Unit 21. Some, The, From, etc.
Weak Forms of Function Words
Unit 21; Part A
|Some words are not usually made prominent (see Unit 10) in conversation. These include the following groups of function words. (For exceptions, see Unit 22.)|
Unit 21; Part B
|Some of these function words have a weak form and a strong form. Theweak form is the usual pronunciation, but the strong form is used whenthe word is -|
Unit 21; Part C
Important for listening!
It can be difficult to hear the weak forms of function words in fastspeech, particularly when a number of them come together, because theyare often said quickly. Compare:
slow speech. When are you taking him to see her? There are some over there.
fast speech: When /aj∂/ taking /imt∂/ see /∂/? /ð∂r∂s∂m/ over there.
Itis not always necessary to produce weak forms in your own speech inorder to be understood, but they help to make your English sound morefluent and natural.
|Listen and repeat these sentences. Prominent syllables are incapital letters. Focus in particular on copying the non-prominent formsof the function words, in green.|
1 Do they LIKE each other?
2 I SAW somebody at the WINdow.
3 There was a LETter from his BROther.
4 There should be some MORE in the BOX.
5 We were GOing to see her PArents.
6 She doesn't LOOK as OLD as me.
7 WHEN do you get the reSULTS of your TESTS?
8 I was at HOME frm EIGHT o'CLOCK.
|Do you think the words in bold will have their weak (write W) or strong form (S) in these dialogues?|
Key.(Speaker A = Japan)
The reason why some function words are in the strong form is given in brackets.
Example a S (word is at end of sentence) b W
1 a W b S ('would' is used as a content word rather than a function word)
2 a W b S ('were' is contrasted with 'weren't')
3 a W b S ('from' is contrasted with 'for')
4 a S ('your' is used as a content word rather than a function word) b W
5 a S (word is at end of sentence) b W
Example: a A: That ice-cream looks nice. B: Do you want some? S
b A: I'm really thirsty. B: There's some orange juice in the kitchen. W
1 a A: Do you think I should apologise? B: Yes, I'm sure that would help.
b A: Did you get 100% on the test? B: No, I spelt 'would' wrong.
2 a A: I was in Slovenia last weekend. B: What were you doing there?
b A: Why weren't you and Amy at the party? B: But we were.
3 a A: What have you got there? B: It's a present fom Alex.
b A: Is this a card for Simon's birthday? B: No, it's fom Simon.
4 a A: Why did you mark it wrong? B: You wrote 'your' instead of 'you'.
b A: We are off to Scotland again in the summer. B: Are you going with your sister?
5 a A: Can I borrow your screwdriver? B: What do you want it for?
b A: Did the phone ring? B: Yes, it was for David.
Now listen and check your answers. Then say the B parts aloud.
|Listen. Write the number of words you hear in each space.|
Key.1 2-2 They were waiting for their brother.
2 3-2 I knew that she was going to be late again.
3 2-3 Would you take her to the swimming pool?
4 4-3 I thought we were at the station already, but I was wrong.
5 2-4 Shall we go to the zoo, or have you been before?
6 3 -3 There are some more books here that he could have.
7 3-2-3 He asked me for some money and I lent it to him.
8 6 She told me that we would have been better off going by bus.
Example: 2 leaving now 3 staying?
Are you leaving now or are you staying?
1 ___ waiting ___ brother.
2 I knew ___ going ___ late again.
3 ___ take ___ swimming pool?
4 I thought ___ station already, ___ wrong.
5 ___ go to the zoo, ___ before?
6 ___ more books here ___ have.
7 He asked ___ money ___ lent ___.
8 She told ___ better off going by bus.
Now check your answers in the Key. Then listen again and repeat the sentences.
Follow up: Find arecording of speech at normal speed with a transcript. Take an extractand try to write down what the speakers are saying. Then check what youhave written against the transcript. Note in particular thepronunciation of function words.
| ||Unit 20 Unit 21 Unit 22|| |