Weak & strong forms

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The small words that manage the grammar in English have two different pronunciations. These are called weak and strong forms. The weak forms are unstressed and the strong forms stressed. Most weak forms have either schwa or short 'i' vowel sounds and they are difficult to hear. These words are very important for the pronunciation of English grammar--they are like the gluer in the phonetic system.

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Weak & strong forms

  1. 1. Weak & Strong Forms
  2. 2. we saw stressed and unstressed syllables in individual words
  3. 3. something similar happens in complete sentences
  4. 4. Where are you from?
  5. 5. Where are you from? I’m from London.
  6. 6. Where are you from? I’m from London.
  7. 7. Where are you from? I’m from London.
  8. 8. Where are you from? I’m from London.
  9. 9. Where are you from? I’m from London. ɒ ə
  10. 10. Are they from Italy?
  11. 11. Yes, they are. Are they from Italy?
  12. 12. Yes, they are. Are they from Italy?
  13. 13. Yes, they are. Are they from Italy?
  14. 14. Yes, they are. Are they from Italy?
  15. 15. Yes, they are. Are they from Italy? ɑː ə
  16. 16. some words have two pronunciations
  17. 17. a weak form from / frəm / are / ə /
  18. 18. and a strong form from / frɒm / are / ɑː /
  19. 19. the weak form is the usual pronunciation
  20. 20. the weak form is the usual pronunciation it’s used when the word is unstressed
  21. 21. the strong form is used only when the word is stressed
  22. 22. the strong form is used only when the word is stressed eg. when it’s the last word
  23. 23. the vowel is simplified (in most cases) to ə or ɪ
  24. 24. which words have weak and strong forms?
  25. 25. prepositions
  26. 26. prepositions auxiliary verbs
  27. 27. prepositions auxiliary verbs modal verbs
  28. 28. prepositions auxiliary verbs modal verbs pronouns
  29. 29. prepositions auxiliary verbs modal verbs pronouns possessive adjectives
  30. 30. prepositions auxiliary verbs modal verbs pronouns possessive adjectives possessive pronouns
  31. 31. prepositions auxiliary verbs modal verbs pronouns possessive adjectives possessive pronouns conjunctions
  32. 32. prepositions auxiliary verbs modal verbs pronouns possessive adjectives possessive pronouns conjunctions articles
  33. 33. prepositions auxiliary verbs modal verbs pronouns possessive adjectives possessive pronouns conjunctions articles
  34. 34. prepositions auxiliary verbs modal verbs pronouns possessive adjectives possessive pronouns conjunctions articles
  35. 35. which words only have strong forms?
  36. 36. nouns
  37. 37. nouns main verbs
  38. 38. nouns main verbs adjectives
  39. 39. nouns main verbs adjectives adverbs
  40. 40. nouns main verbs adjectives adverbs
  41. 41. nouns main verbs adjectives adverbs
  42. 42. prepositions weak form strong form from frəm frɒm to tə tuː at ət æt in ɪn ɪn on ɒn ɒn
  43. 43. aux. verbs weak form strong form am əm æm are ə ɑː have həv hæv had həd hæd does dəz dʌz
  44. 44. modal verbs weak form strong form can kən kæn will wɪl wɪl would wəd wʊd shall ʃəl ʃæl must məst mʌst
  45. 45. articles weak form strong form a ə eɪ an ən æn the ðə ðiː
  46. 46. when do weak forms become strong?
  47. 47. 1. the end of the sentence
  48. 48. Where are you from?
  49. 49. Yes, I am.
  50. 50. No, I’m not.
  51. 51. 2. negatives
  52. 52. I can speak German.
  53. 53. I can speak German. ə
  54. 54. I can’t speak German.
  55. 55. I can’t speak German. ɑː
  56. 56. You aren’t listening.
  57. 57. NB
  58. 58. I’m not listening.
  59. 59. the stress is always on ‘not’ even when it’s abbreviated
  60. 60. 3. auxiliary or modal substitutes or includes the main verb
  61. 61. I can’t speak German but my friend can.
  62. 62. Do you like English coffee? No, I don’t.
  63. 63. 4. double stress for emphasis
  64. 64. I do like your hat!
  65. 65. I didn’t crash my car!
  66. 66. I didn’t crash my car. I crashed hers!
  67. 67. look at this passage from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities How many weak forms can you find?
  68. 68. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
  69. 69. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
  70. 70. ɪt wəs thə best əf times, ɪt wəs thə worst əf times, ɪt wəs thɪ age əf wisdom, ɪt wəs thɪ age əf foolishness, ɪt wəs thɪ epoch əf belief, ɪt wəs thɪ epoch əf incredulity, ɪt wəs thə season əf Light, ɪt wəs thə season əf Darkness, ɪt wəs thə spring əf hope, ɪt wəs thə winter əf despair, wɪ had everything before əs, wɪ had nothing before əs, wɪ wə all going direct tə Heaven, wɪ wə all going direct thɪ other way—ɪn short, thə period wəs so far like thə present period, thət some əf ɪts noisiest authorities insisted on ɪts being received, fə good ə fə evil, ɪn thə superlative degree əf comparison only.
  71. 71. now find the stressed and unstressed syllables in these words How many have ə or ɪ ?
  72. 72. ɪt wəs thə best əf times, ɪt wəs thə worst əf times, ɪt wəs thɪ age əf wisdom, ɪt wəs thɪ age əf foolishness, ɪt wəs thɪ epoch əf belief, ɪt wəs thɪ epoch əf incredulity, ɪt wəs thə season əf Light, ɪt wəs thə season əf Darkness, ɪt wəs thə spring əf hope, ɪt wəs thə winter əf despair, wɪ had everything before əs, wɪ had nothing before əs, wɪ wə all going direct tə Heaven, wɪ wə all going direct thɪ other way—ɪn short, thə period wəs so far like thə present period, thət some əf ɪts noisiest authorities insisted on ɪts being received, fə good ə fə evil, ɪn thə superlative degree əf comparison only.
  73. 73. ɪt wəs thə best əf times, ɪt wəs thə worst əf times, ɪt wəs thɪ age əf wisdom, ɪt wəs thɪ age əf foolishness, ɪt wəs thɪ epoch əf belief, ɪt wəs thɪ epoch əf incredulity, ɪt wəs thə season əf Light, ɪt wəs thə season əf Darkness, ɪt wəs thə spring əf hope, ɪt wəs thə winter əf despair, wɪ had everything before əs, wɪ had nothing before əs, wɪ wə all going direct tə Heaven, wɪ wə all going direct thɪ other way—ɪn short, thə period wəs so far like thə present period, thət some əf ɪts noisiest authorities insisted on ɪts being received, fə good ə fə evil, ɪn thə superlative degree əf comparison only.
  74. 74. ɪt wəs thə best əf times, ɪt wəs thə worst əf times, ɪt wəs thɪ age əf wisdəm, ɪt wəs thɪ age əf foolɪshnəss, ɪt wəs thɪ epoch əf bɪlief, ɪt wəs thɪ epoch əf ɪncrədulɪtɪ, ɪt wəs thə seasən əf Light, ɪt wəs thə seasən əf Darknəss, ɪt wəs thə spring əf hope, ɪt wəs thə wintər əf dɪspair, wɪ had everɪthɪng bɪfore əs, wɪ had nothɪng bɪfore əs, wɪ wə all goɪng direct tə Heavən, wɪ wə all goɪng direct thɪ othər way—ɪn short, thə perɪəd wəs so far like thə presənt perɪəd, thət some əf ɪts noisɪəst authorɪtɪs ɪnsistɪd on ɪts beɪng rɪceived, fə good ə fə evil, ɪn thə superlətɪve dɪgree əf cəmparɪsən onlɪ.
  75. 75. ɪt wəs thə best əf times, ɪt wəs thə worst əf times, ɪt wəs thɪ age əf wisdəm, ɪt wəs thɪ age əf foolɪshnəss, ɪt wəs thɪ epoch əf bɪlief, ɪt wəs thɪ epoch əf ɪncrədulɪtɪ, ɪt wəs thə seasən əf Light, ɪt wəs thə seasən əf Darknəss, ɪt wəs thə spring əf hope, ɪt wəs thə wintər əf dɪspair, wɪ had everɪthɪng bɪfore əs, wɪ had nothɪng bɪfore əs, wɪ wə all goɪng direct tə Heavən, wɪ wə all goɪng direct thɪ othər way—ɪn short, thə perɪəd wəs so far like thə presənt perɪəd, thət some əf ɪts noisɪəst authorɪtɪs ɪnsistɪd on ɪts beɪng rɪceived, fə good ə fə evil, ɪn thə superlətɪve dɪgree əf cəmparɪsən onlɪ.
  76. 76. HOMEWORK make a list of the weak forms that you used in your latest writing homework
  77. 77. www.davidnicholson.it

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