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
"Why, what weekend were you guys gonna be
"We were supposed to see it yesterday,
but I felt really bad...."
"I don't even know what we're gonna do."
Careful word-list reading
"status" (reduced flap)
"treaty" (clear flap, for comparison)