Reduced Forms Do you use reduced forms often? Are they testify to one's lack of education or not?
Oct 19, 2012 2:44 PM
Answers · 3
Polina, Native speakers use reduced forms at all levels of English. Some forms are more common in faster speech, others are used at any speed. It is something that is learned in childhood by listening and imitating, not at school. It is part of the natural rhythm of the English language, whether you speak with a British, American, or Australian accent, even though most native speakers are not aware that they regularly use reduced forms. If you don't make an effort to learn the theory behind reduced forms, it will be difficult for you to understand native speakers when they talk with each other. English is a stress-timed language. It has regularly spaced accents or stressed syllables, whereas many other languages. like Russian, have equally spaced syllables and are syllable-timed. The use of reduced forms is directly related to the rise and fall of stress in an English sentence. Don't be discouraged. Learning about the rhythm of the English language will make it easier for you to speak fluenty, so it is well worth the effort.
October 19, 2012
I agree with both answers, because I think they addressed different aspects of the question. In written communication, as an educated native speaker who cares about the impression I make, I would never use them. But spoken English is a different thing! Reduced forms in spoken communication are ubiquitous. Just watch a cooking show or any kind of do-it-yourself show on television, and you will hear the host (usually a well-educated person) use the term "gonna" instead of "going to" -- and say it again, and again, and again! But this same person would never write "gonna" instead of "going to" because that is not acceptable except in very informal uses. Another very common example is "wanna" instead of "want to." This is how the term is spoken, but most educated people find it unacceptable in written form. It gives an impression of immaturity. It is important, therefore, to understand reduced forms when you hear them, even if you don't speak them yourself. I will add a personal opinion: I believe that non-native speakers should not try to emulate American use of reduced forms. That's because the reduced form is much more obvious and striking when spoken by a non-native speaker. The reduced form does not blend in with the accented English -- it jumps out and is very distracting. But that is just my opinion! :)
October 19, 2012
NOT AT ALL ! In fact, I recommend you not to use the reduced forms. While learning a language, reduced forms look far from natural. Only learn standard English. Once you are really fluent, the reduced forms will come automatically. I use a lot of reduced forms while typing and I really wish I didn't. Standard English looks better ... Reduced forms are only there to make speaking faster, they are not an indication of English prowess.
October 19, 2012
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