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Unit 37. A Piece of Cheese.

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Pronouncing Short Words (a, of, or)

Unit 37; Part A

Short words like articles (a, the), conjunctions (and, or) and prepositions (to, of) are usually unstressed. Listen to this chant. Every line has the stress pattern oOoO. They have this rhythm because the first and third words are all unstressed. These words are: some, and, a, of, for, the, to, or, as.
37.1.jpg

Unit 37; Part B

 
idea.jpgImportant for listening!
Listen again to the chant in A. Notice that the vowels in all the unstressed syllables are pronounced the same. This sound is written as /∂/ in the phonemic alphabet (see Unit 7). Also, in fast speech, the consonant sounds after the vowel in these words may not be pronounced. In this case, and sounds like an, and of sounds like a. Listen to these examples.

and sounds like an:
an apple and an orange and an onion
of sounds like a:
a bit of this and a bit of that

You don't need to copy the fast speech pronunciation. People will understand you if you use careful speech. But you need to be able to understand fast speech.
note.jpgNote: The consonant sound in of is not dropped when the following word begins with a vowel, for example some of each.
 

Unit 37; Part C

The vowel sound in to and the is different if the following word begins with a vowel. In this case, to changes from /t∂/ to /tu/, and the changes from /ð∂/ to /ði/. Listen to the difference.

We need water to drink and food tо eat
I'll have the fish, and the apple pie for dessert.

 



Exercises

flag.jpgWhat are the things in the picture? Write them in the correct column according to the rhythm (there are two phrases in each column). Use these words: bowl, bottle, jar, pocket, bag, pot, carton, kilo. Then say the phrases aloud.
Key. 37.3.jpg 
37.2.jpg
oOoO             
oOoOo            
oOooO           
oOooOo         

 A bowl of soup

 

 

 

 

flag.jpgIn these sentences, both of the words in italics are possible and they sound similar in fast speech. Listen and circle the word you hear.
Key.1 and
2 an
3 for
4 of
5 and
6 to
7 a
8 some
9 for
10 of


1    I had a salad as / and a main course.   
2    Give her an /some egg if she's hungry.   
3    She went to look at / for the fruir.   
4    He gave me a basket of / for bread.   
5    Get some pasta and / or rice.  
6    I like the / to cook.
7    She ordered a / the soup.
8    Have some / an orange juice.
9    He invited me at / for lunch.
10  He made this jar for / of jam himself.
flag.jpgListen and fill the gaps. Then listen, check and repeat. Make sure you keep the same rhythm: oOoO.
Key.1 it's time for lunch
2 some egg and chips
3 the bag of nuts
4 to drink and eat
5 to cook some rice
6 as fast as that
7 a meal for two
8 the box of food
9 some fish or meat

Example:
        a  glass  of  milk
1    _____ time _____ lunch   
2    _____ egg _____ chips   
3    _____ bag _____ nuts  
4    _____ drink _____ eat   
5    _____ cook _____ rice
6    _____ fast _____ that
7    _____meal _____ two
8    _____ box _____ food
9    _____ fish _____ meat
flag.jpgThink of a computer which people speak into and it writes what they say. This computer wrote these sentences incorrectly. Write the correct sentences.
Key. 1 We had a nice cup of tea.
2 I don't want to go out tonight.
3 I need a drink of water.
4 We cooked a chicken.
5 He can't cook a meal.
6 Have an ice-cream!
7 Come in and sit down.

Example:   We had beans an rice.    We had beans and rice.  
1    We had a nice cup a tea.  _____________________
2    I don't want a go out tonight.  _____________________
3    I need a drinker watec.  _____________________
4    We cook to chicken.  _____________________
5    He can't cooker meal.  _____________________
6    Have a nice cream!  _____________________
7    Come in an sit down.  _____________________
 
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