AIM: To recognise commonly produced words or phrases in their reduced form.
INTRODUCTION: When speaking informally, people often reduce or contract sounds. Most commonly, the words that are important to the meaning of a statement will remain unchanged but words that link or are functional will be shortened. Take the following statement for example:
I could have done that, you should have said something.
To pronounce every word clearly and separately may sound very formal. It would be more typically produced as
I ‘coulda’ done that, you ‘shoulda’ said something.
‘Have’ is replaced by a neutral vowel (called ‘schwa’). Words that are present for grammatical structure but don’t carry much meaning (these are called function words) are often reduced (such as the, have, of, to) and there is less emphasis given to them in spoken English. Commonly reduced function words in English are a, an, the, and, are, as, because, can, for, from, had, has, have, of, or, than, that, to, was.
Note that while reduction happens very commonly in spoken English, it is not appropriate in written English – the written forms are given here as a representation only and should not be used in writing.
INSTRUCTIONS: Select the form the speaker says in each of the following recordings.