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  • Hi, everyone. I'm Jade. What we're talking about today, is elision. And that's one of

  • the things that makes the speech of native speakers hard to understand because we don't

  • say every single word perfectly, like, how it is on the page. We squash words together,

  • and we miss sounds out. So I'm showing you how we do that in today's lesson.

  • So you know we like tea in England, right? We like to drink tea. Well, we call it a "cuppa

  • tea". And if I were to offer you that, I'd say, "Dju wanna cuppa tea?" "Dju wanna cuppa

  • tea?" And we've got an example of elision in that sentence. The written sentence would

  • be, "Do you want a cup of tea?" All the different syllables being pronounced. But colloquial,

  • relaxed spoken English, "Dju wanna cuppa tea?" So the "of" joins the words before. So remember,

  • it's "cup of tea", "cuppa tea." "Dju want a cuppa tea?" We join that. And that's an

  • example of elision.

  • We can also elide consonants. For example, in this sentence, the reply, "I don wanna

  • tea." Some people will not say the T at the end of a word if the next word is another

  • consonant. So saying it properly is more effort. "I don't want a cup of tea." Or, again, there's

  • more elision here. "I don't want a tea." The A joins "want" and becomes "wanna". "I don

  • wanna tea." Two examples of elision there: not saying the T and A joining "want", the

  • word before.

  • What about the next example here? Here, I've written it out, "I don't want a tea." What

  • we see here is the contraction, and that is standard English. We can write that. We can

  • write "don't" like that, "do not". "I don't want a tea." But you cannot write it exactly

  • how it sounds. You cannot write it, "I don". You need the T there. And the difference between

  • contractions and elision is that contractions are okay when we write them, and elision isn't

  • -- it's not necessarily the case that we can write down an elision and it be grammatically

  • correct English. I'll show you two examples.

  • "Wanna" and "gonna" are two common forms in colloquial speech. We say them all the time.

  • "I wanna do that." "I'm gonna go there later." But we can't write them. The reason we can't

  • write them is that they're not contractions. They're not recognized as being standard English.

  • We can say it, but we can't write it that way. In general, we use elision in our speech

  • because it's just easier than saying every single sound in a sentence.

  • Some people think that posh accents are made up of just saying every single word properly

  • and giving it good enunciation and definition and making sure you say everything correctly.

  • But in fact, as we'll see in a sec, posh people and posh accents also use elision in their

  • speech. But they will have some rules that they consider wrong. So for example, "wanna"

  • and "gonna" in some posh accents are considered sloppy or not right or not a correct way of

  • speaking. But I think a good thing to say about that is a lot of people think and perceive

  • that they don't use these words when in fact they do. So you could ask a posh person, "Do

  • you ever say this?" "Oh, no. I wouldn't say that. It's not right. It's not proper English."

  • When in fact, David Cameron would also use "wanna" and "gonna". He's the prime minister

  • of the UK at the moment. So I'd say he's a pretty posh guy, and he's using "wanna" and

  • "gonna". That shows me that these are quite standard forms now. Some people will judge

  • you for it, "Oh, it's not right. You don't say it that way." And also, some people will

  • not realize that they say it themselves. So --

  • So -- yeah. What to think about elision? It just shows us how when we try to speak English

  • correctly just by reading everything properly, this is not going to help you sound like a

  • relaxed, natural speaker of English who actually sounds good because our real speech doesn't

  • fit the actual words on the page.

  • And when we come back, I'm going to give you examples of elision in words that give a good

  • example of how an actual word, the way it's spelled is nothing like how we say it.

  • Okay. Let's look at elision in some words now. So the reason this happens is we have

  • this sound called "schwa" in English, and we use it all the time. And we replace vowels

  • with this sound when there's a stress in the word. So there's one stress, and then the

  • other vowels may sometimes be replaced with the schwa. And that means that the way the

  • word is spelled and the way we say the word is often very different, as you will see,

  • because schwa doesn't have its own letter in the alphabet. It can be any of the vowels.

  • So let's look at the word here, okay? Sometimes, you will anticipate there being as many syllables

  • as there are different vowel sounds in the world. So you may anticipate "choc-o-late".

  • But we don't say it that way. We just say it with two syllables, "choc-late", like that,

  • with the stress at the beginning.

  • Looking now at this word, there are two ways to say this word, okay? I would say the preferred

  • way of, like, you know, you're saying this word correctly, is "comp-ra-ble". And I think

  • the British accent does this a lot. It's just reducing the syllables in the words, okay?

  • It becomes -- you anticipate "comp-a-ra-ble"; you anticipate four syllables, but you get

  • three, "comp-ra-ble" with the stress on the first. So the stress being on the first, this

  • second vowel disappears there. Elision of schwa after the first stressed syllable. So we don't want

  • it anymore. Bye-bye. And that's why we get comp-ra-ble". But you will hear sometimes

  • people who say "com-pa-ra-ble". You will also sometimes hear that. But I will say -- turning

  • around again -- this one is preferred.

  • Looking next at this word. Not "com-for-ta-ble", but again, you do hear it sometimes. We get

  • the same rule happening, elision of the vowel after the first stress. So the stress was

  • here at the beginning of the word. So that means the next vowel undergoes elision. Now,

  • we get a three-syllable word, "comf-ta-ble". As I mentioned, some people will say the word

  • in a four-syllable way like this, "com-for-ta-ble". But yeah. Again, all the ones in this section,

  • I'd say, the preferred version or the supposedly standard version is with fewer syllables.

  • Looking at this word now. "In-tres-ting". How many syllables did you hear in that word?

  • Three-syllable word. Not "int-e-res-ting". Again, the stress is at the beginning on the

  • word, so which one do we lose? We're losing this one. We're not hearing that vowel when

  • we actually say it.

  • There's a second rule here now: elision of schwa following M and R. Let's have a look.

  • So having a look at the word "camera", after the M, elision of schwa -- not saying it,

  • in other words. So it becomes "cam-ra", not "cam-e-ra".

  • Next word, "family". I didn't say it with elision, that's why I'm -- you will hear people

  • say "fam-i-ly", but sometimes you will hear this way, "fam-ly", just with two syllables.

  • Elision of schwa after M means that we're not saying the 'I' there, so it just becomes

  • "fam-ly".

  • Next word. How many syllables do you anticipate here? There are three vowels. Maybe you think

  • there are going to be three syllables. But with this word again, we're doing elision;

  • we're making it shorter. The stress is at the beginning, "mem-ry". We're not saying

  • the O sound. We're not hearing it in the word. "Mem-o-ry", we're not hearing it like that.

  • We're saying "mem-ry".

  • Let's look at "laboratory". In this word, "la-bor-a-to-ry", five syllables, but we don't

  • say it like that. We say, "la-bo-ra-try". Words with TORY in them, we're not saying

  • "tory", like the political party. We leave it. So it becomes "la-bo-ra-try".

  • Changing to this side, now. After R, we elide the -- we're going to keep that one actually.

  • That one's there. Get rid of that one, "sec-ra-try, sec-ra-try". What about this word here? "Li-bry."

  • In this word, we're not saying that one. Some people do say "li-bra-ry", but because I'm

  • talking about elision today, I'm just mentioning how we're turning an otherwise three-syllable

  • word into a two-syllable word, "lib-ry", one of the pronunciations of that word in British

  • English.

  • I'm looking lastly at this word, "memorable", "mem-ra-ble". We're not hearing an O here,

  • "mem-ra-ble". So goodbye O. And then we make a three-syllable word, not "mem-o-ra-ble".

  • So you can thank the schwa sound in British English for elision and how words are not

  • said the way they look, which can be a really confusing aspect of our pronunciation. But

  • now you've got these words, I really think that can help you acquire that laziness in

  • your pronunciation, which is kindly of normal for native speakers.

  • Please go to the EngVid website now. You can do the quiz -- do the quiz on this. And before

  • you go, most importantly, please subscribe here because I do other videos on pronunciation,

  • British English, things like that, all kinds of lessons, really. And I also have a second

  • channel, my other YouTube channel. There's even more stuff about British English if you're

  • particularly interested in British English. I'm going to go now. So yeah. I really want

  • you to come back, and -- yes. See you later.

Hi, everyone. I'm Jade. What we're talking about today, is elision. And that's one of

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B1 UK elision ra ble tea mem syllable

Sound like a native speaker: the BEST pronunciation advice

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    李欣倩 posted on 2014/05/27
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