a sentence in a BBC Podcast

And the subject of today' - s show is social media and its impac - t on our daily lives.

I do not clearly hear at that points, please give me some suggestions. It's not very straightforward to me.

  • There is a transcript that goes with the recording: that line is supposed to be "And the subject of today's show is social media and its impact on our daily lives.".
    – JavaLatte
    Apr 15, 2016 at 14:57
  • You seem to understand the sentence as you have written it. What is your question? Apr 15, 2016 at 14:58
  • I think I understand the problem. shi.seni can't hear the "bold" parts well and may know they're there by reading the transcript. The problem is how to not miss them in listening. Apr 15, 2016 at 15:06
  • The first bolded word (“of”) is unintelligible, but it sounds like “to” or /təv/. There's a note above the transcript: “This is not a word-for-word transcript”.
    – user3395
    Apr 15, 2016 at 16:53

1 Answer 1


It is sometimes difficult to understand speakers of English when they are talking at normal speed which can sound very fast! One reason for this is that the pronunciation of some words is different when they are said on their own, or in slow, careful speech, from when they are used in connected speech.

Some very common words in English have two pronunciations, sometimes called their strong and weak forms.

“Of” weak form: /əv/, /ə/

“But” strong form: /bʌt/ weak form: /bət/

“Tell him to go” strong forms /hɪm/ /tu:/ weak form: /tel əm tə gəʊ/

A native speaker's aim in connecting words is maximum ease and efficiency of tongue movement when getting their message across. In minimizing our efforts, we weaken our articulation. If articulation is weakened too much, the sound may disappear altogether, a process known as elision. It is the vowels from unstressed syllables which are the first to be elided in non-precise pronunciation.

Common sound deletions

A syllable containing the unstressed "schwa" is often lost.

For example,






/t/ and /d/

With consonants, it is /t/ and /d/ which are most commonly elided, especially when they appear in a consonant cluster. For example,



The same process can occur across word boundaries, for example,

mus(t) be

the firs(t) three

you an(d) me

we stopp(ed) for lunch


The /h/ sound is also often deleted. For example,

you shouldn't (h)ave

tell (h)im.

The -s ending is pronounced as /s/, /z/, /Iz/. The pronunciation used depends on the sound that comes before the final -s or -we.

Notice that -s endings include noun plurals (for example, two cats), third person singular verbs (He takes the train), possessive (Beth's house), and the short form of is or has (What's her name? He's already left). They all follow the same pronunciation rule.

  • 1
    What is this word lib(a)ry? I have heard of library, but never heard it pronounced without the middle vowel, in American English. Apr 15, 2016 at 19:14
  • 1
    @AlanCarmack See (or rather, listen) here, the second BrE pronunciation. There's a typo nonetheless.
    – user3395
    Apr 15, 2016 at 19:37
  • 1
    Okay thanks cool I figured it might be one of those weird BrE pronunciations @user2684291 Apr 15, 2016 at 21:32

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