Spoken short forms

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Spoken short forms

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Gonna, wanna, dunno, whatcha ... are these really English words? Who uses them and why? Finn and Catherine give you an introduction to short spoken forms in 6 Minute Vocabulary.

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Finn Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary with me Finn…

Catherine And me Catherine. Today we’re talking about short spoken forms.

Finn That’s words like gonna , wanna and gotta that we use a lot in spoken English. Let ‘s start by listening to Jason and Yuki talking about their plans for the weekend.

Catherine And here’s a question: Who’s Yuki meeting on Saturday night? Have a listen.

INSERT Jason Whatcha doing at the weekend, Yuki?

Yuki I dunno. I’m probably gonna meet Lucy on Saturday night.

Jason Oh, right. Do you wanna come to the cinema in the afternoon?

Yuki No, thanks. I’ve gotta finish an English essay for Monday morning.

Jason OK. Lemme know if you change your mind.

STING

Finn Well that was Jason and Yuki. We asked you: Who’s Yuki meeting on Saturday night?

Catherine
And the answer is: she’s probably going to meet Lucy.

Finn That’s right. But instead of saying going to , Yuki said gonna . She ‘s probably gonna meet Lucy .

Catherine Yes, and that’s what we’re looking at in this programme. English speakers often say the words going to very fast - and it sounds like gonna. They usually do this in informal situations when they’re talking to friends.

Finn So does that mean that you shouldn’t say gonna when you need to speak carefully and politely, like in a job interview?

Catherine Well, not necessarily. If gonna comes out naturally, it ‘s probably ok. But a job interview is formal, so it’s probably a bit more polite to say going to . And you don ‘t usually use gonna in writing, unless you ‘re actually writing down a dialogue.

Finn In fact some people never use it, even informally. Although it’s probably more common in American English.

Catherine That’s right. And one other thing about gonna is that we only use it to replace going to when it ‘s followed by a verb.

Finn That’s true. If you say: I ‘m going to Paris , you can’t use gonna to say: I ‘m gonna Paris. You ‘d have to add a verb, like this, and say: I ‘m gonna go to Paris .

Catherine I’m gonna go to Paris . Let ‘s have another clip with some more short spoken forms.

INSERT CLIP 1
Jason Whatcha doing at the weekend, Yuki?

Yuki I dunno. I’m probably gonna meet Lucy on Saturday night.

Finn So Jason said whatcha . Whatcha . That ‘s a short form of what are you . Or sometimes what do you .

Catherine And Yuki said I dunno . I dunno . That ‘s a short spoken form of I don ‘t know .

Finn Let’s have another clip. See if you can spot any more.

INSERT CLIP 2 Jason Oh, right. Do you wanna come to the cinema in the afternoon?

Yuki No, thanks. I’ve gotta finish an English essay for Monday morning.

Catherine Did you get them? We heard wanna . That ‘s a short form of want to . Do you wanna come to the cinema in the afternoon ?

Finn And there was also gotta . Gotta . I ‘ve gotta finish an English essay . Here, gotta is short for got to . But gotta can also be short for the possessive got a , like in I ‘ve gotta new mobile .

Catherine And now for the last clip.

INSERT CLIP 3 Jason OK. Lemme know if you change your mind.

Finn Can you guess what lemme is short for? It ‘s let me. Let me know if you change your mind.

Catherine Yes. And there are others like hafta , hafta , for have to or gimme , that’s gimme , for give me .

Finn Now what about kinda , kinda , for kind of ? Like She ‘s kinda nice .

IDENT
6 Minute Vocabulary from BBC Learning English.

Finn And we’re talking about spoken short forms. So Catherine, whatcha gonna do in the quiz?

Catherine Let’s go. Quiz question number one: what’s a more informal way to say I ‘ve got to phone the bank ?

Finn It’s I ‘ve gotta phone the bank .

Catherine Good. And number two: you want to know what your friend is doing tonight. How can you ask them, using a spoken short form?

Finn
You could say: whatcha doing tonight ?

Catherine And number three: you think it’s going to rain. Tell your friend using a spoken short form.

Finn
You could say: I think it ‘s gonna rain .

Catherine And that’s the end of the quiz. Well done if you got them all right. Now before we go, here’s a vocabulary tip. Try to watch TV, movies and video clips regularly in English. Listen out for short spoken forms and practise repeating them. It will help you to understand better when you listen and sound more natural when you speak.

Finn There’s more about this at bbclearningenglish.com. We’ve gotta go now, but do join us again soon for more 6 Minute Vocabulary.

Both Bye!

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