Story: Last week my parents and I went to visit my aunt in the hospital after she had a stroke.
Pronunciation lesson: The reduced form of ‘and’
To download, right-click on Download > Save link as or Download Linked File (depending on your browser).
This podcast is for intermediate to advanced English learners. I use core vocabulary to tell you a story about something that happened in my daily life in Canada. Each podcast also includes a pronunciation lesson that explains something I said in the story. You’ll hear the story twice. The first time, the story is a little slower than normal. After the pronunciation lesson, you’ll hear the story again, but at a regular speed. I speak naturally and with a standard American accent.
Last week my parents and I went to visit my aunt in the hospital. About 2 ½ weeks ago she had a hemorrhagic stroke. It’s a stroke that occurs when one of the arteries leading to the brain suddenly tears or bursts. She lives by herself, so it was pretty frightening for her. The entire left side of her body was suddenly paralyzed. She immediately called 911 & the ambulance came to her house & took her to the hospital. Her local hospital didn’t have all the necessary equipment to diagnose a stroke, so a couple days later she was transferred to a hospital in a larger city.
I really dislike hospitals. They’re full of sick people and I feel like I’m suddenly going to catch an illness just by setting foot in a hospital. I know it’s crazy but I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels like that.
Being in the hospital has been a horrible experience for my aunt. She is in a room with 2 other stroke patients who are in far worse condition than she is. One lady can’t speak so she just makes noises all day. Another lady is completely paralyzed on the right side of her body. She says terrible things to my aunt like, “I’m praying to God that something bad will happen to you.” To escape her room my aunt sometimes goes to the TV lounge, but once, a strange man tried to hit on her. Can you imagine hitting on someone after they just had a stroke? That’s a bit weird.
My aunt has almost fully recovered from the stroke now. She goes to therapy every day and she has regained the feeling in her left arm and leg. She can walk up and down the stairs by herself and she’s regained her balance. She doesn’t want to be in the hospital anymore and finds it very stressful, but she calmed down while we were there. We sat outside in a park in front of the hospital for the afternoon. We ate lunch, and talked & laughed for 2 hours. She felt much better.
Note: Health care in Canada is provided by the government, specifically the provincial governments [a province is similar to a state in the U.S.]. We have no access to private health care; we have to take what the government provides. When I talk about hospitals, I’m talking specifically about hospitals in my province (Ontario). Hospitals [and health care] may be different in other provinces.
Listen carefully to some groups of words from the story:
my parents and I
2 ½ = two and a half
walk up and down
her left arm and leg
Did you hear the word and in those phrases?
The word and is a conjunction. It’s a function word. It has to be in the sentence for the sentence to be grammatically correct, but it’s not an important word. In spoken English, it’s reduced and pronounced /ən/.
I didn’t say “my parents and I” I said “my parents /ən/ I”
I didn’t say “walk up and down” I said “walk up /ən/ down”
Here are some more examples of the reduced form of ‘and.’ They weren’t in the story, but they are common phrases.
Listen, and repeat after me:
rock and roll / rock’n’roll
boys and girls
night and day
black and white
open and close
Listen to the story again. Can you hear more examples of the reduced and?
a hemorrhagic stroke
[My aunt] had a hemorrhagic stroke.
= a condition in which the blood supply to the brain suddenly stops. The victim then loses control of or cannot feel parts of their body.
…a stroke that occurs when one of the arteries leading to the brain suddenly tears or bursts.
= a thin tube in a body that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body
The entire left side of her body was suddenly paralyzed.
= unable to feel or move all or part one’s own body
After the stroke, my aunt was (temporarily) paralyzed on the left side of her body.
to set foot in (a place)
I feel like I’m suddenly going to catch an infection just by setting foot in a hospital.
= to enter or to go into a place
She doesn’t want to be in the hospital anymore and finds it very stressful,
= describes something that causes you to feel stressed (something that causes you to feel worried, tense, anxious etc.)
hit on someone
To escape her room my aunt sometimes goes to the TV lounge, but once, a strange man tried to hit on her. Can you imagine hitting on someone after they just had a stroke? That’s a bit weird.
= to start talking to someone in order to start a relationship (usually a sexual relationship!), with her/him
… but she calmed down while we were there.
= begin to feel calm, relaxed, less upset, less emotional, etc.
(What is core vocabulary?)
live by herself (one’s self)
diagnose an illness
catch an illness
set foot in (a place)
in good/bad/serious condition
pray to God / a god