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Session 5

Tim's Pronunciation Workshop: Elision of /d/

Tim explains one reason why the sound /d/ sometimes disappears.

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Tim's Pronunciation Workshop: Elision of /d/

I prefer boiled potatoes...

Tim's back in his pronunciation workshop. This time he's finding out why English speakers sometimes don't pronounce the /d/ at the end of words like 'boiled' and 'steamed'. Find out more - and learn how Londoners prefer their potatoes!

To do

Take a look at the video, then try the activity to do some practice.

Watch the video and complete the activity

Show transcript Hide transcript

Tim
Hi. I'm Tim and this is my pronunciation workshop. Here I'm going to show you how English is really spoken. It'll help you to become a better listener and a more fluent speaker. Are you ready? Come on, follow me. Today, we’re going to talk about one of the most important questions in contemporary Britain. The answer will also help you improve your pronunciation. So, what is this question? Well, it involves one of these, and one of these. Quite simply: do you prefer your potatoes steamed - or boiled? What’s your preference? Well this is what the people of London think.

Voxpops
I prefer steamed potatoes.
I prefer boiled potatoes.
I prefer steamed potatoes to boiled potatoes.
I prefer boiled potatoes.

Tim
Well there we have it: the nation has spoken. Our completely scientific survey proves that the country is divided fifty-fifty. But what about pronunciation? Well, one of the things that happens when we speak English fluently is that we don’t always pronounce all the sounds in every word. The words steamed and boiled both end in the sound /d/, don’t they? Or do they? Watch and listen again - can you hear the sound /d/?

Voxpops
I prefer steamed potatoes.
I prefer boiled potatoes.
I prefer steamed potatoes to boiled potatoes.
I prefer boiled potatoes.

Tim
It’s very difficult to say /d/ when it comes in between two other consonants. Your mouth has to do a lot of work. So in many cases the /d/ is not pronounced. 'Boiled potatoes' becomes 'boilpotatoes'. And 'steamed potatoes' becomes 'steampotatoes'. This is called elision. Here are some more examples.

Examples
My best friend let me borrow his car.
Don’t hold back - say what you mean.
His bike rolled down the hill without him.

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

Examples
My best friend let me borrow his car.
Don’t hold back - say what you mean.
His bike rolled down the hill without him.

Tim
Well done. Now 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. Right – now I'd better prepare my own potatoes. Ahhh!! I just peeled my finger! Ewwwsh – doesn't look good…

To do

Got that? Now try this activity to get some more practice.

The elision of /d/ game

6 Questions

How many examples of elision of /d/ in between two consonants are there in each sentence? You decide...

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More on this topic

tims_pron_10_YT.jpg The Sound of English: Other Consonants white_elephant_resilience_13_YT.jpg

End of Unit 9

We hope that was useful. In Unit 10, Dan brings you another English Masterclass - in this one, he'll be looking at the future continuous. In News Review and LingoHack you can find out which words are making the headlines - and Tim will be back with the pronunciation workshop as usual. See you there!

Session Vocabulary

  • Assimilation of /d/
    When the /d/ sound comes between two other consonants, English speakers often drop the /d/ sound completely.

    Some examples of phrases where this might happen include:

    • I prefer boiled potatoes.
    • My friend let me borrow his car.
    • Don't hold back.