Listen to a story about how each podcast episode is created!
You’ll also learn how to say and hear the reduced form of the preposition “for” in fast, natural spoken English.
Welcome to the English Teacher Melanie Podcast, a podcast for intermediate to advanced English learners who want to improve their English listening and speaking skills!
Each episode includes a story and a pronunciation tip. In the story, I use core vocabulary, the most common words in English, to tell a real world story. The pronunciation tip will help you understand natural spoken English.
You’ll hear the story twice. The first time, the story is a little slower than normal. It sounds funny because I used editing software to change the speed of the story and make it slower. After the pronunciation tip, you’ll hear the story again, but at a regular speed.
I want to do something different with this story. I’m going to take you behind the scenes and explain how each podcast episode is created. Several weeks in advance I make a list of possible stories. Sometimes I think of a good idea quickly, other times it takes a while. Before I came up with the idea for this story, I made a list of 40 topics, most of which will never become stories.
Learn more: How to use the English verb “explain”
Next, I begin writing the story. I organize all my thoughts into paragraphs and then I edit the story sentence by sentence. I check all the words to make sure I’ve used mostly core vocabulary, and I make sure all the words are in the right order. I use four dictionaries and a thesaurus to make sure I choose the best words. I want the story to be challenging, but not too hard for you to understand. When I’m satisfied with the story, I look for something to explain in the pronunciation tip.
Listen: An Easier Way! | Episode 11
Recording each episode takes a while, because I record sentences and paragraphs multiple times until I’m satisfied with how they sound. I use a microphone and a small recording device, and then I put the episode together using audio editing software. I use another program to add metadata to the final mp3 file, so that when you play the episode in iTunes or your podcast app, you’ll see the title of the episode, my name, and my logo. I upload the finished mp3 file to my podcast host.
Learn more: Two ways to pronounce “the”
The final part of the process is publishing the episode on my website. I add the photo, the podcast player, and the transcript to a new post. I read the post a few times, but sometimes I miss a typo. Once the episode is published and live on my website, it’s time to tell people that it’s there. A process that started a few weeks ago ends with sending an email to my email list, and posting the episode on social media.
HOW TO HEAR AND SAY THE REDUCED FORM OF THE PREPOSITION FOR IN FAST, NATURAL SPOKEN ENGLISH
This transcript uses IPA symbols to represent sounds and teach pronunciation. Learn more about the IPA here.
Listen carefully to some sentences from the story:
Before I came up with the idea for this story, …
… but not too hard for you to understand.
I look for something to explain in the pronunciation tip.
Did you hear the preposition for in those sentences?
The preposition for is a function word. It’s a grammar word. It needs to be in the sentence to make the sentence grammatically correct, but it’s not an important word.
Learn more: How to say and hear more function words
Usually, in fast, natural speech, the vowel in a function word is reduced to the sound [ə]. That sound is called the schwa, and it’s the vowel sound in all reduced syllables and words.
However, there is an R after the vowel in the preposition for, so the vowel sound becomes the r-colored vowel sound [ɚ], the same sound at the end of words never or together. So, in fast natural speech, the preposition for is pronounced /fɚ/, like at the end of the words offer or prefer.
I didn’t say, “look /foɚ/ something.”
I said, “look /fɚ/ something.”
Can you hear the difference?
This is also the way that the syllable F-O-R is pronounced in the words, forget /fɚˈgɛt/, forgive /fɚˈgɪv/, and information /ˌɪnfɚˈmeɪʃən/.
Here are some more sentences to practice with the preposition for:
Wait for me.
This is for you.
Let’s go for a walk.
- This is episode 29. Which story is your favorite so far? Or, which story did you enjoy the most?
Leave me a comment below!