vibration


Vibration or no vibration

<<  Back to the exercises

Voiced or unvoiced

larynx

Voice box

This is to help you to understand the different pronunciations of the -ed verb endings.

When we speak we make some sounds with vibration in our voice box (larynx) and some without vibration.

Phoneticians call this “voiced” and “unvoiced”.

Voice box

All vowels and most consonants are said with vibration in English.

Often the vibration is very small so you may not notice it.

A practical exercise:

To feel the difference, put your hand firmly on your voice box at the front of your throat and say:

snake

 

 

 sssssssssssssssssssss


Do you feel the vibration?

bee

 

 

          zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


Do you feel the vibration?

——————– ——————–

The most common pronunciations of the -ed verb endings:

When the verb ends with no vibration, the sound ‘t is added.
When the verb ends with vibration, the sound ‘d is added

Don’t be influenced by the writing: you don’t usually add a syllable when you see -ed.

Here is a table of contrasted English consonant sounds written in phonemic symbols:.

no vibration p k f θ s ʃ ʧ ‘t
with vibration b g v ð z ʒ ʤ ‘d
θ as in thank
ð as in the
ʃ as in she
ʒ as in pleasure
ʧ as in catch
ʤ as in edge

But don’t try to memorise the table, just say “t or ‘d – whichever is easiest.

What about when the verb ends with a t or a d?

These are quite rare.

Well, you can try to say t’t or d’d but it’s not very easy and English speakers don’t attempt it.

They add in a very small unstressed sound: /i /or /ə/.

These are exceptions: the -ed is pronounced as an extra syllable.

In the exercises the ending after a t or a d is written id.

<<  Back to the exercises


The Rhythm of English

metronome

Exercises to practice the rhythm of spoken English

Use the above recording or this Metronome Online for each of the exercises.

If you know how to record your voice on your computer, do so. You could use GarageBand on Mac or Sound Recorder on Windows, for example.

Then you can check if you are really speaking at the same time as the recording.

 

Exercise 1
Start the recording and say, at the same time as the recording:

one – two – three – four – five – six – seven – eight – nine – ten – eleven – twelve

Exercise 2
Start the recording again and say:

one by – two by – three by – four by – five by – six by – seven by – eight by – nine by – ten by – eleven by – twelve by

The words one, two, three, four, etc. must still be said at the same time as these words on the recording.

Exercise 3
Start the recording again and say:

one an’a* – two an’a – three an’a – four an’a – five an’a – six an’a – seven an’a – eight an’a – nine an’a – ten an’a – eleven an’a – twelve an’a

The words one, two, three, four, etc. must still be said at the same time as these words on the recording.

Exercise 4
Start the recording again and say:

a one – a two – a three – a four – a five – a six – a sevenan eight – a nine – a ten – an elevena twelve

The words one, two, three, four, etc. must still be said at the same time as these words on the recording.

Exercise 5
Start the recording again and say:

an’a one – an’a two – an’a three – an’a four – an’a five – an’a six – an’a sevenan’an eight – an’a nine – an’a ten – an’an elevenan’a twelve

The words one, two, three, four, etc. must still be said at the same time as these words on the recording.

—–

Note: “and a” is pronounced with no /d/ and two schwa sounds: /ənə/

* This video shows how to use the metronome: Metronome Online tutorial.

The default is 92 beats-per-minute but try 60 to begin.