Sound Reductions

Another item that can be a source of confusion and frustration for beginning learners of English are reductions. Reductions occur when sounds are reduced or completely eliminated in words when spoken. Reductions are very common in speech and some of the more common reductions are described below.

  Reductions of ‘of’:

There are three changes the can occur with the word ‘of’.             
     A. The ‘o’ in of is often pronounced using the schwa sound- uh.

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 some of  becomes   some uh                   He likes some of the books becomes                He likes some uh the books. 
        B. If a vowel follows ‘of’ it is often pronounced with a schwa + v (uhv)

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most of becomes most uhv          Most of all, you can’t drink becomes               Most uhv all, you can’t drink.
        C. If the sound of the letter before ‘of’ is a ‘t’ there is a flap in addition to the reduction.

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 ouf of becomes oud dah         He’s out of money                   becomes                                 He’s oud dah money. 

    Reductions of ‘and’   

     And is often reduced to ‘n’.

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 movies and books becomes movies n books                                                I like movies and books becomes         I like movies n books.

   Reductions of ‘or’  

     Or is often reduced to ‘r’.

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pencil or pen becomes a pencil r pen.                                                   Either a pencil or pen becomes             Either a pencil r a pen will do.

   Reductions of ‘for’  

    For is often reduced and changed to fer

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 for lunch becomes what’s fer lunch.                                                    What’s for lunch becomes         What’s fer lunch?
   Reduction of ”going to’        Going to becomes gonna.

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I’m going to eat dinner                                                                 becomes            I’m gonna eat dinner.         
   Reduction of ‘want to’      Want to becomes wanna.

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I want to read a book                                                        becomes                  I wanna read a book.

   Reduction of ‘have to’   

     Have to becomes hafta.

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Most people have to work                                                 becomes                           Most people hafta work.

   Reduction of ‘has to’   

     Has to becomes hasta.

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John has to fix his car                                                                becomes              John hasta fix his car.

   Reduction of ‘h’ 

     In function words that begin with the letter ‘h’, the ‘h’ sound is often dropped. Function words are the least important words in a sentence. (see section on Rhythm)

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 why have becomes why have     (… why ave…)                                        Why have you come here?

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is he becomes is he        ( …is e…)                                                         What is he doing in the kitchen?

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love him becomes love him.       (…love im…)                                          She did not love him.



Sound changes with common words- www.pronunciationtips.com