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Blog criado por Bruno Coriolano de Almeida Costa, professor de Língua Inglesa desde 2002. Esse espaço surgiu em 2007 com o objetivo de unir alguns estudiosos e professores desse idioma. Abordamos, de forma rápida e simples, vários aspectos da Língua Inglesa e suas culturas. Agradeço a sua visita.

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terça-feira, 10 de março de 2015

How to Pronounce 'to the' in a Sentence.

These two words will be very low in pitch and connected. They should be said very fast. In fact, when said correctly, you can articulate these two words without moving the lips or jaw!

In this American English pronunciation video, we're going to talk about how to reduce and link the word 'to' and 'the' together, in a sentence, like this: to the.

I've spent quite a bit of time in my videos talking about reduction and linking. And today, I want to take the specific case of linking the words 'to' and 'the', and talk about how to simplify the mouth movement when we're reducing these words, linking them, and making them very, very fast.

The first thing I want to point out, is that there doesn't have to be any movement in the lips or the jaw: we can articulate this with just the tongue. To the. So, what are we doing here? The word 'to' will reduce to either the true T-schwa sound, or the flap T-schwa sound. But for both of them, the tongue position will be the same. So the tongue tip is up at the roof of the mouth, tt, tt, tt, with the jaw quite closed and the teeth pretty much together: tt, tt, dd, dd. And I can make that sound just by moving the tongue, the jaw doesn't have to move: tt, dd, tt, dd. Now, to make the TH for the word 'the'. I do not need to bring the tongue all the way through the teeth. I can just bring it down, so it's touching just behind, where the teeth come together. To the. Let's look at this up close and in slow motion.
The word T-H-E is pronounced with the EE vowel when the next word begins with a vowel or diphthong. For example, to the other side, to the east. In these cases as well, all the articulation will happen with the tongue.
It will probably take a good bit of time and drilling to get this new way of saying 'to the' into your habit. But it is worth doing. Because when we simplify the mouth movement, it means it's going to be easier to say it quickly in speech. And when we reduce and pronounce these unstressed words very quickly like this, it provides a nice contrast for the stressed words, which are much longer, and have a lot more shape. As you drill these two words, put them into sentence fragments, and eventually sentences. To the. To the store. To the restaurant. I'm going to the restaurant. It will really help you to integrate that into your everyday speech.

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