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Watch the video and read the news for April 9, 2012 to study American English pronunciation.
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Religion in the U.S.


In the United States, over 80% of people align themselves with a religious denomination. Of these, 40% attend services weekly. These numbers vary depending on region. For example, in the south, often called the "Bible Belt," over 85% are religious while in the west the number is over 50%. The majority of Americans are Christians of protestant or catholic denominations. 

Religion has strong roots in the U.S. Many of the original colonists came to this country to establish religious communities. The first amendment of the Constitution states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..." This means that religious freedom and tolerance are basics of American law. In daily life, though, tolerance has not always been practiced at the level we know today. For instance, the families of Catholics and Protestants used to forbid young people from inter-marrying.

The law protects religion and also creates the separation of church and state. The basic idea is that when government and religion go together, both can become corrupt. Many issues in American law and politics involve interpretations of this idea. For instance, there has been ongoing controversy as to whether schools should teach evolution, creationism or both. 

Answer the questions on pronunciation.

1. The word "religion" sounds like:
a. re-LI-jee-un
b. RE-li-jee-un

c. re-LI-jun

2. The word "Christian" sounds like:
a. KRIS-chun
b. kris-TEE-un
c. KRIS-tee-an

3. In which words do the letter A sound the same?
a. basics, American, law
b. instance, families, Catholics, Protestants
c. align, attend, American, amendment

4. Which words have an O that is reduced (sounds like "u" in "up")?
a. majority, Protestant, Catholic, denomination
b. original, communities, corrupt, freedom
c. ongoing, controversy, evolution, both

5. Which words have a short O sound (like the O in "hot")?
a. constitution, congress, tolerance, Protestants
b. politics, involve, ongoing, both

c. ongoing, controversy, schools, evolution

6. In which word do we often leave out
 one sound/syllable?
a. Protestant
b. Catholic
c. denomination

see answers at the bottom of the page

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Answers: 1. c, 2. a, 3. c, 4. b, 5. a, 6. b (can sound like "KATH-lik")