Word Stress: Casual

Casual English

Once again, let’s start by defining Casual American English. Here are some good times to use it:

* when you want to speak quickly 
* when speaking with coworkers that you know well
* when talking about casual subjects such as family life, TV shows or movies
* when telling jokes or using idioms

Whether or not you want to use casual English regularly, it is good to practice it. In standard American English, there are a few significant changes in sound. If you do not know about them, you may misunderstand people (or people may misunderstand you). Casual English is frequently used in fast-paced business environments. 

There are 5 overall changes you can make:

* speak quickly and smoothly
* stress fewer words
* pause less often
* use contractions whenever possible
* reduce more small words

Here is a list of the changes in sound that you can make. These are the main changes–a few extra possibilities will be listed in the lessons. Always remember that there is a very fine line between formal and casual speech in American English. And of course, word and sound choices vary with different personalities. Some people will speak quite casually all the time while others will speak more carefully or deliberately.

WordSound ChangeExample
Oursounds like “ar”Let’s work on ar project.
Aresounds like ‘r or becomes contractThe managers ‘r coming soon.
Willdrop the “wi” and attach to previous word, 
use as a contraction
There’ll be a new system in place.
The boss’ll approve it tomorrow.
Going tosay “gunnu” when speaking about an intention*He’s gunnu buy the new phone.
Want tosay “wunnu”I wunnu finish the project soon.
Have to say “haftu”We haftu finish by Monday.
To = d’if “to” comes between vowel sounds it can be a D
this also works with final N + “to”
We’re meeting from two d’ six.
They plan d’ go later.
Havecan drop the H in have, has, and had 
also speak the A sound lightly**
Where ‘ave you been?
How ‘as she been doing?
He, Him, His, Hercan drop the H in these pronouns**
be sure to say a Long E with reduced “he”
Did ‘er doctor call?
Is ‘ee home yet?
Themsay “um”I didn’t see ‘um.
thatsay “thet”I know thet it’s late.
Final T + Youchange T to a light “ch”How abou’choo?
Youcan become yu when speaking very quicklyWha’chu been up to?
Yoursay “yr”This is yr last warning.
* don’t do this if speaking about a place: I’m going to the store.
** don’t drop the H if it’s the first word in a sentence. 
750 Business WordsIntroduction Main Page
* http://www.speakmethod.com is a part of I.E. Tutoring, Seattle, WA, which holds the copyright to all materials. Subscribers may print images and pages for individual use, but not for commercial use or distribution. *

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