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  • Has this even happened to you? You studylanguage but then you go into the real world with  

  • native speakers and you can't hardly understand  anything? That's what happened to me in Germany  

  • and the Dominican Republic all the time. It was  so disappointing. And if you're studying English,  

  • I've got the exercise for you to stop this from  happening. If you're listening comprehension  

  • is already pretty good, you'll also get tips  on sounding even more natural when you speak  

  • and you might even pick up some slangWe're going to improve your listening  

  • comprehension and your spoken English by going  into the real world here to get a haircut.

  • You're going to hear a short conversationMy sister-in-law is going to cut my hair.  

  • Then we'll do an in-depth analysis of what  we hear which will improve your listening  

  • comprehension and also help give you an idea  of how to sound natural when you speak English.  

  • This is an excerpt from an online course in  my school, Rachel's English Academy and I'm  

  • going to show you how you can build on what you  learn here to build your own American voice.

  • First, let's hear the conversation.

  • Too tight?

  • Uhmmm

  • A little?

  • No. Leave it for now. We'll see.

  • 'kay.

  • If it feels too tight later, I'll let you know.

  • So, do you have a vision?

  • Mm-hmm.

  • What is it?

  • I want to take with your  permission, I'd like to go to here.

  • What do you think David? I don't  know. That might be too much.

  • You should try it. It'll always grow.

  • I know, but in the meantime, what if I hate it?

  • Well, it won't be too short. I think it'll  be good because it's going to have layers

  • and movement.

  • Can you do one inch longer than that?

  • Okay, fine.

  • Okay, thank you.

  • Darn it.

  • Darn it (laugh). I just don't have the balls.

  • Well, but you could grow a set.

  • I know, I could, but I'm too busy feedingbaby and building a business and all that.

  • Yep.

  • And now the analysis

  • Too tight?

  • Too tight? Tight? Pitch going up at  the end. She was asking me a question.

  • Too tight?

  • Too tight? Notice she had a clear  stop T at the end of the word tight.

  • Tight?

  • Tight. So, that sounds different than the  word tie, which has the same sounds only no T.

  • Tight. Tie. Tight.

  • Tight?

  • The word tight is a lot more abrupt  because of this stop than tie,  

  • which has more of a curve in the voice. Too tight?

  • Too tight?

  • Umm...

  • A little?

  • Then she said “a little?” as inlittle too tight? A little? Again,  

  • her voice went up in pitch at the end.

  • Umm...

  • A little?

  • A little? Little is a really  tough word. The double T  

  • is a flap, so it sounds like the American D.

  • It might sound like the R in your  language. Little. Little. Little.

  • A little?

  • It also has a dark L, and when I say this word,  I don't move the front top of my tongue

  • away from the roof of the mouth  between the flap and the L. Little.

  • I go from using the front  of the tongue to the back,  

  • but I don't actually move  the front of the tongue.

  • A little? A little?

  • A little?

  • No. Leave it for now. We'll see.

  • 'kay.

  • No. Leave it for now. Leave it for now. A couple  

  • things to note. How didpronounce the word for?

  • For now.

  • With the schwa. So, the schwa  is absorbed by the R sound.

  • For. For. Leave it for. Leave it for now.

  • Leave it for now.

  • Also, a stop T in it. Less time to pronounce  it. No release. It for. It for. It for.

  • Leave it for now.

  • Leave it for now. Leave it. Leave it.

  • One way that can help you connect these two words  

  • is to maybe think of the V sound  as beginning the word it.

  • Vit. Leave it. Leave it. Leave it for now.

  • Leave it.

  • Leave it for now. We'll see.

  • We'll see. We'll see. We'll seeHow did I pronounce we will?

  • We'll see.

  • The contraction. We'll. We'll. We'll.

  • I made a schwa sound here, and then  the dark L was the dominant sound.

  • We'll. We'll, uhl,uhluhl. Where the back of  the tongue pulls back. We'll. We'll see.

  • We'll see.

  • I don't lift the tip of my tongue  to finish the dark L. We'll, ul.

  • I can leave it down. I'm just using the  back of my tongue to make the dark L.  

  • We'll see. We'll see.

  • We'll see.

  • 'kay.

  • My sister-in-law said a really quick, 'kay. 'kay, 'kay.

  • 'kay.

  • This is short for the word okay.

  • You'll hear it shortened to K a lot. K. K. K.

  • 'kay.

  • Now let me show you what makes exercises  like these special in the academy.  

  • You not only have the analysis but you havesoundboard where you can play with listening  

  • and repeating. As you do this you can really  improve your skills in linking, reductions,  

  • perfecting vowels and developing  a feel of American English.

  • Each conversation is broken down into  little phrases and you can listen to them  

  • over and over doing the play it, say it method  which will really help you sound more natural.

  • Do you have a vision?

  • You can listen at a regular pace.

  • Do you have a vision?

  • And slow motion, this helps you figure out what  exactly is being said, what exactly you hear,  

  • which is so important for the flow of  conversation. So let's just try this now. I'm  

  • going to play this three times. After each timeyou repeat it back just like you hear it.

  • Do you have a vision?

  • I've found when my students work like  this with the play it, say it method  

  • that they're able to make corrections to  themselves without me even saying anything.  

  • Their ears and their mouth, their body just starts working  

  • together to make corrections in a way  that makes them sound so natural.

  • Leave it for now.

  • So if this is something that  looks interesting to you,

  • I'd like to go to here.

  • As a training tool then head  over to RachelsEnglishAcademy.com

  • What if I hate it?

  • Oh, I don't think you're going to hate it?

  • Repeating like this builds those pathways in  your brain, builds your understanding of the  

  • American sound and builds your American voiceNow let's jump back to that analysis.

  • If it feels too tight later, I'll let you know.

  • If it feels too tight later, I'll let you know.  

  • If it feels. The word feels was longer. It had  that up-down swell. If it feels. If it feels.

  • If it feels---

  • The word if was really short. F-feels. F-feels.

  • There was almost no vowel, just a very  quick ---ih, but if I had just said f-feels  

  • and just made the F sound attaching it to the  next word, she would have known what I meant.  

  • Another stop T here, because the next word  begins with a consonant. F-feels. F-feels.

  • If it feels--

  • too tight later--

  • Too tight later. Too tight later. Sounlike the word T-O, which can often reduce,  

  • the word T-O-O never reduces.

  • It will have the -ooh as in boo  vowel. If it feels too tight later.

  • If it feels too tight later--

  • What do you notice about tight? Again, a stop T.  The next sound is a consonant. Too tight later.  

  • Later. Later. How did I pronounce that T?

  • Too tight

  • later.

  • That T was again flap T. Later. Later. Later.

  • Later

  • I'll let you know.

  • I'll let you know. The word 'I'llreduced. So it sounds like the word  

  • 'all'. I'll let you know. I'll let you know.

  • I'll let you know.

  • I think you're probably noticing the strong  -ch sound instead of a T. Let you. Let you.

  • I'll let you know.

  • Let you know.

  • This often happens in American English when the  T sound is followed by the word you or your.

  • Let you know.

  • What else about the word you? The -ooh vowel  was reduced to the schwa. Let you. Let you.

  • I'll let you know.

  • I'll let you know. This is a pretty  common phrase. I'll let you know.  

  • Practice that a couple times.

  • I'll let you know.

  • I'll let you know. I'll let you know.

  • So, do you have a vision?

  • Mm-hmm.

  • So. I kind of drew that word out a little bit.

  • So,

  • So.This is a diphthong. The  OH as in No diphthong.

  • OH. So, make sure that your  lips do move they will round  

  • more. So. For the second half of the diphthong.

  • So,

  • Do you have a vision?

  • Do you have a vision? Do you have a vision?

  • The -ooh vowel in do was very fast. It  could even be interpreted as a schwa.

  • Do you have? Do you have? Do you have?

  • Do you have?

  • a vision?

  • Also, the word 'you' is very fast.

  • Do you have a vision?

  • And it could have been the schwa, but I thinkactually am hearing a real -ooh vowel there

  • although it's fast. Do you have a vision?

  • Do you have a vision?

  • Have a. Have a. Here we have an ending  consonant linking into a beginning vowel.

  • Remember, we're talking about  sounds when we deal with  

  • these rules of linking and  other things, not letters.

  • So, even though the letter E is here, it's  silent. The final sound is the V sound.

  • Have a. Have a. Have a. Sowe can link that really nicely  

  • into the article -ah. Have a vision?

  • Do you have a vision?

  • Vision. Here the letter S makes  the -zh sound. Vision. Vision.

  • Vision?

  • Do you have a vision?

  • Do you have a vision?  

  • And my voice is going up in pitch at the  end. I'm asking her a yes-no question.

  • Do you have a vision?

  • Do you have a vision?

  • Mm-hmm.

  • Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. This is a common  response. Yes. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

  • Mm-hmm.

  • Do you have a response like  that in your language?

  • That's sort of just a grunt that doesn't  even involve opening your mouth? Mm-hmm.

  • Mm-hmm.

  • Mm-hmm. That's a common  one in American English.

  • Mm-hmm.

  • What is it?

  • I want to take with your permission.

  • What is it? What is it? How did we say that  so quickly and link things together?

  • First of all, the T here comes between two vowel  sounds. So, I linked those words with a flap T.

  • What is it? What is it?

  • What is it?

  • And also, the letter S makes  the Z sound in this word,  

  • and the Z did connect into that next word.

  • Zit. Zit. What is it?

  • What is it?

  • What is it? So, we linked all  three of these words together  

  • by an ending consonant to beginning vowel link.

  • What is it? What is it?

  • What is it?

  • Try that with me and follow the same stress  pattern where 'is' is the most stressed.

  • What is it?

  • What is it? What is it?

  • What is it?

  • I want to take, with your permission.

  • I want to take.  

  • I want to take. So, you can probably notice  that she is saying wanna, not want to.

  • I want to--

  • I want to take.

  • So, she's combining these  words, dropping the T sound.

  • Want to. Want to. With the schwa at the  end. I want to take. I want to take.

  • I want to take

  • with your permission.

  • With your permission. She's  hesitating here a little bit.

  • With your permission. With your permission.

  • Because she knows she needs my permission  to do this. Your permission.

  • How does she pronounce the word 'your'?

  • Your

  • permission.

  • It's reduced. Schwa R. Your. Your.

  • Your--

  • permission.

  • Your permission.

  • With your permission, I'd like to go to here.

  • What do you think, David?

  • I'd like to go to here. Okay, a  couple interesting things here.

  • I'd like to go to here.

  • So, she's saying I would like. I'd.

  • She won't do this if I don't give her  permission, but this is what she wants to do.

  • I'd like--

  • So, she's using the contraction  I would to I'd. I'd.

  • I'd like--

  • to go to here.

  • I'd like to go to here. Okay. The word to. It  appears twice. Both times, she uses the schwa.

  • The first time it's a clear  true T. Like to. I'd like to.

  • I'd like to.

  • T-T-T. But the second time you barely  hear it. I'd like to go to here.

  • I'd like to go to here.

  • It's a light flap. So, she made a true T here