Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. Today, I'm going to talk about how to pronounce the ending "ed" sound in past tense regular verbs. I'm going to talk about how to make the three different sounds that we use when we're using the past tense forms of these verbs. Let's get started.
As I said, this is for regular past tense verb. Verbs which take an ed ending verbs which don't take an "ed" ending in the past tense, I'm not going to talk about those in this lesson. Just "ed" ending verbs so past tense conjugations.
There are three different pronunciations that we use for this "ed" sound. I'm going to talk about each one and kind of a rule that can help you as you try to decide the best or the most correct pronunciation.
Let's first look at a "t" ending sound. By this "t," I mean /t/ sound at the end of the verb. A few examples, first is "walked," second, "talked" and "typed." So, "walked," "talked," "typed." You can hear the "ed" sound at the end of each verb, it's spelled "ed" but the pronunciation is a /t/ sound. So, "walked," "talked," "typed." We make a "t" sound. The rule for this, why do we use the "t" sound here. When we're looking at the infinitive form of the verb, so remember the infinitive form is like the basic form of the verb, I have it underlined in black here. If the infinitive ends in an unvoiced sound, we use this "t" pronunciation. I'll talk about unvoiced in just a moment here. But, in this case, the infinitive forms are "walk," "talk," and "type." The ending sounds are /k/, /k/ and /p/ here. These are called unvoiced sounds.
For this point and for some points in the rest of this lesson, it's useful to know the difference between a voiced sound and an unvoiced sound. So, a voiced sound is a sound that we make using our vocal chords. If you put your hand on your throat and you can feel your vocal chords moving, activated, that's a voiced sound. An unvoiced sound, however, is a sound we make without using our vocal cords, something that doesn't require us to activate our vocal cords.
I said, in this case, for the /t/ sound, we use this sound for infinitives which end in an unvoiced sound meaning our vocal cords are not activated. Here, as I said, "walk" ends in a /k/ sound, "talk" end in a /k/ sound and "type" ends in a /p/ sound. So, for /k/ sounds and /p/ sounds, our vocal cords are not activated, we're not using our vocal cords to make this sound so we apply a /t/ sound for the end of the verb when we're conjugating into past tense. This is the first type of pronunciation for today.
Let's look at the second type for today. The second type is this "d" ending sound and by "d" I mean like a soft /d/ sound. A few examples. I have "smelled," "breathed," "whispered," "lied," "booed" and "need." So, in each of these, you can hear there's this soft "d" sound for the ending, not an "ed" sound, /ed/ but a /d/ sound, a soft /d/ sound. In this case, how do we know that we should use a /d/ sound at the end of these? In this case, we should use this sound for infinitives which end in a voiced sound. As we learned up here, voiced sounds are sounds that require us to activate our vocal cords. In this case, the end of the infinitive form here, "smell" is the infinitive, the ending sound /l/ requires vocal cord activation. I'm using my vocal cords to make a /l/ sound here. Same thing with "breath," the /th/, this "th" sound at the end, /th/, I have to use my vocal cords to make this sound. Next one, "whisper," the /r/ sound here uses my vocal cords so I'm using the /d/, "whispered." We see the same thing, the last three examples I have here use vowel sounds at the end. So, "lied," "booed," "need," these are voiced sound so we need to use a /d/ sound to end the word. This is when we use /d/ ending.
Let's look at the last type over here. The last type is this "id" ending, it's like an /id/ sound. Let's look at some examples. Here I have "wanted," "pleaded" and "started." These are all examples of infinitives that end in /t/ or /d/ sound. Here, the infinitive form of my first example, "want," ends in a "t" sound. My second example, "plead," ends in a "d" sound and my third example, "start," ends in "t" sound as well. So, for infinitives which end in /t/ or /d/ sound, a "t" or a "d" sound, we use this /id/ ending. So, "wanted," "pleaded," "started."
These are the three types of ending "ed" sound pronunciations. If you're having trouble trying to decide how to pronounce an "ed" sound, you can kind of think of these rules to help you, I hope. But if you want to know which sounds are unvoiced or which sounds are voiced, if it's hard for you to determine like when you are using your vocal cords or when you're not using your vocal cords, here's a quick tip. Here are the unvoiced consonant sounds.
The unvoiced consonant sounds meaning the consonants that we make without using our vocal cords are /ch/, /f/, /k/, /p/, /s/, /sh/, /t/ and "th" sound in "think." All of these sounds are unvoiced. If we make these sounds, we're not using our vocal cords to make them. So, /sh/, for example, and /t/ and /th/. These are common ones but we're not actually using like our voice to make them. That means that voiced sounds are the other sounds. So, if it's not in this list, it's a voiced sound.
One thing to be careful of here though is that the "th" sound in the word like "they" is actually a voiced sound. So, we have a voiced, "they," "th" sound, "they," and we have an unvoiced "th" sound like in "think." In the word, "think," I'm not using my vocal cords. In the word, "they" or "the," for example, I am. So, "th" has a voiced and an unvoiced pronunciation. This is something to keep in mind and maybe to help you as you practice but these are the three pronunciation types for ending "ed" sounds I hope that that was helpful for you.
Thanks very much for watching this episode and I will see you again soon, Bye, bye.