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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Idiom "Back Burner" -- How to Use and Pronounce -- American English

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In this American English Pronunciation video, were going to go over the idiomon the

back burnerto learn its meaning and pronunciation.

Just today I was writing an email to a business contact. I said: My bookkeeping project has

been moved to the back burner for the time being.

What is the literal meaning of this?

This is a stove. It has four burners. And this is the back burner, here and here. Now,

whats in this pot isnt that important right now. It doesnt need much attention.

So Im just going to move it to the back burner. There we go. I have literally moved

it to the back burner.

Thats the literal meaning ofback burner’. But the phraseback burneris used more

commonly as an idiom. You move something to the back burner when something else comes

up that has become more important. It doesnt mean youre not going to work on it, it

just means youre not going to work on it right now or very much.

You may hearback burnerwith the verbmoveorput’. Lets put that

on the back burner. Or simplyon’.

Lets look at a few more examples of how to use this idiom before we discuss how to

pronounce it.

Yeah, I have a lot going on. I should put some things on the back burner, but, I dont

really want to.

>> I had, just a big event at my work, and so now Ive got a lot on my plate to try

to deal with the post-event stuff as well as things that I had put on the back burner

while I was working on the event. >> Right.

Back burner. ‘Backis the most stressed syllable here. Baa-. It has a clear AA as

in BAT vowel. Lift your tongue in the back, aa, and lift your upper lip just a little

bit. Ba-. Back burner. We have a very soft K sound before the B. Back, kk, kk, kk. The

tongue goes up to the soft palate and releases, kk. Its not strong, KK, but pretty soft,

kk, kk. Back, back, back burner.

Burneris a two-syllable word with stress on the first syllable. But its not as stressed

as the wordback’. Lets take some of the energy out of the voice to give contrast

toback’. Back burner, burner, burner. Back burner. Since the first syllable wont

be too stressed, we can make the first and last syllables sound the same, ur, ur, with

a quick flip of the tongue for the N, -urner, -ner. UR, this vowel is a lot like the R consonant:

flare the lips, and pull the tongue tip back and up, ur, ur. This part of the tongue can

be either touching the roof of the mouth or the inside or bottom of the side teeth here,

urr. And the tongue tip doesnt touch anything. Urrrrnerrr. So the tongue just flaps up quickly

for the N -urner, then right back down into position for the UR again. This time, even

less energy is in the voice. Let the pitch go down, -ner, -er. This will give us the

right sound. -Urner, -urner. Burner, back burner. Back burner.

Lets look at the examples one more time.

Yeah, I have a lot going on. I should put some things on the back burner, but, I dont

really want to.

>> I had, just a big event at my work, and so now Ive got a lot on my plate to try

to deal with the post-event stuff as well as things that I had put on the back burner

while I was working on the event. >> Right.

Try it out. Think of a scenario where you could use the idiom and share it in the comments

below.

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The Description of Idiom "Back Burner" -- How to Use and Pronounce -- American English