Linguistic reduction

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Linguistic reductions are lost sounds in words. This happens in spoken English. For instance, "going to" changes to "gonna". The most widely known reductions are contractions. Most contractions are reductions of 'not'. For instance, "cannot" becomes "can't". Many contractions are reductions between a subject and a verb. For instance, "He is..." becomes "He's..."[change | change source]

Some reductions are well known to language learners; for instance the reduction of a verb and "to". Examples are "going to" becoming "gonna" and "want to" becoming "wanna".

Linguistic reductions are part of natural English. They cannot be considered slang, or improper.

Categories[change | change source]

There are several basic categories of reductions:

  • Elision is one or more sounds left out of a word. A common example is "and". It frequently changes to "an" or sometimes even "n". Another example is the "ba" sound in "probably". This leads to the pronunciation, "probly".
  • Word stress is a weaker stress on a word. The other words around it are stressed more by comparison. The weakly stressed word may be blended, linked or even deleted.
  • Function words are words that signify grammatical relations. They are different from content words. Content words tend to carry more information. They are often stressed. Function words are often unstressed. They may be reduced, blended, linked or deleted.
  • Contractions

Listening Resource[change | change source]

For more information and audio examples: [1]