q In English there are certain words which have two forms of pronunciation:
(1) strong, or full, form, and
(2) weak, or reduced, form.
These words include form-words and the following pronouns:
the indefinite pronoun some, denoting indefinite quantity.
These words have strong, or full, forms when they are stressed, e.g.
He will do it. [↘hi: wil du: it] (and nobody else)
Notional parts of speech
q The notional parts of speech are usually not reduced in unstressed positions, although there are some compound words in which their second element has been reduced, e.g. sixpence [‘sikspәns], gooseberry [‘guzbәri].
q There are three degrees of reduction of strong forms:
1) The first degree consists in reducing the length of a vowel without changing its quality (quantitative reduction). Cf. (p. 186)
strong formsweak forms
for [fͻ:] [fͻ]
you [ju:] [ju]
he [hi:] [hi]
Continuation – 1
2. The second degree of reduction consists in changing the quality of a vowel (qualitativereduction). Cf.
Strong formsWeak forms
for [fͻ:] [fә]
at [æt] [әt]
can [kæn] [kәn]
Cf. I’ll do it for him. [ail ↘du: it fͻ: him]
I’ll do it for Ann. [ail ‘du: it fәr ↘æn]
Most vowels in weak forms are reduced to the neutral vowel [ә], although the long vowels [i:] and [u:] are usually reduced to [i] and [u] respectively. Cf. (p.187)
He will go there. [↘hi: wil gou ðεә]
He will go to the cinema. [hi wil ‘gou tә ðә ↘sinimә]
(5) continuation -2 (p. 187)
3. The third degree of reduction consists in the omission of a vowel or consonant sound (zeroreduction). Cf.
Strong formsWeak forms (zero reduction)
am [æm] [m]
from [frͻm] [frm]
of [ͻv] [v] (vowels are
can [kæn] [kn], [kŋ] omitted)
is [iz] [s], [z]
shall [∫æl] [∫l]
must [mʌst] [mst]
he [hi:] [i], [ɪ]
him [him] [im]
his [hiz] [iz] (consonants
must [mʌst] [mәs] are omitted)
had [hæd] [әd]
have [hæv] [әv]
has [hæz] [әz]
and [ænd] [n]
has [hæz] [z], [s]
have [hæv] [v] (both vowels and
had [hæd] [d] consonants are
will [wil] [l] omitted)
would [wud] [d]
Form-words used in their strong forms
The following form-words in certain positions are used in their strong forms, even when they are unstressed.
1) Prepositions have their strong forms:
(a) when they are final, e.g.
Do you know where I come from?
[‘du: ju ‘nou wεәr ↗ai kʌm frͻm] (p. 191)
(b) when they are followed by an unstressed personal pronoun at the end of a sense-group or a sentence, e.g.
She was not listening to him. [∫i wәz ‘nͻt ↘lisniŋ tu: him]
2) Auxiliary and modal verbs, as well as the link-verb to be, have their strong forms at the end of a sense-group or a sentence, e.g. (p. 192)
Who is absent to-day? Ann is. [‘hu: iz ↘æbsәnt tәdei |↘æn iz]
3) The indefinite pronoun “some in the meaning of “certain” has always strong form, even when it is unstressed, e.g.
For some reason they call it the Circle. [fә sʌm ‘ri:zn ðei ‘kͻ:l it ðә ↘sә:kl]
q There are some form-words which are never reduced. They are:
which, what, where, on, in, with, then, when, how.