Episode Transcript

Hey guys. It’s Hadar, and this is the Accent’s Way. This is Valentine’s week. And therefore, we are going to learn how to say the phrase ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’. To be able to say it properly, we need to learn two important things. First, how to pronounce the A as in ‘cat’; and also, how to distinguish between a B sound and a V sound to be able to say ‘Valentine’s’ correctly.

Let’s begin with the A as in cat. The A as in cat is an open front vowel. And to say the sound you have to drop your jaw quite a lot, so the mouth is really, really open. As you can see, my lips pull to the sides a bit, and you can see a lot of tongue, right? So to get to that position, you want to push your tongue forward. The front part of the tongue is down and flat, the tip of the tongue is touching right behind the teeth, and the back of the tongue is high. We find it in words like ‘apple’, ‘cat’, ‘happy’.

Another important sound is the V sound, as in ‘Valentine’s’. Some non-native speakers, especially Spanish speakers, may turn the V sound into a B sound. Both of them are produced here, in the front part of the mouth and the lips. And both of them are voiced, meaning that the vocal chords are vibrating.

But the main difference between the two is that for the B, you block the air and release it abruptly. ‘b’, ‘bei’. For the V sound, you don’t really block the air, but the air is kind of like passing slowly between the teeth, right, because you bring the bottom lip to the top teeth and then you release sound slowly.

So you don’t hear that stop and release, you hear the air coming out slowly, much like an F sound, a TH sound, and a Z sound. These are all fricatives – the sounds are coming out slowly and you hear this friction sound. ‘Vvvvv’. Okay? So it’s not ‘Balentine’s’ – it’s ‘Valentine’s’. And to make sure that you’re actually saying it correctly, hold out the V sound – ‘vvvvv’. If you can’t hold it out, it means that you’re making a B sound.

All right. So, let’s get started with ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’. Pronounce an H sound for the ‘happy’. If you’re not sure about the H, check out my videos about how to pronounce the H sound. ‘ha-‘. Then it’s the A as in cat – ‘ha-‘, a P sound and a a high E – ‘ha-pee’, ‘ha-pee’.

Then we move on to ‘Va-‘ – a V sound, we already talked about it – and A as in cat: ‘va-‘. Then you bring the tongue up for an L sound, and then relax it, drop it down to a schwa and bring it back up to an N: ‘l’n’, ‘l’n’ – a schwa is this really neutral sound – uh, l’n, l’n.

Then you keep it up for a T sound and finish up with the last syllable – ‘tainz’. The S is actually pronounced as a Z – ‘tainz’, so it’s not ‘tains’ – ‘tainz’. Your tongue is already up there, so don’t bring it back down, move from the Z to the D immediately – ‘tainz-dey’, right. So it’s not ‘val’ntainz dey’, don’t separate it. ‘val’ntainz-‘, so you’re actually pronouncing the Z and then you’re blocking it with a D – ‘z’dey’. Happy Valentine’s Day.

I have to confess that I don’t particularly care about Valentine’s Day. In fact, throughout my twenties, I hated it because I always worked in restaurants. And then I always ended up working on Valentine’s Day, with all those balloons and heart-shaped chocolate cakes. And it felt like that instead of being a day about, you know, expressing emotions and acknowledging the people you love, it was a day about buying presents, making reservations, and walking around with red balloons. So I kind of resented it for a while.

Having said, that let’s bring it back to what it’s really about – expressing love to the people you care about. This is a good opportunity to say, I love you guys. I love you, all of you, who follow me, and comment, and watch the videos, and practice with me. Thank you so much for being so awesome. And if you haven’t subscribed yet, now is the time, and click on the bell to get notifications.

Thank you so much. Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and your Valentines. And I will see you next week in the next video. Bye.