Unit 23. Calculate.
Vowels in Unstressed Syllables in Content Words
|Vowels in stressed syllables of a content word are usually pronounced in the same way whether they are made prominent or not (see also Unit 10):
A: Is she a DOCtor? /dokt∂/
B: NO, her SISter's a doctor. /dokt∂/
The vowel in a one-syllable content word doesn't change its pronunciation, although the vowel in a one-syllable function word can (see Unit 21):
content word: It's a big CAT. /big/ It's really BIG. /big/
function word: It's for you. /f∂/ but: WHAT'S it FOR? /fo:/
|However, the vowels in unstressed syllables of a content word can vary
a lot. In slow, careful speech the vowel may have its full form, but
in normal speech these vowels are often reduced to /∂/ (or sometimes for /ι/). For example, 'calendar' can be said /kælιnd∂/ or /kæl∂nd∂/; the second vowel varies from /ι/ to /∂/. Here are some more words which have variable vowels in unstressed syllables.
It is not essential to reduce these vowels in your own speech in order to be understood, although reduced vowels usually sound more natural and fluent.
Important for listening!
In some words, when an unstressed syllable ending in a vowel is followed by another unstressed syllable beginning with a vowel, the two syllables may merge into one. This only happens in normal speech; in slow, careful speech both syllables are said:
slow speech: casual /kæ3.ju.el/ = three syllables
normal speech: casual /kæ3.j∂l/ = two syllables
Other words like this include:
virtual, actual, adverbial, colonial, studious, obedient, ingredient, gradient
Listen and compare the pronunciation of these words, first said
slowly and carefully, and then used in normal speech. In which words
does the pronunciation of the highlighted vowel sound change (write C),
and in which is there no change (write NC)? (Some of these words are
given in B opposite.)
Now listen again and repeat, first the words alone and then the sentences with the words in context.
You will hear short definitions. After each definition, press
'pause', choose an answer from the box and say it aloud. (Use slow,
careful speech.) When you press 'play' again you will hear the correct
|Use the words from exercise 2 to complete these sentences.
Example: The graph goes from zero to infinity . (/ιn'fιn∂ti/)
1 I was late again and my boss was __________ with me.
2 He was a __________ boy who was happiest when he was reading.
3 Since he appeared on TV he's become a bit of a __________.
4 The country used to be an important __________ power.
5 The __________ of people didn't bother to vote in the election.
6 I want you to underline the __________ in each sentence.
7 Honey's the main __________ in the sauce.
8 Just out of __________, how old are your sisters?
9 It seemed to defy the laws of __________.
10 Because of the snow, we were __________ prisoners in our own home.
Now say the sentences aloud (with the words you have written pronounced as in normal speech). Then listen and check your answers.
||Unit 22 Unit 23 Unit 24||
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