Pronunciation Tips: Pronouncing –ed at the ends of words

I have to admit: speaking in English can be very hard. When I first learned about pronunciation and its differences, I was confused. But hopefully with this guide from EnglishSecret, we can help lessen your burdens!

With every rule, we have listed examples. We also included sample sentences you can use to practice the rules.

 

 
1. If the ending sound of the word is voiceless, the –ed will sound /t/
Voiceless sounds:
f,  k,  p, s,  ch, sh, voiceless-th

Examples:
stop – stopped (t),                  cook – cooked (t)
like – liked (t),                        laugh – laughed (t)
finish – finished (t),                ask – asked (t)
watch – watched (t)

I liked to play video games, but I stopped after I got a job.

 

 
2. If the ending sound of the word is voiced, the –ed will sound /d/
Voiced sounds:
b,  dg,  g, j,  l,  m, n, ng, r, voiced- th, v, w, z
+ all vowel sounds

Examples:
believe – believed (d),        play – played (d)
learn – learned (d),             marry – married (d)
stay – stayed (d),                 call – called (d)

Many couples who are married stayed together until problems came up.

 

 
3. If the ending sound of the word is /d/ or /t/, the –ed will sound /id/
Examples:
add – added (id),                  wait – waited (id)
date – dated (id),                  decide – decided (id)
point – pointed (id),              end – ended (id)

We waited a few weeks before we decided to buy the house.

 

 

If you have any comments on pronouncing -ed at the end of certain words, please let us know!

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Improving English Pronunciation: Tip #4: Go Out and Eat?

Hello, everyone!

Recently, I have been eating out a lot with my friends. I have heard from many friends that using English outside of the classroom helps with English pronunciation. An example is a restaurant.

Reading the menu aloud if it is in English  is a good exercise in English pronunciation. Ordering food and drinks in English is also a great exercise.

Many waitresses and waiters will try to talk to you during your meal. Not only is this good for practicing pronunciation, but it will help you learn to speak casually in a conversation. Most workers will also help you with pronunciation for dishes and drinks that may be in a different language or if the food or drink is a new word to you.

In the end, even if you do not think your English pronunciation is good, that is not what is most important. What matters most is you using your best effort to speak the language! Hard work is always appreciated!

The next time you go out to eat, be sure to practice your English. Let us know if it helps you with better English pronunciation!

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Improving English Pronunciation: Tip #3: Sing Your Heart Out!

Hey, everyone!

Many new songs have been released in the last few weeks. Have you been singing along? Singing along to English songs is a fun way to learn English pronunciation.

When you find an English song you like, look for its karaoke version online. Most videos will have subtitles with lyrics. These lyrics can help you see how words are pronounced by native English speakers.

You can also use these videos to learn conversational phrases and about the culture.

Be sure to let us know whether this has helped you with pronunciation! Many of my non-native speaker friends find karaoke enjoyable and a fun English exercise. You can sing along on the way to work, school, or even in the shower. Have fun!

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Improving English Pronunciation: Tip #2: Write, Write, Write!

There are various ways to improve your English pronunciation, but did you know writing can help?

Writing helps improve your vocabulary, and when writing your story, you will be forced to think about what you write. As a result, you will be sounding out words in your mind! You can even read them aloud, making this learning experience better.

Good writers will write their story once (“rough draft”), and then they will edit the story. They might choose better words to describe an item or a feeling. By exploring the possible word choices out there (such as a word’s synonyms and antonyms), you will learn many more words.

Many writers also use the dictionary when they try to explore different words. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary online is free, and after you search for a word, you can also hear its pronunciation.

Once you’re happy with your story, there are many things you can do with your finished work. Many people now post their short stories online on blogs, or on other websites. An example of a website featuring many writers’ literary works is Fanfiction.net.

Howcast has a wonderful video on “How to Write a Short Story,” which provides interesting advice on how to help you get started on your writing.

Please let us know if this creative way to learn English pronunciation helps you! We would love to get your feedback.

-Tracy

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Accent Reduction – part 2: Speaking from the diaphragm

In our second post about accent reduction, we are focusing on speaking from the diaphragm as a way to better communicate in English.

American English speakers tend to speak in a deeper, low-pitched voice than Korean and Japanese speakers, who often speak in a high-pitched voice.

That’s because English speakers speak from the diaphragm and southeast Asian (Korean, Japanese and northern Chinese) speak from the throat.  Therefore, even if you make correct mouth, lips, and tongue shapes, your English sounds are still different than the native English sound.

(click the image to enlarge)

Your voice is produced by a combination of the three systems: vocal chords, lungs, and diaphragm.

1.          Production of air: lungs and diaphragm push the air up.

2.         Air vibration: the pushed air meets vocal chords to vibrate

3.         The resonance of this vibration in the mouth and nose will change the tone of voice.

For good English voice, we need to learn “Speaking from the diaphragm”

1.          Speak from the diaphragm, not just the throat: Deeper breaths and continuous airflow from diaphragm and the chest, not short bursts of airflow from the throat

2.         Open the back of your throat: Bring down your lower jaw a little bit to open up the back of your mouth a bit more.  Sound can travel with more room, which amplifies the sounds.  This is important, especially for southeast Asian speakers.

Summary: “You have to relax your vocal cords and focus more on breathing deeply from your diaphragm and enunciating carefully with your mouth. Breathing from your diaphragm gives you more power and endurance. Relaxing your vocal cords and opening the back of your throat gives you more resonance, volume, and tone control. Exaggerated but careful enunciation with your lips, teeth, and tongue gives you clear voice.” – By Jeffrey

Tips: When you practice, place your hand on your upper chest, and feel the vibration of a deeper voice.   Also, try practicing gradually (day by day), and do not force it.  Lastly, be sure to make a natural, easy, and clear diaphragm voice.

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Improving English Pronunciation: Tip #1: Turn what you hear into written text!

Hey, everyone!

As a non-native English speaker myself, I understand learning English is not easy! As a result, I will draw on my family and friends, as well as my own experience, to help you on your journey to better pronunciation.

Tip #1: Turn what you hear into written text!

Transcribing means to turn what you’re hearing into written (or typed) text.

Many students use this method when they turn recorded lectures into written notes to study with. Journalists also use this when they interview people. These interviews are then turned into articles, which appear in newspapers and magazines.

By transcribing what you’re hearing, you’re training your ear to attentively listen for key words, such as nouns and adjectives, which help you understand the main points of what is being said. It also helps you learn new words.

TRY IT OUT:

On EnglishSecret, they are many video tutorials that are subtitled, which means they already come with text of what’s being said.

Instead of viewing the subtitles, as practice to better your English, try closing your eyes. After closing your eyes, listen to the words, and write them back down. After you’re done with the video, compare what you transcribed to what was subtitled. You can then see what you can improve on!

OR TRY THIS:

Although this may be harder for you to see whether or not you transcribed correctly, you can transcribe news videos, such as the free videos that are available on CNN.com, Yahoo.com, or even on USAToday.com.

All three websites offer videos with words that are easy to understand, but the pace might be a little faster. Therefore, this is a more challenging practice, but it will help you learn more words along the way.

What do you think? Does this method work for you? Let me know what you think!

~Tracy

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Accent Reduction – part 1: sound length

Long time no see, everyone!

The reason for the long wait for this blog is because EnglishSecret has been working hard on its next project! We wanted to make sure it will be useful for everyone before we made it public. Thank you for everyone’s patience, and here it is!

Sound length is a very important but unknown aspect of English pronunciation. Proper sound lengths make your sounds more natural and easier to understand.

That is because English has short and long vowels, and stress sounds, which make the sounds longer. Korean, for example, only has short vowels and no stress sound.  Japanese and northern Mandarin speakers also have similar problems.

So, when you practice English, stretch, lengthen your sounds, and speak slowly.

Pronouncing long vowel sounds and stressed sounds correctly help English users make huge improvements!

We developed the following ESL  slow speed video for this training.  It is 1.5 times slow speed. This is a little slower than normal English, but not too slow to bore people. We recommend this speed for clear communication.

Read alone, and repeat. You will automatically stretch and lengthen your sounds.

If you hear this story repeatedly for several months, you will soon begin to recognize its sounds, sound lengths, and rhythm. It will open your ears!

Did this guide and its videos help you on your journey to better English pronunciation? Let us know what you think!

Until next time~

-Tracy

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