Examples of Reduced Speech

The following examples all come from the speech of undergraduate students at the University of Arizona who are native speakers of American English.  They were recorded in 2005.

Each speaker was seated in a sound-protected booth, and wore a small head-mounted microphone.  Each speaker first called a friend or family member on the phone and had a casual conversation for about 10 minutes, about whatever topics they wished, while being recorded.  They then read short stories that had target words embedded in them out loud, and finally read a word list.  Most of the examples here are from the open conversations, with a few from the word lists to demonstrate that reduction does happen in careful speech as well. 

For the conversational examples, we show a larger portion of an utterance, followed by a single reduced word within it.  Often, the word is quite intelligible and natural-sounding in context, but impossible to understand in isolation.  If you want to test yourself, listen to the isolated word first before hearing the context, and better yet, have someone else click on the links for you so you don't read the answers.  (Click the links to hear the recordings.)

Conversational examples:

"Why, what weekend were you guys gonna be there?"
spectrogram of the "weekend" sentence
"weekend"
spectrogram of the word "weekend"

"We were supposed to see it yesterday, but I felt really bad...."
spectrogram of "yesterday" sentence
"yesterday"
spectrogram of "yesterday" word

"I don't even know what we're gonna do."
spectrogram of "we're" sentence
"we're"
spectrogram of "we're" word

Careful word-list reading examples:

"status" (reduced flap)
spectrogram of careful "status"
"treaty" (clear flap, for comparison)
spectrogram of careful "treaty"