Native speakers do not pronounce every word clearly. When speaking informally, people often reduce or contract sounds. Most commonly, the words that are important to the meaning of a statement will remain unchanged but words that link or are functional will be shortened.
‘Reduced forms’ are words that are not written in English but that are frequently used by native speakers in spoken English. It’s very useful to be able to recognize them so you can understand when native speakers speak English and also to sound more natural when you speak yourself.
Here are some of the most common reduced forms.
REDUCED FORMS 1
- I’m tired. I wanna go to bed.
wanna = want to
- He didn’t come cuz he has to work late.
cuz = because
- I might have a phone charger. Lemme check.
lemme = let me
- C’mon! Let’s go!
c’mon = come on
- That guy has a lotta money.
lotta = lot of
- An Irish one: G’way!
G’way = Go away (Really? I’m surprised!)
REDUCED FORMS 2
- I’m gonna call him this afternoon.
gonna = going to
- Just gimme a minute and I’ll be with you then.
gimme = give me
- Whaddya think? Good idea?
Whaddya = What do you
- I thought his presentation was kinda boring.
kinda = kind of
- What time does it finish? Dunno.
Dunno = I don’t know
- An Irish one: C’mere till I tell ya!
C’mere = Come here (Listen to me)
REDUCED FORMS 3
- I can’t meet you this afternoon. I gotta study.
gotta = have got to
- That was dangerous. You cudda hurt yourself.
cudda = could have
- Wasdamadda(er)? You look upset.
Wasdamadda(er)? = What is the matter?
- Didya / D’ja get the email I sent you?
Didya / Dja = Did you
- Are you thirsty? I’ll getcha a glass of water.
getcha = get you
- An Irish one: Howaya? How’s it goin’?
Howaya? How’s it goin’? = How are you? How’s it going?
REDUCED FORMS 4
- Wha’cha doing this evening? Maybe we can meet then.
Wha’cha = What are you
- I think I outta call her and explain.
outta = ought to (should)
- You shuddav asked permission first.
shuddav = should have
- Doncha think it’s a good plan?
Doncha = Don’t you
- He just found out he hazta quarantine for ten days.
hazta = has to
- An Irish one: G’wan! G’wan!
G’wan! = Go on (Continue. I’m listening.)
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t usually use these reduced forms in formal or business settings, but you can certainly try them out when you’re talking to friends. They can make your English sound much more natural!
Have you heard these reduced forms before? Do you use them when you speak?
Do you think cross-cultural relationships work well? How do you think being in a relationship with an Irish person would be?