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Word Reductions

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English speakers often shorten sounds and/or words in their speech. This is called REDUCTION. The words that are generally reduced are function words that don’t carry much meaning, such as pronouns (he, she, his, her, them), articles (a, an, the) and prepositions (in, to).
Listen to the audio below as you read the sentences.  When you become familiar with the sounds, download and take the quiz.

  1. I’m gonna buy that new car. I am going to buy that new car.
  2. How‘bout eating at Joe’s? How about eating at Joe’s?
  3. Couldya give’em this book? Could you give him this book?
  4. Tell’er we’ll be back tomorrow. Tell her we will be back tomorrow.
  5. Didya go last night? Did you go last night?
  6. You hafta pay your bills. You have to pay the bills.
  7. She hasta take the test yet. She has to take the test yet.
  8. Whadcha think about the new teacher? What do you think about the new teacher?
  9. Whadya do last night? What did you do last night?
  10. Do you wanna go shopping tomorrow? Do you what to go shopping tomorrow?

Because these words don’t carry as much meaning as content words, don’t worry if you don’t understand all of them.  It is more important for you just to know they are there, then to learn all of them.  In time you will understand more and more and be able to even use them in your speech.

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Reductions in Speech

English speakers often shorten sounds and/or words in their speech. This is called REDUCTION. The words that are generally reduced are function words that don’t carry much meaning, such as pronouns (he, she, his, her, them), articles (a, an, the) and prepositions (in, to). 
Below is just a short list of some of the more common reduced words.
  1. going to = gonna / I’m gonna buy that new car.
  2. how about = howbout / Howbout eating at Joe’s?
  3. him = ‘im / Couldya give’im this book?
  4. her = ‘er / Tell’er we’ll be back tomorrow.
  5. did you = didya / Didya go last night?
  6. have to = hafta / You hafta pay your bills.
  7. has to = hasta / She hasta taken the test yet.
  8. what do you = whatcha / Whatcha think about the new teacher?
  9. what did you = whadya / Whadya do last night?
  10. want to = wanna / Doya wanna go shopping tomorrow?

Because these words don’t carry as much meaning as content words, don’t worry if you don’t understand all of them.  It is more important for you just to know they are there then to learn all of them.  In time you will understand more and more and be able to even use them in your speech.

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Strategies: Listening to a Lecture

When a professor is giving an example for a teaching point and he or she wants to compare or contrast, they often use signal words.  To improve your listening skills, become familiar with the list below.

Words or Phrases Used to Compare

In addition, the neighboring countries in Africa also suffered from the drought.

Some businesses in Japan hold to traditional methods for doing business.  Likewise, some businesses in Korea as well hold to traditional practices for doing business.

Similar to Oregon, Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire, and Delaware have chosen not to impose a sales tax on their residents.

Words or Phrases Used to Contrast

Oregon does not impose a sales tax.  On the other hand, California requires its residents to pay six percent sales tax.

In contrast to the countries in Africa that are suffering from drought, countries in South America are under flood warning.

Unlike California, Oregon does not have a statewide sales tax.

Words or Phrases Used to Signal Examples

There are a number of states that do not impose a sales tax; for instance, Oregon and Alaska are two states that do not add a sales tax on items that are sold.

This year a number of states have suffered from droughts.  For example, both California and Texas have experience water shortage in the past three years.

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How to make a request

When making a request, we often change our language depending on who we are asking.

  1. If we are requesting a friend to do something, we might say, “Can you take this to the library, please?”
  2. If we are requesting a coworker to do something, we might say,“Would you mind taking this to the Library?” Or “Would you please take this to the library?”
  3. If we are requesting someone a superior to do something, we might say,  “I am sorry to bother you, but is there any chance you could take this to the library?”
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SPEAKING LIKE A PRO

Eye Contact

Body Language is critical when giving a speech. How we stand and what we do with our hands and eyes can determine to a large degree how well an audience receives our message. In a future post I will discuss more about body language in general, but for now I want to focus on eye contact.
In some cultures it is customary for people to avoid eye contact when speaking to others, especially those in authority.  However in the United States, good eye contact is essential for good communication.  When you maintain good eye contact with your audience, it does the following:
  • Shows you are honest and you mean what you say.  Poor eye contact can convey insincerity and dishonesty.
  • Encourages your audience to pay closer attention and be involved in your message. It also gives you feedback on how well they are understanding.
  • Conveys to your audience you have confidence in what you are saying.
What does it mean to have good eye contact?
It means shifting your focus from one person to another, making eye contact each time. Don’t stay on one person too long or else they may think you are singling them out.  A good rule to follow is make eye contact with one person for about 2 to 3 seconds, and then move to someone else.
NOTE: Along with good eye contact, a smile can also convey you are confident in what you are saying, and you are sincere about your message.