Welcome to Daily Tips on Learning English. Today’s tip is on how to distinguish the numbers 13, 30, 15, 50, 14, 40 and so on.
There’s often a lot of confusion when people use these words. People often have to ask, “Did you say 16 or 60?” If you look at the sounds used in this pairs of words, you will notice that the only difference is in the final “n” sound “n” in the “-teen” words. Do people listen for this sound to tell them which word has been said? Do people say this sound loudly and clearly so that people will know which word they are saying? Native speakers don’t.
They use different stress patterns to distinguish the words. In the “-teen” words, it’s the last syllable1 which is stressed. In the numbers 30, 40, 50 and so on, it’s the first syllable which is stressed. Also, when a syllable is stressed, that syllable’s vowel2 sound is lengthened3, and when a syllable isn’t stressed, the vowel is shorter.
Listen to me say the words, and notice the different syllables4 being stressed. 13, 30, 14, 40, 15, 50, 16, 60. Now listen to the length of vowels5 in the different syllables. I will exaggerate them first so it’s easier to notice. 13, 30, 14, 40, 15, 50. Now I will say them naturally. 13, 30, 14, 40, 15, 50, 16, 60, 17, 70, 18, 80, 19, 90. When you say these words, give specially6 care to stressing the right syllable, and to the length of the vowel sound in the stressed syllable. This has been today’s tip on learning English. Tune7 in tomorrow for another tip.