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English pronunciation: Why is the “r” in so many words in English?

English pronunciation: Why is the “r” in so many words in English?

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Did you know that the “r” sound in English is the most difficult sound to say?   It is so difficult that native-born North American children don’t master the “r” until they are about four years old or seven years old.  There are some children who don’t fully master the “r” until they are eleven or twelve years old.

A rational person would reason that if a speech sound is that difficult to say, then it would be a lower frequency sound in English.  However, focused attention to “r” made me notice that there were so, so many words with “r” in them.

The interesting question is, why are there so many “r”s in English?   All of a sudden, I think I have a couple of answers.  Today I will give you part one of my theory and next time part two.

A primary reason that we have so many words with an “r” is that we use the “r” for many prefixes and suffixes, consonant clusters, and root words.

Prefixes and suffixes:

  • “re” (like in “return”),
  • “ir” (like in “irregular”),
  • “er” (like in “painter”),
  • “er”  for comparative suffixes (like in “bigger, faster, stronger”),
  • “or” (like in “cursor”),

Consonant clusters:

  • “tr” (like in “train,” “trail”),
  • “br” (like in “break,” “brain”),
  • “dr” (like in “drive, “ “drink”),
  • “str” (like in “strange,” “string”)

We also use the “r” in the middle of many common words:

  • “ir” (such as “bird,” “birth”),
  • “or” (like  “sort of, “sport,” “fork”),
  • “ar”  (Like in “car,” “bar”),
  • “arr” (like in “carry” and “marry” and “marriage”)

Some people say there are a half a million words in English, some say a million, and some say a billion.  It depends upon how they are counted.  Whatever the total number, we have expanded our count of words by using consonant clusters and using prefixes and suffixes.

The “r” is so important because we so frequently say it in spoken English.

Next time is an answer to the question of what is it about the production of “r” that prompted human beings to use it so frequently in our words in English.

Click here: www.cleartalkmastery.com/scheduler to sign up for a Free Sample Lesson with us!

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercises.

 

 

Rerun from May 21, 2014

To Get Ahead

To Get Ahead

If you are looking for a horse to ride to get ahead, just become a good presenter.

Notice I didn’t say “excellent” or “outstanding”.  Just become good – because the rest of the world is so terrible.

-David Peoples

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Rerun from April 7, 2017

Public Speaking: “You”-Oriented Statements, Part 2

Public Speaking: “You”-Oriented Statements, Part 2

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What is the most important word in communication? “You.”

It has the power to help you connect with listeners.

Here are more “you”- oriented statements:

  • “You know the problem all too well:_______________.”
  • “You are certainly welcome to ___________________.”
  • “You can rely on my department for ______________.”
  • “You’ll get good value from ______________________.”
  • “You know what will happen if ___________________.”
  • “You can depend on this product to _______________.”
  • “You understand the price we’ll pay if _____________.”
  • “You’ve certainly seen for yourselves that:__________.”

Do you know what I love?  I love the idea of modifying these to use in conversation, too.

Click here: www.cleartalkmastery.com/scheduler to sign up for a Free Sample Lesson with us!

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercises.

 

Rerun from 05/14/2014

Job Advancement

Job Advancement

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As executives reach middle management and above, the primary criteria for advancement are communication and motivation skills rather than basic job performance.

Public Speaking: “You”- Oriented Statements

Public Speaking: “You”- Oriented Statements

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If you want to connect with  listeners during a presentation, don’t focus so much on yourself.  Find ways to address others’ needs.

Tip: Involve your listeners by using more “you”-oriented lines.

  • “You know from your own experience that _________.”
  • “You’ll be relieved to learn ______________________.”
  • “You can benefit if you __________________________.”
  • “You’ll gain direct access to ______________________.”
  • “You can win by _______________________________.”
  • “You deserve _________________________________.”
  • “You can count on _____________________________.
  • “You can take advantage of ______________________.”
  • “You can now do something about ________________.”

Click here: www.cleartalkmastery.com/scheduler to sign up for a Free Sample Lesson with us!

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

 

 

Rerun from May 7, 2014