In the video on Youtube at 0:16, the speaker seemed forget to read out "and", I only hear "liked a challenging came up", rather than speak "liked a challenge and came up"?

More examples like 0:05, I only hear " dəd ventures" rather than clear pronunciation.

I am very puzzled, the pronunciation of single word and the word in a sentence are quite different, how can native speaker tell the difference? Almost all the English language learner has this problem, how can I solve it?

My question: please analyze the examples I mentioned, and try to give us possible tips Thanks a million!


  • I too believe that there should be a conjunction. Non-native ears here!
    – Maulik V
    Jan 20, 2016 at 8:31
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    If you listen to it carefully you will notice and is pronounced very weakly right after a challenge. It is not challenging. It is challenge + and that you heard as challenging.
    – user24743
    Jan 20, 2016 at 8:34
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    To the native ear the conjunction and is clearly heard, however it is pronounced "nd" not distinctly "and". The speaker is 1) slightly nasal in diction and 2) has a British accent, with of which may effect your hearing of what he is saying. He also pronounces "nd"venture for "adventure". How to understand this accent better? Maybe hang out with Brits, particularly southern Brits, more.
    – Peter
    Jan 20, 2016 at 8:35
  • Hello,Peter. Thank you for your answer.Can you give me other examples? For example, “...and the ,,," what will you read that?Thanks a million!
    – OscarLiu
    Jan 20, 2016 at 10:21
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    @Peter No, there's no /d/ there at all, I don't think. English speakers don't usually put a /d/ in the word and unless it's stressed or it is before a pause. Our brains like to insert it for us when we listen though! Jan 20, 2016 at 13:56

2 Answers 2


I suspect there are three distinct problems here:

  1. The narrator has a British accent. If you are only used to American accents, there are distinct differences.

  2. Words beginning with vowels often mush into the word before them.

  3. Often-used conjunctions are not enunciated properly. (e.g. "Fish 'n' Chips")


  1. It sounds like the narrator is David Mitchell. He's a famous comedian in Britain. If you are having trouble with him in particular, there's a wealth of content on youTube.
  2. Although I appreciate that it's hard to hear, there is usually enough of a pause between words for native speakers not to have problems. Indeed, this example was crystal clear for me (a Brit). I can only suggest this improves with exposure.
  3. Poor enunciation is trickier. The word 'and' is pretty universally abused around Britain. However, every conjugation I can think of gets shorted somewhere here. I guess exposure is the key to this too.
  • Yes; I'm sure it is David Mitchell. It was crystal clear for me also - you just beat me to the post. Jan 20, 2016 at 11:56
  • That makes a change! Usually I find after hitting submit that someone else has managed to get in before me.
    – Easy Tiger
    Jan 20, 2016 at 12:04

Those kinds of words that you learn about in grammar lessons instead of vocabulary lessons often have two sounds in English. The normal one is called the weak form. This is the form we usually use when the word isn't stressed. The other is called the strong form. The word and has a weak form. It sounds like this: /ən/. Notice that this word doesn't have a /d/ sound here.

However, the word /ən/ ends in an /n/-sound. The sound /n/ often changes according to the following consonant. Before /p, b, m, w/ it can become a /m/. Before /k/ and /g/ it can become a /ŋ/. In the original Poster's clip, the word and comes before the word came, /keɪm/. For this reason the /n/ in and has changed to a /ŋ/. What the OP is actually hearing is:

  • tʃælɪndʒ əŋ keɪm

The reason adventure sounds strange is because it deosn't start with an /æ/, the sound we hear in cat it starts with /ə/, the sound at the beginning to the word America.

How do English speakers understand each other when the grammar words change so much? Well, part of the answer is that grammar words aren't actually very important for understanding at all. Native speakers can't understand most unstressed words when they aren't actually in a sentence. To show how easy it is to understand English without hearing the grammar words, think about the following situation. A two year child old comes to speak to you and says:


You will probably understand that they want to go to the park. However if they come to you and say:

  • I TO TO THE!

You won't understand them at all. These words are all from the same sentence:

  • I want to go to the park.

We can understand a sentence mainly from the stressed information words. The grammar words don't make much difference to the meaning, and English speakers often decide what the grammar words are after they understand the sentence, not before! So don't try too hard to hear the grammar words carefully. Listen to the information words instead.

  • @Aracaria Could you please help me in the beginning, "60-second adventures in thought". I have relistened the video for many times, but I only hear: secon d ventures. I don't know if I am right. Please analyze it. Thanks a million!
    – OscarLiu
    Jan 20, 2016 at 16:16
  • It seems that you are very good at pronunciation problems. In what book can I grab this knowledge?
    – OscarLiu
    Jan 21, 2016 at 8:10
  • @OscarLiu Let me think about it. I'll get back to you on that. Jan 21, 2016 at 12:28

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