#26 0

This clip is from episode 96 of the brilliant The Allusionist podcast, which explores all aspects of words and language. This episode is about trust.

The interviewee, Rachel Botsman, is talking about how she defined trust for her book on the subject.

In this exercise, all the weak forms (unstressed forms of grammatical words in connected speech) have been removed. Listen as many times as you need to, and see if you can identify them all. Good luck!

know...I thought really easy define trust.

…do you know

Notice the pronunciation of ‘do you’ as /ʤə/. This weak and contracted pronunciation is extremely common in questions – this is one reason why they can be hard to understand.

…I thought it was going to be really easy..

This is an example of the future in the past, which is used when we are talking about the future, but the viewpoint is in the past.

For example, if I tell you about my plans for the weekend (the normal future), I might say: I’m going to go for a walk. However, if you ask me on Monday about my weekend, I might say: I was going to go for a walk, but the weather was awful. In this sentence, I am talking about the future plan that I had in the past. I use the same structure, but ‘I am’ becomes ‘I was’.

In the extract, the original prediction that the speaker made (before writing the book) was: It’s going to be easy. She is now looking back on that prediction (probably because it was harder than she expected).

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#41 0

This clip is from an episode of The Allusionist, which is a wonderful podcast all about language.

The speaker is talking about his work as a hand engraver – cutting text or designs into objects (usually jewellery) by hand. The speaker has a London accent.

And . .
And there's still for us it's it's . We're people do London.
And for us there's still out there for us it's it's a dying trade. We're the youngest people still do it London.

…it’s a dying trade

If someone refers to a job or profession as a dying trade, then they are saying that it is disappearing due to a lack of demand or need for it.

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash.

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#40 0

This clip is from an episode of The Allusionist, which is a wonderful podcast all about language.

The speaker is talking about the way that the word ‘please’ is sometimes used differently in British and American English.

I say please person I , shouldn't this?
Every I say please to American person I , maybe I shouldn't doing this?

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash.

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#39 0

This clip is from an episode of the Adam Buxton Podcast, which is a brilliant, funny and interesting conversational podcast. This episode features an interview with singer-songwriter John Grant.

John and Adam are discussing how they cope with long journeys.

, , Eurostar Paris.
Well, I I'd long day , then I go straight Eurostar Paris.
Well, I mean I'd had a long day of interviews, then I was booked go straight to Eurostar in Paris.

…Well, I mean

These are examples of fillers – words or phrases that we add to sentences while we think or organise our ideas. These are very common in natural spoken English, and an important listening skill is identifying and then ignoring fillers.

…I’d had a really long day

Notice the weak/contracted pronunciation of the past perfect in this sentence: /aɪd hæd/ rather than /aɪ hæd hæd/.

Photo by Victor Lam on Unsplash.

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