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How to Speak English Casually

The following table shows some commonly reduced sounds. These should not be confused with slang. The reductions shown below happen naturally when American people speak quickly. You can listen for these reduced sounds when watching movies or listening to people at a business meeting.

Learning the rules below will help anyone who has difficulty listening and understanding American speakers. Intermediate speakers may not feel comfortable using these rules when speaking. Still, practicing the example sentences out loud will help you learn. Advanced speakers can apply these rules to their everyday speech. Practice with the examples, then think of phrases you say regularly at work or with your family. Remember to use clear vowel sounds on the important words even when speaking quickly. You do not have to speak too quickly--let your words flow in a naturally casual way.

After you study the rules, try this practice conversation.




And = 'n

He's tall and thin.

He's tall 'n thin.

To = t' (say "tu")

I'm going to work.

I'm going t'work.

To = d' between vowel sounds

I go to school at 8am.

I godu school ad eighd'a.m.

NT - silent T when followed by a vowel

He won't eat vegetables.
Will you rent a car in L.A.?

He won'eat vegetables.
Will you ren'a car in L.A.?

T = D between vowels -
often happens in phrases with "what"

What about our appointment?
I don't know what I'm doing.

Wu'duboud'our appointment?
I dunno wu-dime doing.

If a word ends in a sound and the next word begins with the same sound, you can speak it once, especially with small words.
The T = D rule also applies here.

We're going with them.
It's my first time.
What do you want?

Were going withem.
It's my firs'time.
Wu'doo'yoo want? or Wu'du'yu want?

Final T + Y can sound like "ch"

What about you?
I thought you liked Chinese food.

I tho'choo liked Chinese food.

Final D + Y can sound like "j"

Did you finish yet?

Di'joo finish yet?

You can be reduced to "yu"
when speaking very quickly or with slang

What do you want?

Wu'du'yu want?

For = fr

This is for the teacher.

This is fr the teacher.

H can be removed with all forms of "have"
and with the pronouns he, him, his and her

How have you been?
I wasn't prepared for his questions.

How've you ben?
I wuzn't prepared fur'iz ques-chuns.

Of = uv or "u" when speaking quickly

I need a pair of shoes.

I need'u'pair'u'shoes.

Going to = gunnu when speaking about intention

I'm going to buy a coat before Christmas.

I'm gunnu buy a coat before Christmas.

Want to = wunnu

I want to see that movie.

I wunnu see that movie.

Have to = haftu

You have to go to the dentist.

You haftu godu the denist.

use Y or W to connect vowel sounds
within or between words

They created that movie in three months.
It's a co-ed dormatory.

They cree-yaded that movie in three munths.
It's a co'wed dormatory.

speak a Y sound when AY, UY or EY
is followed by a vowel in the next word,
speak W if OW is followed by a vowel

I'm going to buy it.
He didn't say anything.
That's how it happened.

I'm gunnu bi'yit.
He didn't sa-yeneething.
That's hou'wit happened.

that = thet when spoken quickly

He's the man that I wanted you to meet.

He's the man the'die wanned y'du' meet.

Now that you have studied the rules, try this practice conversation.

Speaking Practice

ESL Advanced

Pronunciation of -Ed

About Speak Method

Accent Facts

How to Change Your Speech

Chart of English Language Accents

Choosing Your Voice

Milestones in Pronunciation

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