: melody, rhythm, and stress.

You’ll learn how to use melody and rhythm to stress words, you’ll learn the difference between content words and function words, why we need to stress content words and how we reduce function words. This episode will also help you understand native speakers better, as we’ll talk about common reductions and shortcuts (remember that English sounds different than how it’s written).

If you want to improve your accent and understand spoken English better, download my free American Accent audio crash course.

You can also download an interactive list of  50 of the most mispronounced words in English and master the pronunciation of those tricky words.

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8 Responses

  1. Hi, Hadar…
    This is John from Indonesia. My native language is Indonesia. Even though I live in America for roughly one year to pursue my master degree, I am still struggling in speaking. Sometimes it feels embarrassing when I could’t speak fluently when I have a group discussion in class. I wanna be as fluent as yours. I know I wouldn’t make it as perfect as you since my master major is not about linguistic. I am studying education policy and leadership. Can I join your speaking course? How much the cost? It would be a great if you could possibly reply me as soon as possible.

    John Lomi

  2. Hello Hadar! Sou do Brasil – São Paulo – SP – o dragão (schwa) da língua inglesa é um desafio. Mas aos poucos vamos conhecendo e vencendo cada obstáculo. Explicações muito objetivas e sem dúvidas faz toda a diferença no aprendizado. Continue sempre, antecipadamente agradeço os “podcasts”.

  3. Hi, Hadar. That was such a great explanation! I’m Sherif, I live in Egypt and my native tongue is Arabic. Every time I try to apply the aspects of the porosity, I find my self saying, Iy’s just a friendly chat and I think that keeping all this system to the formal situation or an academic presentation. And then I listen to the Americans stressing words and made that adorable music and I feel like, no, it’s important to do it, not like a robot or a man who’s just come from a textbook recording, though. I will do the practices that have been mentioned in episode 23 and I wish I could have an assessment from you, Hadar. Cause you are doing it so beautifully.

  4. 🤩 Hey Hadar! I guess the intonation/melody/rhythm is a kind of result that we’ll get afterwards, once we’ve mastered all these priors elements: stress, pronunciation and reductions. (I’m working on it by reading out loud at the moment).Xx, thanks for the golden tips!

  5. Hello
    Hadar, this is Jaime from Venezuela (currently living Bogotá, Colombia).

    As a Spanish
    native speaker, and being Spanish a phonetic language, I consider English
    Intonation the most difficult and challenging aspect of being fluent and
    confident enough when speaking in English. We have the disadvantage of learning
    English into a two-phases process. First, we have to learn vocabulary and
    grammar (pronunciation, reading, and writing) as well as listening and speaking
    skills. Here is when and where troubles come; intonation changes almost all the
    rules and we get not only confused but also frustrated.

    It is extremely
    difficult to handle the fact that words come easily and, at the same time,
    having to reduce and stress them properly. I think that reading is a powerful
    tool to practice intonation. Thanks a lot and congratulations for the so useful content in this episode!

    1. I think so too but it’s also important to take a step back from the written word in this case. I can’t wait to hear what you think about my new episode. Thanks, Jaime

  6. Hi Hadar, Thank you for your new podcast. Exactly, language is a sort of music. Just one moment got me stuck at the end of the podcast:20:58 ”please share this video with your friends”. Is it a video or audio? I got for audio! Thanks.

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