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Our first question comes from Elias from Syria. He was curious to know how to figure out the correct pronunciation of words like “live” in different contexts. You see when we say, “I live in Vancouver”, “live” sounds like “give”. However, if use “live” in the following sentence, “I watched the World Cup live on TV” the pronunciation of “live” sounds like “five”. So you really need to identify the pronunciation of the word according to WHERE it is in the sentence. I know that’s not easy and nobody has time when they are speaking to say that sometimes “live” is a verb while other times it’s an adverb. So my best advice to you is to listen to how such words, homographs, are used in movies, TV series, music and so on. I have included a catchy song to help you remember quite a few homographs like in the next example:
You can see I am holding a musical instrument called a bass. That is pronounced as in “base”. There is also a kind of fish here in Canada called “bass” as in “pass”. So we need to look at the context of the situation. Obviously if I am fishing, we are going to use one kind of pronunciation and if I am holding a musical instrument, we need to use another. I have included a longer list of homographs below the video on Youtube.
Andrew from Ukraine, as you could hear from his recording, is already at a fairly advanced level of English. What’s missing from the equation is both listening and speaking at a fluent level. One thing that I talk about in my lesson is how we often leave out a word in a question or sentence because among native speakers, it’s mutually understood. I know for a fact from my own experience learning other languages that ellipses can happen in many language, not just English.
A fast and fluent speaker of English also needs to start thinking about how consonants and suffixes can be left off of words. When you become aware of this fact, a magical thing happens: you start to see how native speakers of English use such pronunciation all the time. My tips in my video explain in which contexts such pronunciation is appropriate.