Hey, everyone! It’s Hadar, it’s Christmas Eve, and whether you celebrate Christmas or not you are going to love this video.

Because today we are going to talk about intonation and analyze a speech by Bill Murray in the movie Scrooged.

Scrooged. Scrooged. Scrooged. It’s kind of hard to say it, but it’s not a ‘how to pronounce’ video. It’s an intonation video.

So, let’s begin. If you have seen my previous videos about intonation you know that there is a difference between stressed words and unstressed words, important words and less important words.

And Americans just love to tell you what are the important words in a sentence, and the way they do it they are so committed to it that they do it with their whole body, their whole heart, their whole voice.

Stressed words are longer, louder, higher in pitch. Unstressed words are reduced, short, soft, inexistent almost.

And the message is delivered clearly through those stressed words because they move the idea forward.

Words like ‘on’ and ‘in’ and ‘could’ and ‘should’ and ‘has’ and ‘had’ are important but they don’t drive the message forward, okay?

Now, this speech from the movie ‘Scrooged’ – Scrooged – is a perfect example.

In the speech he’s really passionate, and you can see how expressive he is when he stresses words, and how he basically slurs words when he gets to the less important parts.

Oh, by the way, I’ve also prepared for you a script, if you want to practice with a script. Where you can see the reduced words, where the stress words are bigger and in bold, and the sizes of the words are different according to how the words are stressed.

So, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a visual representation of what we’re doing here.

I’m not crazy. It’s Christmas Eve. It’s a one night of the year when we all act a little nicer.
We we we smile a little easier, we we we we cheer a little more for a couple of hours out of the whole year.
We are the people that we always hoped we would be.
It’s a miracle. It’s really a sort of a miracle, because it happens every Christmas Eve.
And if you waste that miracle you’re gonna burn. I know what I’m talking about.

Okay. Getting you into that Christmas spirit? I hope so! Let’s begin.

It’s Christmas Eve, so he kinda like stresses everything except for it.

Christmas Eve! So the ‘it’s’ is really reduced.
It’s, it’s, it’s Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve, so he’s connecting them together.

Christmas. Notice the pronunciation of the word ‘Christmas’.
It’s a relaxed ‘i’. Chris, Chris, and then it’s a schwa. Christmas – it’s not the same sound.
‘Christma sEve’. When he connects it to the next word it feels like the ‘S’ begins the next word. So as if it’s ‘Christma sEve’.
‘seeve’. This is a high ‘E’. So it’s not the same sound: ‘Chris’ – ‘ee’. Christmas Eve. It’s Christmas Eve.

Now, he goes really high in pitch for that because he’s stressing those both words almost the same.

It’s Christmas Eve. It’s the one night of the year where we all… So, ‘it’s the’. He’s not even pronouncing the ‘th’. This is how he reduces it.
It’s the, it’s the, it’s the, it’s the.

It’s the one night of the year.
‘One night’ – stressed – stressed. Pushed up ‘one night’, ‘of the’ – so he goes down.
One night of the year – so he goes a little lower for ‘of the’. He’s not saying the ‘V’ sound of the ‘of’ – ‘ov the year’, ‘ov the year’.

Is a one night of the year.
We all, we all, we all. Listen to how he reduces it. But at the same time ‘all’ is dragged and stressed.

Act a little nicer. So ‘act’ has the A as in cat. Drop your jaw, pull the lips to the sides a bit: ‘act a little’ – lower in pitch, ‘nicer’ – it goes up in pitch that means something else is coming up. It’s like a comma, right.
When there is this rising rising intonation. Sounds like a question but it also indicates that something else is coming up really really soon, so wait.

We smile a little easier. So he goes really fast in ‘little’, ‘little’. ‘Little’ is a Content word, but it’s not that important because he uses it as the filler word here.

We smile a little easier. A lot of ‘L’s here. Let’s practice it.
We smile a little. We smile a little. We smile a little.

Now, you have to cut yourself some slack here because it’s a tricky phrase. So my recommendation is you can just like reduce it, and and invest very little energy in those sounds. And it’s okay if it’s not perfect.

Smile a little easier.

[Music]

We-we-we, like he’s thinking what would the next verb is – we-we-we we share a little more, so he remembers it. So it’s again higher in pitch, longer – ta TA da ta ta ta.

It’s the one out of the year where we all act a little nicer. We-we we smile a little easier, we-we we share a little more.
We share a little more, right. ta TA da ta, ta Ta da ta.

And every time he stresses a word there is escalation, so not all words are stressed the same.
He’s not saying ‘act a little nicer, smile a little easier, share a little more’, no.
There’s escalation, otherwise it would be repetitive, and boring.
Smile a little nicer. We share a little more.

Oh, this is a good one.
For a couple of hours out of the whole year… Out of the. Out-of-the. Out-of-the.
See how quick it is, barely noticeable. Out-of-the. Out-of-the whole year. For a couple of hours out of the whole year.
And he slows down on those stressed words. Couple hours. Whole year.

And now it’s his main point. And notice how he slows down here. Even on the function words.
We are the people that we always hoped we would be. There is weight on every single word here, so there are less reductions. Because every word is important, and it also helps me, as a listener, understand that oh! – there’s an important part here.

He changes the rhythm, and that’s a tactic of speakers.
They would start creating a pattern and a certain rhythm.
Dada Dada… pause. And then they speak really slow. So if you zoned out as they were speaking you will come back to them, because I’ll recognize that something has changed. The rhythm.

But you won’t be able to tell why that happened, you’ll just come back and listen to them. And that is the important point.
So, here’s again how he says it: we are the people that we always hoped we would be.

It’s a miracle. It’s really a sort of a miracle.

It’s a… miracle. A statement. Everything is stressed here. Everything is separated.
Then he’s building up on that statement: it’s a really sort of a miracle. A lot of filler words here, huh?
Really, sort of a – because people do that. That makes it sound more natural, like he’s simplifying the idea.

It’s a really sort of a miracle. It’s a really sort of a miracle.
But he’s still stressing every single word here because that’s his main point – it’s a miracle. That’s the message of the speech.

Because it happens every Christmas Eve.

Because it happens every Christmas Eve. So, here he’s going back to a faster pace, and we start recognizing the stress words more.
‘Because it’ – reduced, ‘happens’ – stressed.

Every Christmas Eve. ‘Christmas Eve’ is stressed.
Because it happens every Christmas Eve. ‘happens’. Drop your jaw for ‘hat’ – happens.

And if you waste that miracle you’re gonna burn for it.
Gee, I wonder what the stress word is here… Let me think.
Yeah. ‘burn’, it’s like a little negative, to my opinion. Little harsh.

But the pronunciation of the word ‘burn’, you actually want to shift from the ‘B’ to the ‘R’ immediately.
Burn. Burn. You’re gonna burn for it. You’re gonna burn for it.

Now if you had a visual representation of the sentence, which, by the way you do, because I created a script – a phonetic script of this speech, so you can actually see the visual representation of the intonation.
So you can download it for free.

You’re gonna burn for it.
Now, something interesting here. So, of course, he reduces that the ‘you are going to’, so he’s not saying ‘you’re going to burn for it’: you’re gonna, you’re gonna, you’re gonna.

So the vowel that reduces to a schwa: you’re gonna burn – higher in pitch, longer. So he stretches the word, and then ‘fer it’.

But, in terms of intonation, he’s not dropping down. He’s not saying ‘you’re gonna burn for it’, period. No, it sounds like a warning – you’re gonna burn for it.

He leaves his intonation, like, up hanging, which means, you know, just wait and see. That’s the type of intonation, like you gotta be careful – you’re gonna burn for it.

‘I know what I’m talking about’. Here he’s closing it – know, talking. Stressed words.
I know what I’m, what I’m, what I’m – reducing. I know what I’m talking about. I know what I’m talking about.

So he’s going a little lower in pitch here, cuz he’s closing it, he wants to sound certain. He sounds confident, and this is the intonation of someone who is completely certain in what he or she is saying.

Because if you were to say something like ‘I know what I’m talking about’, you know, this up-speak – that occurs quite often in the language – then it wouldn’t have the same impact as ‘I know what I’m talking about’, period. Okay.

So pay attention to your pitch at the end. That if you want to sound certain you might want to consider going down in pitch, like this example right here – I know what I’m talking about.
Telling you – I know what I’m talking about. And I know what I’m talking about, so listen to me.

You have to do something, you have to take a chance. You do have to get involved. There are people that are having having trouble making their miracle happen.

You have to do something, you have to take a chance. Now, here he stresses the word ‘have’ cuz that is the word that he thinks will push them to take action. And even though he stresses the word ‘have’ twice here, notice that he stresses them differently.

Again, you always want to create variation because when you use the repetitive melody, or a repetitive melody, then people just tune out. They just think that they, they, they’ve already got what you’re trying to tell them.

But when you keep changing it’s a lot more interesting, a lot more engaging, and it feels like they want to stay and find out what else you have to say.

You have to do something, you have to take a chance. Right? In comparison to, if I were to say something like ‘you have to do something, you have to take a chance’. Less effective.

You do have to get involved.
When you use ‘do’ in a sentence – ‘you do have to get involved’, then the ‘do’ is usually stressed because it is there to begin with, to stress the verb. Okay?

Because you could have just said ‘you have to get involved’, but ‘you do have to get involved’ – the ‘do’ is more important here. It’s kinda like double emphasis, so he triple emphasizes it by stressing the ‘do’.

I hope that makes sense. I hope that makes sense. I really hope that makes sense.

So now, because it’s Christmas Eve, and you probably have a lot of things to do, I’m not going to keep on analyzing the rest of the speech.

But I’m going to play it for you. And I just want you to listen to the last part of this monologue, and identify the stressed words, and listen to it with a different awareness.

I want you to notice the reductions. I want you to notice the stressed words. I want you to notice the rhythm when he slows down, or when he goes a little faster.

I want you to notice if he takes pauses in certain places, and how he finishes his sentences whether it’s going up in pitch or down in pitch. Okay?
So let’s listen to it together. And, again, if you download the PDF then you can actually see the script and practice with it.

You have to do something, you have to take a chance. You do have to get involved.
There are people that are having having trouble making their miracle happen.
There are people that don’t have enough to eat, there are people that are cold.
You can go out and say hello to these people. You can take an old blanket out of the closet and say ‘here’.
You can make them a sandwich and say, ‘oh, by the way, here’. I get it now.

Okay. I hope that was interesting, and I hope you started noticing things that you haven’t noticed before.

So what I encourage you to do is to start listening to English with an inquisitive ear. Start detecting those things that we’ve talked about. Because your brain filters out so much information, and this information is essential.

Because if you can’t hear it, you can’t make it. And if you want to improve your performance in English, you have to start becoming aware, you have to start loving it. And then start doing it when you speak. Okay?

And, of course, practice it. Practice it along with different speakers, take a speech and just read it out loud yourself. Do all the imitation exercises, shadowing, whatever works for you.
But do something. You have to take action. Simply listening is great, but it’s not enough.

Okay, that’s it. Let me know in the comments below – what is the one thing that you are going to take with you from this video, from now on, as you’re listening to English.

And also, if you celebrate Christmas, have a very Merry Christmas.
And, if you don’t celebrate Christmas, or it’s no longer Christmas Eve, then just have a very merry go round.

Merry-go-round, and it’s a tongue twister.
So here, now you have a tongue twister, too. Merry-go-round.

I should go. Bye!