Disappearing Sounds in English: Final Consonants

Disappearing Sounds in English

Hey there, and welcome to Speak English with Christina, where you’ll have fun becoming fluent in American English. I’m your English coach Christina, and this month, we’re going to have fun with real spoken American English, because often, it’s hard to progress from the clear, articulate English of lessons to real-world conversations.

So all this month, I’m going to challenge you with special videos featuring real, fast American English.

Let’s go!

Just to let you know, the extracts you’ll see in the videos this month are all from my new course Understand Real American English, which helps you decode fast spoken English and feel comfortable in real conversations.

In spoken English, we don’t always pronounce all of the sounds you see written. Let me show you, with some sentences from a conversation between my cousin Bonnie and me, about a recipe for grape salad.

Read the sentences out loud to yourself, and then listen to how it sounds in real conversation, by listening to the video.

Here’s are the sentences:

  1. “That grape salad stuff.”
  2. “I asked her how to make it”
  3. “I found the recipe”

Listen to the video to hear how it sounds in a conversation.
Did you notice a difference?

Where’s the final sound?

When you read the written expressions, you were probably carefully to articulate the final consonants of words like “that”, “asked”, and “found”.
But in fast conversations, you won’t always hear the final sounds /p/, /t/ and /d/. It’s too much effort to articulate every word in phrases like “that grape salad stuff”, so we just throw it out there like /tha’ grayp’ salad’ stuff/

It’s not being lazy, it’s actually a real phonological phenomenon with a fancy name: Elision.


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Let’s listen to more examples

Read these sentences out loud to yourself:

  • “I guess you found the recipe”
    In the video, you’ll hear it like /I guess you foun’ the recipe/
  • “Just mix everything up”
    This sounds like /jus’ mix everything up/
  • “A third of a cup of sugar”
    You’ll hear /a thir’ cup of sugar/

How can you understand all of this??

For all of you who like nice, neat rules in English, I’m sorry. Because there are NO rules that determine what sounds disappear.

We talk about “vanilla extract”, an ingredient in the recipe. Sometimes we drop the sound completely, like /EK srta/ but sometimes we just cut the sound short, like we half articulate it, we stop the sound prematurely, like /EK strakt/.

To be able to instantly recognize the different sounds as the same word, you need to train your ear, like with the Understand Real American English Course.

Watch the video to hear extracts from the course:

Now, what about you?

When you hear Americans talk, have you ever noticed that they cut the final sounds like this? 
Give me some examples you’ve heard in the comments!

And don’t worry if you didn’t understand, that’s why you’re here, to learn and figure out all these strange sounds of real spoken English.

While you’re waiting for the course Understand Real American English to be available, you can  immediately understand 12 everyday expressions that Americans say fast with my American Accent Survival Kit. Just click here to get your free audio and worksheet.

And of course subscribe to my channel, so you get a new English lesson each week! Thanks for watching Speak English with Christina, and I’ll see you next time!

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