In this episode we’re going to help you improve your pronunciation with linking sounds. How words join together in connected speech – because WE DO NOT SPEAK LIKE ROBOTS DO WE?
Audio message from Jose from Mexico.
Audio message from Mamen: doubt and hesitate
I doubt if we can help her. Why are you hesitating?
Doubt = dudar “I doubt if we’ll be making a special Christmas podcast this year.”
“I doubt that I’ll be eating turkey on Christmas day.”
“Did you have doubts about the consistency of this podcast when we first started?”
To doubt means to lack confidence in something; to disbelieve, question, or suspect.
To hesitate means to stop or pause before making a decision or doing something.
(dudar , vacilar)
Expressions with doubt
there is some doubt about it = sobre esto existen dudas
beyond doubt = fuera de duda
beyond all reasonable doubt = más allá de toda duda
to cast doubt on = poner en duda
to clear up sb’s doubts = sacar a algn de dudas
to have one’s doubts about sth = tener sus dudas acerca de algo
no doubt! = ¡sin duda!
to throw doubt on = poner en duda
without (a) doubt = sin duda (alguna)
to hesitate to do sth = dudar en hacer algo
“When I did a bungy jump, I hesitated before I jumped, but I had no doubt it was safe.”
Don’t hesitate to contact us, send Reza an email.
Don’t hesitate to ask us = no vaciles en pedírnoslo, no dejes de pedírnoslo
To hesitate before doing sth = dudar antes de hacer algo
What do you hesitate before doing?
Why do native English speakers connect their speech? We try to say the most we can in the shortest possible time.
English is a stress-timed language. Spanish is a syllable-timed language.
1 – 2 – 3 – 4
1 and 2 and 3 and 4
1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4
1 and then a 2 and then a 3 and then a 4
CATS CHASE MICE
the CATS CHASE MICE
the CATS CHASE the MICE
the cats will CHASE the MICE
the CATS will have CHASED the MICE
“here and there” Do you pronounce the ‘r’ at the end of ‘here’
“A doctor or a lawyer”
“We never ever thought we’d love podcasting”
“The biscuits are in the cupboard”
“This is a better episode than last week’s.”
Does the first word have to end in an ‘r’ sound, and the second begin with a vowel sound (like better and episode)?
law and order (‘r’ sound)
Pasta and cheese (‘r’ sound)
Go away (‘w’ sound)
No, I can’t (‘w’ sound)
She isn’t there (‘y’ sound)
Tea and biscuits (‘y’ sound)
Improve your speaking with an italki teacher
Consonant + vowel sound (link the sounds together when a consonant is followed by a vowel)
I need it = I needit
Say a word = saya word
Read a text = reada text
Consonant + consonant (if the consonant is the same sound, just pronounce it once)
Big girl = bigirl
Best teacher = besteacher
Good day = gooday (or G’day if you’re Australian!)
Take the fast train = fastrain
I needto stopeating chocolate = I need to stop eating chocolate.
Playa songon ya violin = Play a song on your violin.
Are ya gonna sitdown or standup? = Are you going to sit down or stand up?
Other examples – dictation
Wacha gonna do? = What are you going to do?
I’ve gotta geta lotavit = I’ve got to get a lot of it
She can’tavarrivedearly = She can’t have arrived early
Sendusanemail = send us an email
I’ve never bininafrica = I’ve never been in Africa (‘Nicola’s been in Benin, Africa’)
Wadaya do? = What do you do? (for a living)
Pickitupoff the floor = pick it up off the floor
He mustav eatenitall = He must have eaten it all
A similar thing happens in Spanish also – cortado, cuñado, pringado
…and now it’s your turn to practise your English. Do you have a question for us or an idea for a future episode?
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On next week’s episode: Adverbial clauses, linkers and conjunctions
The music in this podcast is by Pitx. The track is called ‘See You Later’
FULL TRANSCRIPTION (kindly contributed by Alberto from Granada)
In this episode, we’re going to help you improve your pronunciation with linking sounds, how words join together in connected speech, because we do not speak like robots, do we Reza?
And I’m Reza.
And if you’re a new listener to this podcast, welcome. With over 40 years of teaching experience between us, we’ll help you improve your English and take it to the next level. First, we have an audio message, Reza, from José from Mexico.
“Hello, good afternoon from Mexico. This is José and I just wanted to let you know that what you are doing is really important for me and for any other people that are trying to learn English or even improve their… the thing that… the thing that they already know. I just wanted to say thank you for that and keep doing it so we can keep listening to you, guys. Thank you, have a good night.”
Well, José, thank you very much for your praise. We are very grateful. We hope you keep on listening. Can I just pick up on, can I make a comment about, pick up on something you said, you said “the thing that we already know” or something like that. “The thing that”, you could have just said “what”. You could have said “We need to improve what we already know” because what means “the thing that”. But hey, your pronunciation is great and your intonation and I don’t think you made any mistake. Well done.
Yep. Thanks for your message, José, and we’re really pleased that, first you’re listening all the way from Mexico, and secondly, that you find our podcasts useful. Secondly, we have another audio message from Mamen about doubt and hesitate.
Oh, doubt and hesitate. Mamen, are all the doubting Thomas. A doubting Thomas is a person who has a lot of doubt, like… like Thomas, Saint Thomas did.
Is that where it comes from? Saint Thomas?
I didn’t know that. So, a doubting Thomas is from the Bible?
“Hi Creg, hi Reza. How are you doing? This is Mamen. Hey, I only want to say thank you because I was listening to your podcast in my way home and it’s the one about the seven words in Spanish or something like that. Seven or eight, I don’t remember. Well, you were speaking about the use of “ya” in Spanish and I didn’t realize that we use it so much, so it’s so funny. And Reza, you were fantastic in that podcast and Craig, as always, you are so amazing. And thank you very much and only want to ask you if you could help me with one issue that I have with the use of… the different uses of that two words: doubt and hesitate. Thank you very much. A big kiss and a big hug. Bye!”
Thank you, Mamen as always for your… your lovely compliments and your doubts about English. Reza, any comments?
Mamen, your message was very good, as always.
Her English is getting much better, isn’t it? Did you notice? It’s much, much better.
Yeah. If you think back, Mamen, to the first time you ever sent us an audio message, you… you’re much better now.
Go and listen, go and listen if you have them, to your first messages and you’ll see how much you’ve improved.
We think that you are on the way to success. Not “in”, “on”. I think you said “in my way to work”. Mamen, it should be “on my way”.
Yeah. “I was listening on my way to work”.
And you are on your way to success in English. I think there was another little mistake you made, a common mistake, though. So, let’s try and stop it. You said “that”, but you should say “those two…” I can’ remember. “Those two…” What was it? “Those two words”. Yes. Sorry. Now I have my doubts, Mamen. “Those two words…”
I’m hesitating, yeah? “Those two words”, because “words” is plural. So “those”. “That” can only be singular.
What she said, she said “that two words”, yeah?
Yeah. “Those two words”. The plural of “this”, “these”. And the plural of “that”, “those”. “Those two words”.
I’ve noticed that mistake as well with my first certificate students, which at that level was surprising me, especially when they’re writing, the difference between “this” and “these”, singular, plural, and “that” and “those”.
It doesn’t surprise me. I’m getting it a lot with my advanced C1 level students, mixing “this” and “these” all the time, all the time.
So, remember, “this” for singular and “those” for plural.
So, expressions with “doubt”. I doubt if we can help Mamen. Why are you hesitating, Reza?
A good question.
Doubt is “dudar”, so for example, “I doubt if we’ll be making a special Christmas podcast this year”.
Is that true?
What do you think? I don’t know.
Let’s think about it. We’ll think about it.
Because we did one last year, I think we did one previously as well. We’ll think about it, but I doubt if we’ll be making a special Christmas vocabulary podcast this year.
You can just look at the one from last year.
Because Christmas never really changes, does it?
A Christmas tree is always a Christmas tree and Santa Claus is always Santa Claus.
And those cheesy songs, “las canciones cutres”, they don’t change either, they keep repeating. Remember the songs we put on?
From the 1980s, yeah, showing our age. I doubt that I’ll be eating turkey on Christmas Day.
Oh, why not?
Because I don’t really celebrate Christmas and I don’t think I’ll be having a Christmas dinner, so I doubt if I’ll be having dinner. I doubt if I’ll be having turkey this year.
So, Craig doubts it, he thinks it probably won’t happen.
Right. Did you have doubts about the consistency of this podcast when we first started? Did you doubt that we’d be able to produce one every week?
I must admit I did. I had my doubts. I doubted it, yeah. You can also have your doubts. To have doubts is to doubt. I thought it wouldn’t be this successful. I’m quite surprised it is, but I’m delighted.
Me too. So, in all of those examples, “I doubt I’ll be eating turkey, “we had doubts… we didn’t have doubts about the consistency of the podcast”, you can’t use the word “hesitate”.
No, “hesitate” is just to do with waiting, isn’t it? Whereas “doubt” is to be unsure.
I would say, no? More or less?
Yeah. The… In the dictionary “to doubt” means to lack confidence in something, to disbelieve, to question or to suspect, and “to hesitate” means to stop or pause before making a decision or before doing something. The thing is in the dictionary “doubt” has the translation of “dudar” and so does “hesitate”, but “hesitate” has also a word that I didn’t know, which is “vacilar”. Did you know that word?
Yes, I’ve heard that word in Spanish, “vacilar”.
So, that’s “hesitate”, but can you use “vacilar” for “doubt”? I don’t think so.
Ahm… Maybe in a flexible translation you might… you might get away with it.
Depending on the context, maybe.
Anyway, some expressions with “doubt” that might be useful for Mamen and other listeners. How about, Reza, if you say the Spanish for these expressions, because your pronunciation is better than mine, and then we’ll leave a couple of seconds for the listeners to try and say the English before I do?
Does that sound like a plan?
That’s a good idea.
Okay. Expressions with “doubt”.
– Sobre esto existen dudas – There is some doubt about it
– Fuera de duda – Beyond doubt
– Más allá de toda duda – Beyond all reasonable doubt
– Poner en duda – To cast doubt on
– Sacar a alguien de dudas – To clear up somebody’s doubts
– Tener sus dudas acerca de algo – To have one’s doubts about something
– Sin duda – No doubt
And can you give me another translation of “sin duda”, maybe “sin duda alguna”?
Without any doubt?
And what about another translation of “poner en duda”?
To throw doubt on.
So earlier we had “to cast doubt on”, but you can also say “to throw doubt on something”.
All of these collocations with their translations you can find at inglespodcast.com/132. Let’s look at “hesitate”.
Well, as we often say, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. You can send me an email, send Craig an email, send us a voice message. Don’t hesitate. No, no…
No dudes. No vaciles. Hazlo.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch. I have an example, I think, showing the difference of “hesitate” and “doubt”. Do you… Did I tell you ever that I did a bungee jump when I was in New Zealand a few years ago?
Yes, that’s right.
So, obviously a bungee jump, which is “hacer puenting” in Spanish… I did a bungee jump, which was a bit scary, and obviously, just the moment before I jumped off of a bridge, I hesitated. I didn’t jump without thinking. I stood there. I looked down and I was like “Oh, no”. I hesitated. I hesitated for a few seconds, but it was very safe, everybody there was very conscientious, which means they were very careful about safety. I had no doubt it was safe, so I hesitated before jumping, but I had no doubt that it was a safe thing to do. I trusted the company.
So, as we said earlier, you shouldn’t hesitate if you want to contact us, and don’t hesitate to ask us anything you want. No vaciles en pedírnoslo. Don’t hesitate to ask us.
Is there anything you hesitate before doing?
Mmm… Ahm… Answering your questions?
You hesitated there for a few minutes, a few seconds.
Ah forgive me, I couldn’t resist. It was there for the taking. I had to do that.
So, thank you for your question, Mamen. We hope that we’ve cleared up your doubts between “doubt” and “hesitate”, but if it isn’t clear, please let us know and we’ll… we’ll try again in another episode.
If you are in any doubt, please tell us.
Don’t hesitate to contact us.
Connected speech. Let’s move on to speak a little about connected speech. Why do native English speakers connect their speech? It’s very difficult, isn’t it? When you’re first learning English to understand what English people are saying, English speakers are saying, mainly because of connected speech, but also because English is a stress-timed language. You may have heard that before. You may have heard people say Spanish is syllable-timed, like French and Italian and Brazilian, but English is stress-timed, which means that the stress on words are very important. Some words you hear very clearly, and some words kind of disappear.
Can I just up stop there? Wow wow… Are you sure Brazilian is syllable-timed? Brazilian Portuguese?
Brazilian, mainland Portuguese is, I think, we’d have to check this, but I think Portuguese from Portugal is…
Stress-timed as far as I know.
Stress-timed, but in Brazil I think it’s syllable-timed.
Oh, is that the difference?
I’m not sure, but I’ll have to check that. I think so. I think there’s a difference between them.
Because I know people often liken, that means they compare, Portuguese to English, whereas they don’t so much for Spanish, even though they’re very similar.
I don’t know. Because… being stressed-timed, it’s easy to adapt a Portuguese into English music and vice versa, because it’s stress-timed. Not so easy with Spanish, but it’s easily done with Portuguese because it’s a stress-timed language, as far as I know.
And because of the rhythm yeah.
For example, if I said these numbers:
“One, two, three, four
then one and two and three and four
one and a two and a three and a four
one and then a two and then a three and then a four”
The time it takes me to say that is more or less the same because the other words are not stressed. Another example:
“Cats chase mice”
You hear “cats” and “mice” that are stressed, but the “chase” is a bit softer. If I add more words, then you’ll notice that the time it takes me to say the sentences is more or less the same. Listen:
“Cats chase mice”
“The cats chase mice”
“The cats chase the mice”
“The cats will chase the mice”
I put “will” in there.
“The cats will chase the mice”
“The cats will have chased the mice”
The last two sentences, “the cats will chase the mice” becomes “the cats will chase the mice”. And the last sentence, “the cat will have chased the mice”, “the cats will have chased the mice”. Listen: “the cats will have chased the mice”. So, those weak forms mean that English is really difficult to understand.
And that’s how you can identify Craig as a native speaker, because he said “will have a chased”. Only foreigners say “will have chased”. If you… That’s how we know you’re a foreigner.
Stressing each individual word.
You give too much importance to the unimportant words, and we hear it in your pronunciation, whereas we instinctively know as native speaker which words to stress. We know that the main verb is the most important thing, “chased”, but it is important to get the right form, “will have chased”, but “chase” is the main thing, so it’s “will have chased”, and our brains as native speakers kind of fills in the bits we don’t hear very well. “Will have chased”, we know it’s “will have”. We work it out quickly, but we understand that for you it’s difficult to know what those words, “will have”, are. It’s difficult for you to know that there “will have”. For us it’s easy.
That’s right. And it’s not only the individual stress on words that make English difficult to understand. It’s also when words connect together, when one particular sound follows another. For example, these three words: “here and there”, “here and there”. When there’s an “R” sound followed by a vowel, they very often come together. Listen: “here and there”, “here and there”, “here and there”. Can you think of any more examples? “More examples”. “More examples”. It sounds like one word: “more examples”.
So, Craig’s pronouncing the “R” there. We just want to point that out because you… you might not be surprised that he’s pronouncing the R because as Spanish speakers you expect him to pronounce the R because you always pronounce the R, but the thing is he wouldn’t normally pronounce the R in the word “more”, but because it’s “more examples”, he is pronouncing the R. So usually he wouldn’t, but when he joins the word “more” with the second word beginning with a vowel sound, “examples”, in that case he pronounces the R.
And that’s clearer in the next example. Listen: “A doctor or a lawyer”. Listen: “A doctor or a lawyer”. “A doctor or a lawyer”.
In connected speech that almost sounds like one word. If you can imagine there’s a strange language, let’s call it Unga Bunga, and there’s a word called… and there’s a word called “a doctor or a lawyer”. Well, maybe it’s two words: “a… doctor or a lawyer”, “doctor or a lawyer”. It sounds like it’s one word, doesn’t it? “Doctor or a lawyer”.
“Doctor or a lawyer”.
But it’s not. It’s “doctor or a lawyer”. It’s four words, but we would tend to squeeze them all together in connected speech and it sounds like one word. I often get my students saying to me: Oh Reza, what is “doctor or a lawyer”? They think it’s a word. I have to say no, no, it’s four. Can you… can you break it up? But they find it very difficult.
Yes, they do. Another example, when you have “never” and “ever” together. So “never ever”. For example: “We never ever thought we’d love podcasting”.
But we do.
But we do. Can you think of any “other examples”? “Other examples”?
Yeah, very good. “The biscuits are in the cupboard”.
“Are in”. So normally it would be “are in”. But, by the way, I’m making an effort to say “are”, like the dictionary, because I wouldn’t normally say it that way, but let’s go with standard British English. The “are” is normally with a silent R, but if you combine it with the word beginning with a vowel, then it’s “are in”, and it sounds like a word, “are in”, “are in”. “The biscuits are in the cupboard”.
“The biscuits are in the cupboard”. Also “the biscuits are”, that was also connected, we’ll speak about that in a second, but because “biscuits” finishes with a consonante, consonant, and “are” begins with a vowel sound, it joins together. “Biscuits are in”, “biscuits are in the cupboard”.
Oh, you’re right! I hadn’t thought about that. It’s actually the three words joined, isn’t it? It’s not “are in”, it’s “biscuits are in”.
Right, but at the moment we’re focusing on the R sound and the vowel sound. In a second we’ll speak more about consonants and vowels joining together.
But biscuits… “biscuits are in”, it sounds to me like… I wonder if at least it could help me, but if there were a word “biscuitsarein”, it would be a Finnish word, I reckon. It sounds Finnish to me. “Biscuits are in”? Could…could be Finnish. Is “biscuits are in” a Finnish word? I don’t know.
I don’t know
In English, it’s three words, but when you say it in connect speech, “the biscuits are in”, it… to me it sounds like a possibly a Finnish word, in isolation.
But there’s one thing that’s for sure: when Reza comes here to do a podcast and we make tea, the biscuits are finished.
Yes, I make sure of that.
There’s none left. The biscuits are ‘Finnish’ (finished).
I have no doubt about that. I’m going to finish all the biscuits.
One more example. “This is a better episode than last week’s” becomes “this is a better episode”. Again, joining the R and the E of “episode”, so “this is a better episode than last week’s”.
Yes. Having said that, everything we’ve just told you about pronunciation, you can forget about it and pay no attention whatsoever if you’re interested in American English, because in American English, they always pronounce the letter R anyway, so it doesn’t make any difference. But we’re not American, so in British English we normally say “here”.
Right. But they also have this feature in American English, so this is the same whatever, I think, whatever accent you have.
No, I just meant you can forget it as regards the letter R.
As regards the letter R. Yes, of course Americans say things like “biscuits are in”, you know? But…
They say “cookies are in”.
Yeah, “cookies are in” they would say. But my point is regarding the letter R, I’m only referring to the letter R, because the letter R is the one that quite often suddenly gets pronounced when you… when you connect it. In an American accent, you always pronounce the letter R anyway, so you always say… you always say “are”, “the biscuits are in”, “are”, you know? “Who are you?” But in British standard English you normally say “are”, but you only pronounce the R in the word “A-R-E”, whenever you’re connecting it.
Americans and pirates.
Speaking of R, there’s another R sound in expressions like “law and order”. “Law and order”. Say that, Reza, for us.
I think I’m probably not going to do what you want. But I’m going to say…
Say that normally, just say it naturally in your lovely Belfast accent.
“Law and order”.
Yeah, you said it. “Law and order”. It comes together. “Law and order”.
Yeah, but I reckon you put more R sound than me. You said:
“Law and order”.
Yeah. Curiously, it’s something I’ve noticed that people with English accents, when they say “law and order”, put more R sound than people with Irish or American accents.
Say it again.
“Law and order”.
“Law and order”.
You’re putting in more R sound than me, strangely.
Well, let’s see what our listeners say. Who do you think says the R sound more?
We’re talking about, in the “law and”, “law and”.
“Law and”. Yeah.
I say more of the R in “order” at the beginning and the end. Just say the word O-R-D-E-R.
Order. Yeah, you do, you do. That’s true.
Right, but in the middle there, you say… when you connect the speech, you put in more R than me. Say, in “law and order” just say the first two words.
“Law and”. Again?
“Law and”. You put more R than me.
You also pronounced the D.
Yeah. It’s curious, but I’ve noticed that before, that… if anything in that case, English south-eastern English accents put in more R than Brit… than Irish or American, curiously.
To make up for the other R’s they don’t pronounce, perhaps. I don’t know.
But what’s interesting with these words, there’s no R there! If you look at “L-A-W A-N-D”, there’s no R, but you pronounce an R when you connect them. “Law and order”. There’s another expression that comes to mind: “Pasta and cheese”. Say it, Reza, please.
“Pasta and cheese”.
You didn’t, you didn’t do it.
Yeah, it’s my point.
Oh, that’s really interesting!
I probably did it a bit, but you do it more because I’ve noticed that in English accents it’s more. I’ll say it again: “Pasta and cheese”.
You don’t do it at all.
I think… I think it’s to do with the vowel sound because in the… “pasta”, my… my letter A of “pasta” at the end probably doesn’t come out the same as yours. “Pasta and cheese”.
Let me say it: “Pasta and cheese”.
You put in more R sound, yeah.
Pasta and cheese.
Pasta and cheese.
That’s so interesting.
Yeah. I’ve noticed that before, it’s not… Believe me, it’s not just me, it’s a… it’s a general phenomenon and if you ask an American, you’ll get less R sound as well than a… than a standard British accent. It’s curious.
But let me say this. What’s important for you, dear listener, is not that you pronounce these words like I do, or like Reza does. It’s that you understand when you hear these words and expressions what you’re hearing. So “law and order” is “law and order” and “pasta and cheese” is “pasta and cheese”.
Another sound that intrudes (this is called “intrusion” in English in linguistics, another sound that doesn’t exist when you write the words, but you hear it when you say it) is the W sound in words like “go – away”. “Go away”.
“Go away”. We agree with that?
We agree with that one for sure. We’re putting in like an extra W sound between the O of “go” and the A of “away”. “Go away”. “Go wa…”, exaggerating it, “go-w-away”.
It becomes one word, “go away”. Another example: “No, I can’t”. Try that, Reza.
“No, I can’t”.
Yep, it’s there. The W is there. “No, I can’t”. “No, I… No, I can’t”.
Instead of saying I, it sounds like W.
There’s a W, no, no I. “No, I can’t”.
Not very strong, but it’s there. It’s there.
Say it again?
“No, I can’t”.
“No, I can’t”.
Yeah, we both do it.
Another intrusive sound, or a sound that isn’t there really until you speak: “she isn’t there”, “she isn’t there”. There’s a Y sound, a Y, a Y sound between the “she” and the “isn’t”. Listen: “She isn’t there”.
“She isn’t there”.
Yeah, we agree with that too. “Tea and biscuits”. “Tea and biscuits”.
“Tea and biscuits”.
“Tea and biscuits”. Between “tea” and “and”, the Y sound. “Tea and”, “tea and”. And what’s more, you join it together and it sounds like a word: “tea and, “tea and”.
“Tea and”. Would you like some tea and biscuits?
Actually, I would. After this podcast, I wouldn’t say no.
One of the best ways to understand and recognize these pronunciation differences is to speak with a native speaker, and there’s no better way than with our sponsor, Italki. Italki is an Internet website where you can find and learn with professional online teachers from all over the world. Australians, Americans, Irish, British… whatever pronunciation you would like to learn with, you can find a teacher from that part of the world. Italki is a very affordable service because it’s not a language school. It puts you in touch directly with the teacher, and it’s a very convenient way to study because you can study more or less when you have free time. There’s a wide variety, there’s a huge range of teachers available through Italki, and you could book them at a time that’s convenient for you. If you would like more information, go to inglespodcast.com/italki and Reza and I would like to say thank you to Italki for sponsoring Aprender inglés con Reza y Craig.
Let’s go on with some more and strange features of connected speech when we talk. Let’s talk about consonants plus vowels. Quite often, when you have a consonant sound followed by a vowel, they seem to join up and form one sound, like “I need it”. “I need it”. “Need it”, “need it” joins up, because “need” ends with a consonant, D, and “it” begins with a vowel I, and what’s more, the two words are very connected in meaning, the verb “need” and the object “it”, so it’s natural to join them up and speech. “I need it”.
Yeah, we had that before, didn’t we? With “the biscuits are in the cupboard”. “The biscuits”, consonant (consonante), S, and “are”, R, “biscuits are in”, “biscuits are in the cupboard”. And again, consonant D with I, “need it”, really becomes one word, doesn’t it? “I need it”.
Other examples are “say a word”, that Y sound in the middle. “Say a word”. So normally in the word “say” there is no Y sound, although the letter Y is written, right? But it’s pronounced “say”. But when you follow it with A, then the letter Y gets pronounced as Y. “Say a word”. “Say a word”.
“Say a word”.
Or “Read a text”. “Read a text”. “Read a” sounds like one word, but it’s not. It’s “read a”, but in connected speech, “read a text”.
And if you’ve got two consonants together, dos consonantes, then just pronounce it once. For example: “big girl”, “big” finishes with G, and girl begins with G. “Big girl”. “She’s a big girl”. Just one sound.
Craig is a big girl’s blouse. The expression “a big girl’s blouse” is like “un blandengue”. I’m joking. He’s not really.
And Reza is the best teacher in Valencia. Actually, in the world.
Oh, no no no no.
You’re the best teacher in all the podcasts. “Best teacher”. Two T’s, just use one T. “Best teacher”. “Best teacher”.
Craig, if you´re in Australia and you heard “g’day”, what are they really saying?
They’re really saying “good day”. And if you say that in the normal British accent, you’d probably just use one D, so “good day”, “good day”.
And if you add that to the strange Australian accent, if you’re not familiar with it, you honestly would find it quite hard to understand them. “G’day, sport”.
“G’day”. “G’day, mate”.
And in an Australian accent, by the way, there’s even less R sound than in a standard British English accent, so “sport” is like saying “mate”, “friend”, “hello, pal”. “Majo” in Spanish. But instead of “sport”, it comes out in an Australian accent as “sport”.
“Sport”. “G’day, sport”.
“G’day, sport”. No R sound at all. “G’day, sport! I was just driving in my car”. “Ka” is “car” in Australian accent. It is if it was written K-A, “ka”, “in mee ka”. We’ll talk about Australian accents more another day. It’s a world of its own, isn’t it?
It is, it is. One final example of two consonants together. “Fast train” becomes “fast train”, so “take the fast train”.
Craig, have you anything to say about your relationship with chocolate?
Yes, I need to stop eating chocolate. Oh, that was difficult, wasn’t it? “Need to” becomes “needta”. Again, weak form on the “to” becomes “ta”. “I needta”. “Stop eating”, the two words connect because “stop” ends in a consonant and “eating” begins with a vowel, so “stop eating” and “chocolate”. Remember, “chocolate” has two syllables, not three. Two syllables. Cho-colate. So, the sentence: “I need to stop eating chocolate”.
It’s quite difficult…
Difficult for a non-native speaker to understand. Can you give us another example? You play the violin, don’t you?
Play a song on the violin.
Oh no, not now, but I promise in a podcast coming up soon I will. I will play a song on my violin.
I will, I will.
“Play a song on your violin”, which is “play-a-song-on-your-violin”. So “play a”, again that W sound and the vowel sound, so “play a”. “Song on”, consonant and vowel, “song on”. “Your” becomes Y. “Violin”. “Play a song on your violin”. Again, very difficult to understand.
Craig… mmm…. varies how he does the podcast. Sometimes he does it sitting, sometimes he does it standing. Are you going to sit down or stand up?
Ohhh, what did you just say there? “What didya”. “What didya”. “What did you”, “What did you just say there”.
So, I’m asking, in the next podcast, are you going to sit down or stand up?
“Are you going to?” “Going to” becomes “gonna”. “Are you going to sit down or stand up?” “Stand up”, one word. “Sit down”, one word. “Are you going to sit down or stand up?”. Wow!
And if you want to give someone an order, or if you want them just to be comfortable in English, and you want to say “siéntate”, you can say “sit down”, and we don’t bother to pronounce the T from “sit”. It kind of merges with the D. “Sit down”.
That’s right. “Sit down”. “Sit down and shut up”.
Well, that’s not so polite.
Let’s do some dictation. What I’d like to do is ..er..we’re going to say some questions or sentences in normal speed, normal English, with some of these pronunciation features that we’ve mentioned, and Reza will say it once, I will say it once, normal speed. You try to write it, write it down. Take a pen and paper, take a pen and paper now, and write down what you hear and then we’ll say the sentences and questions very slowly so you can check what you have. Okay? When you’re ready, Reza.
Wacha gonna do?
Wacha gonna do?
What are you going to do?
I’ve gotta geta lotavit
I’ve gotta geta lotavit. Very difficult. I’ve (I have) I’ve got to get a lot of it. I’ve gotta geta lotavit.
She can’t (cannot) can’t, she can’t have arrived early, arrived early.
That’s a bit easy, I think. Listen again.
Send us, becomes “sendus”, an email, “anemail”.
I’ve never bininafrica.
I’ve never bininafrica.
I’ve (I have) I’ve never been in Africa. “Been”, “been” becomes “been”. “Been” finishes with a consonant, “in” begins with a vowel, so “binin”. And “in” finishes with a consonant and “Africa” begins with a vowel sound. “Bininafrica”. “I’ve never been in Africa”.
Before we go on, can we just remind people of an episode… of an episode we did quite a while ago with the help of Nicola, a colleague at the British Council, and if you recall, let me get ready for this one. If you recall, “Nicola’s binin beninafrica”.
What did you just say?
Nicola’s been in Benin, Africa.
Nicola’s been in Benin, Africa. In Benin.
Do you understand me?
Yeah, I understand you.
Nicola has been in Benin, which is the name of a country, Benin, in Africa. “Nicola’s binin beninafrica”.
I’ll say it again: “Nicola’s binin beninafrica”.
That might be difficult for someone to… a native speaker to understand without context.
Yeah, it’s the sort of thing [that] would make a native speaker laugh.
Would you say “wadaya do” or wacha do”?
It depends how I feel. “Wadaya do”, “wachado”… Sometimes “wadaya”, sometimes “wacha”.
“What do you do?”. “Wadaya do?” “What – do – you – do?”. Very common question. It means what do you do for a living, what’s your job. “What do you do?”, or “wadaya do”. “What do you do?”
Next one. “Pickitupoff the floor”.
“Pickitupoff the floor”.
“Pickitup off the floor”.
“Pickitup off the floor”. “Pick – it – up – off – the – floor”. “The” becomes “da”, really weak. “Pick it”, “pick it” comes together. “Pick it up”. “Pick it up off the floor”. Next one.
“He mustav eatenitall”.
“He mustav eatenitall”. “He – must – have – eaten – it – all”. “Eaten it”, the N and the vowel sound come together. “Eaten”, “eaten it”, “eaten it all”. The “it” and the “all” come together, “eatenitall”. And “must have”, the perfect “have” puts the modal verb in the past, but it’s very, very weak, and it’s very difficult to understand in spoken English. “Must have” becomes “mustav”, “mustav”. And because V is a consonant sound, “eaten” begins with a vowel sound, so that joins together as well. “He mustav eatenitall”. “He mustav eatenitall”.
This feature of dropping sounds, missing sounds, is similar in Spanish with words like “cortado”, which is sometimes pronounced “cortao”, and “cuñado” which is sometimes pronounced “cuñao”. Can you think of any other features of Spanish that make… because we’re lazy, aren’t we? Speakers are lazy and we say it as quickly as possible. Are there any other features of Spanish that you can think of?
There’s one particular word which makes me laugh because it’s pretty much (pretty much means more or less) obligatory not to pronounce one of the letters in this word in Spanish. Only a non-Spaniard would. Un “pringao”. Un “pringado”. No one pronounces the D, ever, in that word. I’ve never heard a Spanish person ever say “pringado”. It’s “pringao”.
Obligatory not to pronounce the D.
What does it mean?
A hopeless case, a useless person, and it has to be pronounced that way. And even better if you…
Es un pringao.
Yeah. Even better if you don’t pronounce some other letters in the same sentence. “Ere’ un pringao”. It’s much better than “eres un pringado”. “Eres un pringado” would make someone laugh. “Ere’ un pringao, tío”. It has to be like that.
So even though Spanish is a syllable-timed language, you still get those features of missing sounds and pronunciation curiosities.
In the south of Spain, people who have children, sons or daughters, they don’t have “hijos”, they have “hijos”, “mis’hijo”, “mi’ijo”.
And doesn’t “más o menos” become “maomenos”?
“Lo hago todo por mi’ hijo”. “Mis hijos”. The S disappears, as you know, quite… quite often in certain Spanish accents. Final S’s disappear.
Thank you for listening, and I think we’ll wrap it up there. So, it’s now your turn to practice your English. If you have a question for us or an idea for a future episode, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, and you can reach us as usual on speakpipe (that’s S P E A K P I P E) .com/inglespodcast or send us an email with a comment or question to me, Craig at inglespodcast.com…
… or to me, at email@example.com.
And if you’d like more detailed shownotes, go to patreon.com/inglespodcast. And we’d like to thank our lovely sponsors who are, Reza:
Lara, Carlos, Zara, Mamen, Juan, Sara, Corey Fineran from Ivy Envy podcast, Manuel, Jorge, Raúl, Rafael, Daniel and Manuel Tarazona.
Thank you all of you for your continued support, and on next week’s episode, we’ll be speaking about adverbial clauses, linkers and conjunctions. So, don’t miss that one. Thank you for listening, and until next week. It’s goodbye from me.
And it’s laters from me.
The music in this podcast is by Pitx. The track is called ‘See You Later’.
Reza, how are you doing?
I’m sorry, Craig. I have not been programmed to answer that question.
We started on the right foot.
How am I doing? Oh, you’re asking Reza, not robot Reza. Oh, real Reza is…
I heard a lot of R’s in my time down in Devon. Tractor, and that sort of thing. Tractor, tractor, tractor, tractor. That’s it. Tractor. Oh hello, if you’re listening, Becky, …aarrrr…me hearties!
But down in Cornwall they say “tractor” or something like that. They say “tha”. That’s a weird… that’s a weird Devon and Cornwall thing, the T disappears in “that”. “I don….I don’t like that’”. That’s very Devon. “don’t like that’”..
Speaking of tea, do you want a cup?
No, no. Thanks.