In the weak form of the word – AT – the vowel is replaced by a shwa sound. When AT is weak sometimes you will hear only the shwa sound and sometimes you will hear the schwa sound followed by a T.
Sound linking – consonant⤻at
AT is often linked to other words in the sentence. If the word before AT ends with a consonant then the consonant will often be linked to the AT and it will sound like one word.
Listen to how AT is pronounced in these sound files. Use these as dictation exercises and write down on the Lesson 2 worksheet everything you can hear. If you can not hear a word write down the sounds you can hear. Remember AT will be pronounced in the weak form and might be linked to other words. Listen for any sound linking and write it on the worksheet. You can then compare this with the transcript.
I parked at the restaurant.
ed tat the restaurant.
I is pronounced in the weak form and sounds like the schwa sound.
The past tense of the verb to park – parked – the ed ending is pronounced at T and this T links with at.
Sound linking at⤻vowel
AT is also often linked to the word following AT in the sentence. This happens when the word following AT begins with a vowel.
AT is often linked to the consonant sound at the end of the word in front of AT and linked to the vowel sound of the word following AT. This makes the word AT very difficult to hear.
Listen to the sound linking in these sound files.
Sorry, he is not at his desk.
Sorry, he’s not⤻at⤻
is is contracted so you can only hear the S – he’s
not NOT is a stressed word in this sentence as it carries the main meaning of the sentence. Not is pronounced louder and clearer than the other words. The T at the end of not is linked to the beginning of at – you hear the sounds no-Tat
his the H at the start of him / her / his is often not pronounced when these words are in the middle of a sentence. So in this sentence, the T at the end of AT links to the remaining sounds in his and you hear the sounds Tis. If the words He / His / Him are the first word in the sentence then the H is usually pronounced but some regional accents do not pronounce the H.
it sounds like Sorry he’s notatis desk.
Listening Training Takeaway
This next sound file is a summary of what you have learnt so far about the word AT. You can download the AT sound file here and take it away with you to listen to on your phone or when you are offline. You can also use this sound file as another listening training exercise and write in the worksheet everything you can hear.
The word AT is often connected to the next word. This happens when the next word begins with a vowel like we just heard – the word AT is often linked to the next word.
This sound linking also happens when AT if linked to the consonant at the end of the word before AT.. Did you hear the sound linking from consonant to AT?
When AT is linked to the consonant at the end of the word before AT.
Let me know in the comments here or in the facebook group which words you could not hear in the sound files. If you tell me what is hard to hear I will make more lessons to help you.
Speaking Challenge – use the weak form of at.
- Write 5 short sentences with the word AT in the weak form. This means that AT must not be a main content word in the sentence.
- Record yourself speaking these sentences using a recording tool such as speakpipe.
- Listen to your recording to make sure you are using the weak form of AT
- Post your recording into the facebook group for feedback.