Home / English Lessons / Pronunciation + Listening Practice: wh-questions | Ep. 3

Pronunciation + Listening Practice: wh-questions | Ep. 3

Listen to the audio:

…or watch the video!

Learning the music of English, as well as the way native English speakers transform their speech, is essential to improving your ability to understand English.

Let’s analyze a wh-question to improve your pronunciation and listening skills.

“When did you get it?” (2x)

“When”  

To speak with the music of English, we stress content words that carry meaning in a sentence. Since wh-words, such as “when”, “what”, “why”, etc. are content words, we will say “when” here nice and clearly.

  • “when”

“did you”

When the [d] in “did” hits the [y] in “you”, the [d] + [y] –> “dg” [dʒ].

In English, we de-stress function words that serve as the grammar and structure of a sentence. Because the pronoun “you” is a function word, we can de-stress it and say it as “ya” [yə].

So, “did you” becomes:

  • [Dɪ  dʒyə]

We also connect speech in English, so do not stop and take a breath between “when” and “did”. Simply connect all of the words in the sentence.

  • “When did you”

“get it”

Main verbs carry meaning in a sentence, so in English, we say them nice and clearly. Therefore, we will stress “get”.

Although “it” is a function word, we do not de-stress the last word in a sentence. So, “it” will be said clearly as well.

Because we connect our speech in English, the [t] from “get” connects to “it”.

  • “get  it”

Notice that I said the “t” in “get” more like a [d] than a true [t]. This is because Americans do not add a lot of air to their “t”s in the middle and end of words, which causes them to sound more like “d”‘s.

Note that a British English speaker would aspirate that “t” in “get” and pronounce it as a true “t”, to say something like:

  • “get  it”

This same rule applies to the “t” at the end of “it“. As an American English speaker, I do not release the air at the end of “it”. I simply hold my tongue against my palate, just behind my teeth. So, I start to say the [t] in “it”, but I don’t really finish the sound.

  • “get it”

Got it?

Let’s practice.

Notice how my intonation goes down at the end of this wh-question.

Listen and Repeat

  • “When did you get it?”
  • “When did you get it?”
  • “When did you get it?”

Remember, you do not need to speak this way in order to be understood. However, it is important to learn how native English speakers transform the language so that you can understand them with confidence.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Elemental English podcast on iTunes.

And if this lesson was helpful to you, feel free to share it with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter

ElementalEnglish.com is your resource for free English language and pronunciation lessons, 無料オンライン英語教材, 免费在线英文课程, 免費在線英文課程, मुफ़्त ऑनलाइन अंग्रेज़ी, آنلائن مفت میں انگریزی سیکھئے, Kostenloser Englisch-Unterricht Online, Język angielski online, Học tiếng anh miễn phí, Libreng Pag-aaral ng Wikang Ingles sa Internet, Libreng Pag-aaral ng Wikang Ingles Online, دروس في اللغة الانجليزية على الانترنت مجانا, Lecciones gratuitas de Ingles Americano, cursuri online gratis de limba engleza, เรียนภาษาอังกฤษออนไลน์ ฟรี, American English pronunciation, アメリカ英語の発音, 纯正美语发音, 純正美語發音, अमरीकी अंग्रेज़ी, امریکی انگریزی کا تلفّظ سیکھئے, Amerikanisches Englisch Aussprache, wymowa język angielski, Học tiếng anh miễn phí, Wastong Pagbigkas ng American English sa Internet, astong Pagbigkas ng, تعلم اللهجة الامريكية على الانترنت, American English Online, Pronunciacion de Ingles Americano en linea, pronuntie engleza americana online, บทเรียน การออกเสียงภาษาอังกฤษ สำหรับคนไทย

One comment

Leave a Reply

WordPress spam blocked by CleanTalk.