English Phone Conversation: How to Start and End

You asked for it. So in this American English pronunciation video, we’re going to do a Ben Franklin Exercise where we take real American English conversation and analyze the American accent to improve listening comprehension and pronunciation skills. First, let’s listen to the whole conversation. I’m going to call my mom. No idea if she’s home. Let’s see, it’s her time. We’ll see if she picks up. She’s not answering. Hey mom! What’s up? – Not much. How are you? – Pretty good. – What are you doing? – Roberta and Ernie are here.

Oh, that’s right! Now, for the analysis. What would you say about the stress of those first two words? Hey mom! Hey mom! To me, those sound like they’re both stressed. Hey– mom! Hey mom! Hey mom! They both have huh— huh— a little bit of that up down stress in the voice. Hey mom! It’s hard to hear my mom’s response because it’s through the phone. What’s up? What’s up? What’s up? With the intonation going up. What’s up? Very smooth and connected. The TS connected to the UH vowel. What’s up? Not much. How are you? Not much. How are you? I made a Stop T at the end of ‘not’. We do this when the next word begins with a consonant. Not much. How are you? How did I pronounce the word ‘are’? Not much.

How are you? I reduced it to the schwa R sound. Howwer– howwer– and connected it to the word before. Howwer– howwer– Not much.How are you? How are you? How are you? With the pitch going down. Not much. How are you? Pretty good! Pretty good! How are those Ts pronounced? Pretty good! Pretty good! Like a Flap T or D. Pretty. Pretty. Pretty good! These phrases are typical of starting a phone conversation. You ask a person how they are. How are you? And they ask you how you are. What’s up? Generally, you give little generic responses. Not much, pretty good. This is small talk. Hey mom! What’s up! Not much. How are you? Pretty good! What are you doing? Roberta and Ernie are here. Oh, that’s right. Again, the word ‘are’. What are you doing? I reduced it to the schwa R sound whatterr– whatter— So the T became a Flap T between vowels. What are you doing? Whatter– it sounds like one word, water.

Water. What are you doing? I dropped the G to make just an N sound instead of an NG sound. What are you doing? What are you doing? Roberta and Ernie are here. The word ‘and’ was reduced to nn– Roberta and Ernie are here. Nn– Roberta and Ernie Roberta and Ernie are here. Again, R reduced to the schwa R sound Ernie -err– Ernie -err– Roberta and Ernie are here. Oh, that’s right. How is the T pronounced in ‘right’? Oh, that’s right! –that’s right! It was a Stop T. So we make a Stop T, unreleased, when the next sound is a consonant or at the end of a sentence or thought. Oh, that’s right. That’s right. Alright, well have a good dinner tonight.

Okay, we’ll have fun. And now, phrases we use in getting off the phone as you wrap up a conversation. Alright, well, have a good dinner tonight. Okay, we’ll have fun. It’s common for people to ‘have fun’ or ‘have a good time’ with what they’re doing next. Here, I’m commenting on their plans for dinner tonight. Alright, well, have a good dinner tonight. In order to make this first word very quickly, I dropped the L and make a Stop T.

Alright, well, have a good dinner tonight. Arright– arright– arright– I also don’t put these commas in, do I? Alright, well, have a good dinner tonight. I go straight to them without a pause. The first syllable of ‘dinner’ is stressed. Have a good dinner tonight. Have a good dinner tonight. Have a good dinner tonight. And it’s the clearest syllable in that phrase. Notice ‘tonight’ is pronounced with the schwa. We want to do this all the time. Tonight, tomorrow, in both of those words, the letter O makes the schwa sound. Tonight. How is the T pronounced? Have a good dinner tonight. Tonight– Another Stop T at the end of a sentence. Here again we’re entering small talk to get off the phone. I tell my mom to have a good time. She responds ‘okay, we’ll have fun.’ Alright, well, have a good dinner tonight.

Okay. We’ll have fun. The intonation of ‘okay’ goes up. It shows that she’s not done talking yet. She’s gonna saw one more thing. Okay. We’ll have fun. The word ‘fun’ then goes down in pitch. So I know it’s the end of her thought. Okay. We’ll have fun. Alright, well, talk to you guys soon. Enjoy New York. I will, thank you! My next phrase again starts with ‘alright, well’ Alright, well, talk to you guys soon. And again, to make that first word very fast, I drop the L and make a Stop T. Alright well– alright well– Alright, well, talk to you guys soon! Talk to you guys soon. Talk and soon, both stressed, both have the up-down shape. Talk to you guys soon.Talk to you guys soon. Talk to you guys soon. The less important words like ‘too’ are very fast. I reduced the vowel into the schwa. Te– te– talkte– talkte– talk to you guys soon. More small talk. Now, my mom is wishing me well and telling me to enjoy what I’m doing.

Alright, well, talk to you guys soon. Enjoy New York. Enjoy, have fun, these are the kinds of phrases we say when ending a phone conversation. Enjoy New York. I will, thank you! Bye. Alright, bye! And I just respond generically with a confirmation ‘I will.’ I will, thank you. I will, thank you. I will, thank you. Bye. My mom actually says b-bye, doesn’t she? She makes the B sound twice. B-bye! This is short for ‘bye’. Bye. Just another way to say ‘bye’. -Bye! -Alright, bye! I must really like the word ‘alright’ at the end of the conversation because I say it one more time. Again, dropping the L and making a Stop T. Bye. Alright, bye. Bye. With the up-down shape of the voice. I will, thank you. Bye. Alright, bye. So in starting a phone conversation, we use small talk asking someone how they’re doing and responding. Hey mom! What’s up? Not much, how are you? Pretty good.

And in getting off the phone, we use small talk often telling someone to have fun with what they’re about to do and saying bye. I will, thank you. – Bye. – Alright, bye. Let’s listen again following along with our marked up text. You’ll hear two different speeds. Regular pace and slowed down. Hey mom. What’s up? Not much. How are you? Pretty good. What are you doing? Roberta and Ernie are here. Oh, that’s right. Alright, well, have a good dinner tonight. Okay. We’ll have fun. Alright, well, talk to you guys soon. Enjoy New York. I will. Thank you. Bye. Alright, bye. Hey mom. What’s up? Not much. How are you? Pretty good. What are you doing? Roberta and Ernie are here.

Oh, that’s right. Alright, well, have a good dinner tonight. Okay. We’ll have fun. Alright, well, talk to you guys soon. Enjoy New York. I will. Thank you. -Bye. -Alright, bye. We’ll listen one last time. This time, you’ll repeat. You’ll hear each sentence or sentence fragment three times. Repeat exactly as you hear it. Paying attention to intonation, sounds, and stress. Hey mom! What’s up? Not much. How are you? Pretty good. What are you doing? Roberta and Ernie are here. Oh, that’s right. Alright, well, have a good dinner tonight. Okay. We’ll have fun. Alright, well, talk to you guys soon. Enjoy New York. I will. Thank you. Bye. Alright, bye. Now, the conversation one more time. Hey mom! What’s up? Not much. How are you? Pretty good. What are you doing? Roberta and Ernie are here. Oh, that’s right. Alright, well, have a good dinner tonight. Okay. We’ll have fun Alright, well, talk to you guys soon. Enjoy New York. I will. Thank you. – Bye. – Alright, bye. Great job. If you liked this video, be sure to sign up for my mailing list for a free weekly newsletter with pronunciation videos sent straight to your inbox.

Also I am happy to tell you my book, American English Pronunciation, is available for purchase. If you want an organized step-by-step resource to build your American accent, click here to get the book or see the description below. I think you’re going to love it. That’s it and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English..

As found on Youtube