How to Pronounce Christmas in American English — Happy Holidays!

How to Pronounce Christmas in American English — Happy Holidays!

In this video, we’re going to talk about how
to pronounce the word ‘Christmas,’ and you’ll see some scenes from my Christmas party and
from Christmastime in New York. The word ‘Christmas.’
First, let’s point out that the T is silent. Christmas, Christmas. So it’s the first syllable that’s accented. And the CH here represents
the K consonant sound. So the first sound is the KR consonant cluster, Chr-, Chr-.
The vowel in the first syllable is the ‘ih’ as in ‘sit’ vowel. Chri-, Chri-. This syllable
ends with the S sound. Chris-, Chris-. The second syllable, unaccented, has the M consonant
sound, schwa, S sound. -mes, -mes. It will be lower in pitch than the first syllable,
which is stressed. Christmas, Christmas. As I’ve been discussing Christmas and Christmas
plans with my students this week, I noticed that several of them have a misconception
about the schwa-S sound. A lot of my current students have a native language of Mandarin.
And I’ve noticed not just with this word, but with others, that the schwa-S sometimes
sounds like it has an R in it. So, Christmas becomes Christmers, er, er, ers. And focus
becomes focurs. Famous becomes famours, rs. So to prevent this from happening, make sure
the tongue does not pull back. The er sound is made when the tongue pulls back some. So,
in this second syllable, -mas, -mas, -mas, the tongue can stay forward the whole time
for the schwa and the S sound. Christmas, Christmas. At our holiday party this year,
we had a wonderful meal followed by a gift exchange and cookie decorating. In our gift
exchange, we each brought one gift. Then we drew numbers to determine the order in which
to open gifts. When it was your turn, you could either steal a gift that had already
been opened, or open a new gift yourself.>>OK, so I draw my number. I want to make
sure I get the best one. Now, no one else can see, except for my Rachel’s English users.
>>K, Tim has drawn number one, the lucky duck. Lucky duck is an idiom you can use for someone who has good fortune. In our gift exchange,
whoever drew number one got to go first, but then take his choice of all the open gifts at
the end. Lucky duck. Both words have the ‘uh’ as in ‘butter’ sound followed by the K sound.
Uk, uk. Lucky duck. Listen again.>>K, Tim has drawn number one, the lucky
duck.>>Tim, I feel like you rigged that somehow.
>>I hope that you don’t need a scissors. Just tear the paper.
>>That is some tea that I brought back from Africa in May.
>>Whoa! That’s an awesome gift.>>Oh wow! I love how excited you are about
it!>>Who’s number 7? I am! I steal!
>>NO!>>Pinkberry! This is a delicious frozen yogurt–uh–place
that’s not so far from the house. Sorry Janae.>>Janae!
>>Yes?>>That cookie is so adorable!
>>Thank you.>>How long did it take you?
>>Approximately 30 seconds.>>You know that we have 5,000 more to do,
>>K. Did you notice? I reduced the word ‘okay’
to simply ‘k’, k. Listen again.>>You know that we have 5,000 more to do,
>>K.>>Jovon, that’s also some excellent handy
work.>>Tell her about the dots.
Tell her about the dots. Did you notice the dropped H? It’s not uncommon to drop the beginning
H in unaccented words like her, him, and his. If you do this, always link it to the word
before. Tell her, tell her. Tell her about the dots. Listen again.
>>Tell her about the dots [x3]>>The dots. This is actually braille for
‘cookie’.>>Oh, you’re really gifted.
>>Linds, can I show you my cookies?>>Mm-hmm. Please do. Let me zoom in, it looks
good.>>Thanks. It’s very colorful.
>>Are you going to bite its head off? Here’s a sampling of some of the cookies we
ended up with at the end of the night. I tried to make a Rachel’s English cookie but I ran
out of room. I’m going to close with a hymn that some friends
and I sang a few nights ago. It’s the first verse of The First Noel. I’m standing in the
middle of the back row. Then I’ll switch to some footage of Christmas
cheer in New York. I think New York does December very well. A lot of restaurants and shops
put out really lovely decorations, and it does help to get me in the Christmas spirit.
Happy holidays everyone. The First Noel, the angels did say,
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay. In fields where they
lay keeping their sheep on a cold winter’s night that was so deep. Noel, noel noel, noel,
born is the King of Israel. To all my users, no matter what holiday you
celebrate if you celebrate at all, I wish you a very joyous December and all the best
in the New Year.

73 thoughts on “How to Pronounce Christmas in American English — Happy Holidays!

  1. You are such a lucky person because of the possibility of seeing New York just before Christmas. 🙂 The decoration of this building at 6:08 is simply fantastic! You have done so many great things for us, learners, in 2011. Thank you very much Rachel! :))

  2. I'm SO thankful for all you've done this whole year. God bless you, princess Rachel.
    We are very lucky for being your students. Wish you all the best in 2012.
    As we say in Brazil, FELIZ NATAL E UM PRÓPERO ANO NOVO. It means Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

  3. Hey Rachel, all the best to you too! The way you make your video was a brilliant. It make me not just learn but also to enjoy it!
    Happy New Year by the way! (:

  4. What a fantastic video! Teacher Rachel, I wish you all the best, have a great Christmas, Merry christmas 'n God keep blessing you the next years 'n God give you more more years to come! 😀
    my special regards from Colombia

  5. Hi Rachel,
    I've noticed that it's not only [əs] that becomes [ɚs] but also [ə] in other unstressed syllables; for example, method' ['mɛθəd] frequently sounds like becomes ['mɛθɚd]. Thanks for pointing this out to your Chinese fans.
    Nina Liakos (ESL Lecturer and pronunciation teacher, Univ. of Maryland MD English Institute)

  6. @nliakos Hi Nina, Thanks so much for your insight!! Would love to hear more from you, if you have suggestions of videos to make, or other observations from your teaching. You can email me at admin -at- RachelsEnglish -dot- com.


  7. Hello Rachel! thank you so much for your useful videos! they help a lot. Have a very happy holidays, hugs from Spain.

  8. It means there wasn't enough space on the cookie to write out the whole word. I needed either a bigger cookie, or to write smaller. 🙂

  9. Hello Rachel. I'm big friend of you.I watch your all videos, and you are helping me a lot.Can you please make video for how to pronounce reservation.Thanks .

  10. hi, thanks so much for making such great videos . They are so helpful and enjoyable. If we can leave you voice message would be great , in that case you can check our imitation is correct or not. But this is just a thought. Best wishes to you.

  11. was that your voice Rachel? the highest voice when you guys sang the last word NOEL. That was great!!! 🙂

  12. These videos are fantastic and really helpful for improving my spoken English and listening comprehension. Thank you very much!

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