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Linguistic reductions are lost sounds in words, which happens in spoken English. For instance, "going to" changes to "gonna". The most common reductions are contractions. Most contractions are reductions of 'not'. For instance, "cannot" becomes "can't". Many contractions are reductions between a subject and a verb. For instance, "He is..." becomes "He's..."
Some reductions are known to language learners, such as the reduction of a verb and "to". Examples are "going to" becoming "gonna" and "want to" becoming "wanna".
Linguistic reductions are part of natural English and should not be considered slang or improper.
There are several basic categories of reductions:
- Elision is one or more sounds left out of a word. A common example is "and", which frequently changes to "an" or sometimes even "n". Another example is the "ba" sound in "probably", which leads to the pronunciation, "probly".
- Word stress is a weaker stress on a word. The words near it are stressed more by comparison. The weakly-stressed word may be blended, linked or even deleted.
- Function words are words that signify grammatical relations and are different from content words. Content words tend to carry more information andare often stressed. Function words are often unstressed andmay be reduced, blended, linked or deleted.