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Halloween Idioms (Rachel's English)
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Learn how to pronounce some Halloween idioms.

In this American English pronunciation video, we're going to go over a few idioms.

Today is October 31st. That's Halloween. A couple of years ago I made a video on how to pronounce Halloween, and showed some scenes from a Halloween party, and all of my friends in costume. In the US, Halloween is a holiday in which little kids dress up in costumes and go around, house to house, and say 'trick or treat', in order to get candy. Trick or treat. Are you noticing how I'm reducing the word 'or' there, to just the schwa-R sound? Rr, rr, rr. Trick or, trick or. Now, I've already made a video on how to reduce the word 'or', I do suggest you take a look at it. Trick or treat. Trick or treat.

But sometimes, even adults will dress up in costume. Now, I find this a little odd. I'm not quite sure why an adult would want to dress up to look like a scary person or a dead person. I, personally, never do it. Now, my friends are having a Halloween party this year, and I told them I was not going to dress up because I just think it's silly. And they said, Rachel, don't be a party pooper. So let's go over that idiom, party pooper. First, note that the T in 'party' is a Flap T. Now, you know that because it comes after an R consonant and before a vowel. Party, party. Pooper. This is a two-syllable word, stress is on the first syllable. It begins with the P consonant, the 'oo' vowel: poo-, poo-. Now, since that's the stressed syllable, make sure it has some shape in it, poo-, poo-. The second, unstressed syllable is the P consonant, and then schwa-R sound, -per, -per, -per. Now that's going to be flat and lower in pitch because it's unstressed. Party pooper, party pooper. So, what is a party pooper? A party pooper is someone who spoils other people's fun by not participating, or by saying, Oh, that's stupid, that's a dumb idea. So basically, that's me, because I'm going to a costume party, and I'm not going to dress up. Because I just think dressing up is silly.

Another idiom that has a similar meaning is wet blanket. So this, again, is someone who will spoil other people's enjoyment by not participating in general, withdrawing a little bit. For example: Mary had a great party last night, but her new roommate is sort of a wet blanket. Meaning, maybe she didn't participate, she sat in the corner, wouldn't talk to anybody, or maybe even just stayed in her room. So, let's go over the pronunciation. It begins with the W consonant sound, where the lips will be in a very tight circle. Then, the EH as in BED vowel, we-, we-. The final T here is a stop consonant. Usually final T's, are, unless the next word begins with a vowel. We don't have that here. So, it's going to be a stop. Wet blanket. What does that mean? That means I put my tongue up into position for the T, wet, wet, but I don't release the sound. I just go into the next word. Here, the next word begins with the BL consonant cluster. Wet bl-. Make sure your tongue tip is up here for the L. Bl-, bl-. That's how you
know you're making that sound correctly. Bl-, bl-, wet bl-. Now, the next sound. If you look it up in the dictionary, it will say it is the AA as in BAT vowel. But as you know, when the AA vowel is followed by the nasal consonant NG, it's not really the AA vowel. It's much more like the AY as in SAY diphthong. Bla-, bla-, blan-. Then the tongue comes up back here to touch for the NG sound, right where it needs to be for the K, so it just simply pulls away there to release. Blank-, blank-. And finally, the schwa-T sound in the unstressed syllable. Blanket, blanket. Notice I'm not releasing the T at the end of 'blanket'. Again, I'm making it a stop T. Blanket. Wet blanket.

And one last idiom with a similar meaning, stick in the mud. Again, this is someone who spoils the fun by not participating. Rachel, why don't you dress up for the Halloween party? It's a costume party. Well. Because I'm a stick in the mud. So how do you pronounce this? It begins with the ST consonant cluster, opens into the IH as in SIT vowel. Sti-, sti-. Now, the next word begins with a vowel. So the ending consonant here in the word 'stick' will link into that. Stick in, stick in, stick in. That will help us to connect the words and make them very smooth. Stick in, stick in. The next word, the, has the TH sound and the schwa. Now, it's unstressed. So, along with 'in', it's going to be low in pitch and flat, in the, in the, in the. And finally, the word 'mud'. M consonant, UH as in BUTTER, and the D sound. Stick in the mud, stick in the mud.

So, even though I won't be dressing up this Halloween, I'm still going to have fun. And I hope you will to. That's it, and thanks so much for using Rachel's English.


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