Pronunciation

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Tim's Pronunciation Workshop: Been

Episode 65 / 26 Jun 2017

Tim
Hi. I'm Tim and this is my Pronunciation Workshop. Here, I'm going to show you how English is really spoken. Come on, let's go inside. Today, I'm going to use two things to help me demonstrate a feature of English pronunciation. This is a bin and this is a bean. What's the connection? Well, I'm sure you know the past participle of the verb 'to be' – 'been', right? Well, we asked some people how long they had been in London.

Voxpops
I've been in London seventeen years.
I have been in London seven years.
I've been in London for more than a year now.
I've been in London every summer since I was eighteen.

Tim 
Now, they all used the word 'been' – but nobody actually said 'been'. Listen again. What word do you actually hear them say? 

Voxpops
I've been in London seventeen years.
I have been in London seven years.
I've been in London for more than a year now.
I've been in London every summer since I was eighteen.

Tim 
In fluent everyday English, when the auxiliary 'been' is not stressed its pronunciation changes to /bɪn/. 'I've been in London since 2015' becomes 'I've /bɪn/ in London since 2015'. This is what's known as a weak form and it helps speech to flow more naturally and fluently. Here are some more examples.

Examples

I've been working here for several years.
How long have you been waiting?
It's been years since I went to the cinema.
What have you been up to since we last met?

Tim
So you've heard the examples, and now it's your turn. You know the drill: listen and repeat.

Examples
I've been working here for several years.
How long have you been waiting?
It's been years since I went to the cinema.
What have you been up to since we last met?

Tim
Well done. And remember, if you want to learn more about pronunciation, then please visit our website, bbclearningenglish.com. And that is about it from the pronunciation workshop for now. I'll see you soon. Bye bye! Now, what to do with this old bean… of course, put it in the bin. Oww! I should've been more careful… again.

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