Cider Inside Her

apple cider jugHere is a fun limerick. First, listen to how it sounds:

There once was a lady from Hyde
Who ate some green apples and died
The apples fermented
Inside the lamented
And made cider inside her insides

 

The fun part of this limerick is the last line, but it would not sound so interesting without sentence stress, reductions, and linking.

Listen again, while looking at the strong words:

There ONCE was a LAdy from HYDE
Who ATE some green APPLES and DIED
The APples ferMENted
InSIDE the laMENted
And made CIDer inSIDE her inSIDES

Here is why the last line sounds funny:
1. The three stressed syllables all have the same consonant and vowel sounds.
2. The word “her” is reduced — the “H” is missing, so it sounds like “-er”.
3. The word “inside” is linked to the word “her” (which is reduced) and sounds like “insider”, and this matches the sound of the word “cider”.

Now listen to how different it sounds if I say the last line with all of the words spoken carefully and clearly (without linking and reductions): And made cider inside her insides.

So, sentence stress can be fun! In fact, without it, many jokes and puns in English would not be funny at all.

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About Pronunciation Coach
I am a language teacher, with over 20 years of experience teaching ESL & Spanish.

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