224. Pronunciation: Verb Tenses & Connected Speech

This episode focuses on how sentences are pronounced quickly by native speakers. This is invaluable knowledge which will help you to take your listening and your pronunciation to the next level! Right-click here to download.

Small Donate ButtonThis is the episode I promised to record at the end of episode 176. In that episode I focused on the major verb tenses in English and I explained their meaning and uses. This episode is the sequel to that one, and it focuses specifically on the pronunciation of sentences containing a range of verb tenses.

You know when you hear a native speaker talking quite quickly? It sounds like all the words are joined together, or some of the words are being swallowed or something. It’s difficult to understand them, or to pick out every single word. Sometimes it’s hard to identify subtle differences between verb tenses. Well, just like in any language, English has features of connected speech which make it sound like whole sentences are just long words with all the sounds connected together. I want to help to demystify this for you. I want to help you to understand connected speech in English. It’ll help your listening comprehension, and it will improve your pronunciation too. So, let’s look at these features of fluent English pronunciation, focusing on sentences containing various verb tenses.

Here are the features of pronunciation I focus on in this episode
– Linking (consonant to consonant, consonant to vowel and vowel to vowel linking)
– Elision of sounds (some sounds are ‘elided’ or removed when consonants link together)
– Intrusive sounds (sometimes vowels are linked to other vowels with intrusive sounds like /j/ or /w/)
– Weak forms and ‘schwa’ sounds /ə/ (in unstressed syllables and unstressed words in sentences)
– Sentence stress (the rhythm of a sentence)

Here are the sentences I repeat in this episode
Listen carefully, and try to repeat them after me. Try to focus on the natural way I say the sentences, and try to notice the features of connected speech I’m highlighting. Don’t forget the meaning of the sentences. For an episode which deals with the meaning & use of these different tenses, click here to listen to episode 176.

Present simple
I teach English at a university, and I’m teaching first year students of law at the moment.

Present continuous
I’m from London, but at the moment I’m living in Paris.
I teach English at a university, and I’m teaching first year students of law at the moment.

Past simple
(for) I lived in West London for a long time.
(sequence of finished actions) My Dad was promoted and got a job in the midlands, so we moved there, and stayed for many years. I went to university in Liverpool and lived there for 4 years, and then I moved back to Warwickshire.

Past continuous
I’d finished uni and I was working in a pub, not really going anywhere.
It was while I was living in London that I came up with the idea of launching an amazing podcast for learners of English
.
I was walking down the street and this guy came up to me and started talking, but I couldn’t understand him

Used to do vs.
Get used to doing
– It used to be quite difficult, because I couldn’t speak the language but I’m getting used to it now.

Present perfect
I’ve been up the Eiffel Tower. I’ve visited Notre Dame. I’ve been to Shakespeare and Company. I’ve tried lots of delicious French wine, but I still haven’t done everything.
Today I’ve drunk a bit too much coffee so I’m pretty hyperactive. Normally I drink tea, but more recently I’ve been drinking coffee. I’ve had about 9,000 cups already today.

Present perfect continuous
I’ve been doing lots of comedy. I’ve been doing lots of gigs.
I’ve been working at the university.
I’ve been recording episodes of the podcast
I’ve hardly had time to sit down and just read my book in silence.

Past perfect
That’s when I decided to become an English teacher.
I’d finished uni and I was working in a pub, not really going anywhere.
When I first came here, I’d never visited Paris before, but my girlfriend had told me a lot about it, so I was kind of prepared.
Past perfect continuous
As well as studying at university and college, I’d also been playing in lots of bands over the past few years, but it hadn’t really worked out, so I needed to think of something else to do.

Going to / present continuous
We’re going to visit New York next month
– I might do a special report from New York
– We’re going to stay in an AirBnB apartment that we’ve found
– We’re planning the trip at the moment.
– We’re flying there in the middle of April. It’s going to be good.

Future with will (not plans, but judgements, opinions, predictions)
Who knows, maybe the LEPPERS will one day rise up.
Hopefully it’ll last. Hopefully they’ll take me on again.
England will probably win.
We probably won’t win. I imagine it will be someone like Spain or Brazil.
1st Conditional
We probably won’t get to the final, but if we do it’ll be amazing.
Who knows what I’ll be doing
Hopefully I’ll still be recording episodes of LEP

Future perfect
Hopefully, I will have done many more episodes of LEP and perhaps I will have expanded my work online in some way.
Future perfect continuous (in a 1st Conditional structure, no less!)
If I’m still doing Luke’s English Podcast , I will have been doing LEP for 15 years.

Future perfect continuous passive!
I will have been being listened to for 10 years (!!!)

  • Anonymous

    Hi.
    I’ve been listening to your podcasts for quite some time and I’ve noticed that whenever the words like ‘bit’, ‘got’ and so on are used, they’re pronounced without a the ‘t’ in the end. I’d be great full if you could help me with that.

    Thanks very much.
    P.S. Is the grammar correct in the above para.

  • Anonymous

    I absolutely love this episode.

  • YR

    It was a quite useful podcast. English professors should teach this information since the beginning!