Listen to a story about reading in the summer!
You’ll also learn how the words “want to” become the sound /wɑnə/ 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.
Every year as we get closer to summer, you start seeing recommended summer reading lists everywhere. Newspapers, magazines and bookstores all publish their own lists of recommended books. A summer reading list is just that – a list of books you want to read over the summer.
Learn more: Episode 05: The reduced form of “and” in spoken English
People want to relax in the summer. It’s hot out. Summer days are long. Reading passes the time while you’re relaxing outside, while you’re lying by the pool or on the beach, or while you’re on an airplane traveling to your summer vacation destination. Summer books are considered light reading: books that are entertaining and easy to read.
Episode 17: The reduced form of “or” in spoken English
English Vocabulary: Relax, Relaxing and Relaxed
Back in May I decided to compile my own summer reading list. I chose some books recommended by Canada’s main chain of bookstores, and some books recommended by a popular women’s magazine. I also added some books that I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I started with a list of 12 books, but I keep discovering new books and adding more to my list.
Learn more: English Idioms with the Word Book
I looked for the books at the library. I don’t want to waste money buying books that I’m only going to read once. I found some of the books right away. Other books on my list were checked out, so I put a hold on them through the library website. I have to wait for the books to be returned to the library. When it’s my turn, the library will hold the book for me until I pick it up. I’m 35th in line for one of the books. I have to wait for 34 people ahead of me to finish reading that book. I probably won’t read that book until the fall!
Improve Your English by Reading Children’s Book Series
Episode 10: My Library Books are Always Late
HOW THE WORDS WANT TO BECOME THE SOUND /wɑnə/ IN FAST, NATURAL SPOKEN ENGLISH
This transcript uses IPA symbols to represents sounds and teach pronunciation. Learn more about the IPA here.
It’s important to know how to say this sound so you can also hear this sound.
Listen to this sentence from the story:
People want to relax in the summer.
Did you hear the words WANT or TO in the sentence? There are 3 things that happen when the verb WANT is followed the preposition TO. In fast natural speech, the two words are combined and reduced to the sound /wɑnə/.
The verb WANT ends with a T sound and the preposition TO begins with a T sound. In spoken English, same consonant sounds are linked, so you only have to say the T sound once, with no pause between the words: /wɑntoʊ/
Learn more: Episode 23: How to Link Same Consonant Sounds
The preposition TO 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. In fast, natural speech, the preposition TO is reduced to the sound /tə/, where the vowel becomes the schwa sound /ə/.
So WANT TO becomes /wɑntə/
The N consonant sound and the T sound have the same starting mouth position. The tip of your tongue is touching the alveolar ridge or gum ridge behind your top teeth. Instead of finishing the T sound, American English speakers just don’t say the T sound at all, and so /wɑntə/ becomes /wɑnə/
/wɑnə/ is also the sound for WANT and the article A, for example “Do you want a /wɑnə/ cup of coffee?”
WANT and TO are not always pronounced /wɑnə/. You will hear American English speakers say both /wɑnə/ and /wɑntoʊ/ with the linked T consonant sounds. Often when American English speakers want to speak clearly, like I’m doing now, or when they give a speech or a presentation at work, they will say /wɑntoʊ/ or /wɑntə/. It’s important that you know all three ways of saying WANT TO so that you can hear all three ways of saying WANT TO.
You should never write the sound /wɑnə/. It’s not a word. Remember, /wɑnə/ is the sound of the words WANT and TO in fast, natural spoken English.
Listen to the story again, and listen for the sound /wɑnə/.
Learn more: How “kind of” becomes /haʊt̬ə/
- What book are you reading right now?
- If you’re not reading a book right now, what’s the last book you read?
Leave me a comment below!
Right now I am reading a book called The Poisoned Crown by Maurice Druon. It’s the third book in his Accursed Kings series. George R. R. Martin, who wrote the book series A Song of Ice and Fire that became the popular TV show “Games of Thrones,” says that the Accursed Kings inspired him to write A Song of Ice and Fire!
If you’re curious, here’s my original summer reading list:
1. The Miniaturist
2. Girl on the Train
3. The War of Art (non-fiction)
4. The Little Paris Bookshop
5. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
6. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (non-fiction)
7. Everyone Brave is Forgiven
8. Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions (non-fiction)
9. Girl on the Train
10. Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty
12. The Nest
I didn’t like #3, #7 or #8, and I didn’t finish reading #7 or #8. I have read everything except #10-12. I am 35th in line for #12.
Hello Melanie . Thank you for the interesting and useful lessons .
No problem, Andrey! I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed the lesson! :)
I love reading books! I’m currently reading a couple of books : The Joy luck Cub by Amy Tan and Persepolis , a graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi.
I’m reading the English version, hoping this will help me to increase my vocabulary.
Just today I’ve tried for the first time to listen to an audio book too!
To keep track of the books I’ve read and to make a list of the ones I want to read I’m using the Goodreads app. If you don’t know it yet, you should check it out. It’s a nice place to exchange opinions about books with friends, read reviews by other readers and to be inspired on what book to read next! See you there!! :-)
I didn’t know about the Goodreads app, but I’ve been to the website a few times. I thought it was just for writing reviews! I didn’t know you could keep track of the books you’ve read, too. I need to do that! Thank you for the info!
The last year I read a book from Robert Green named “48 laws of power”.
Now I am re-reading again.
It was a pretty good podcast.
Peter from Dominican Republic
Daniele Charlotin says
Hello Melanie, I just love everything you teach us and I love to read
I am so happy to hear that, Daniele! Thank you so much! : )
I had never heard of that book, Peter, but it looks very interesting. I found the Wikipedia entry for it, and I laughed at this part: “… and is popular with prison inmates and celebrities.”
I need to read this book! : )
RODOLFO LEZAMA says
I just want to say that your podcasts are very interesting and I really enjoy them. I’m so happy to be able to listen you and read each of them. Dear Melanie, you are doing a really great job! Thanks again!
You are so kind, Rodolfo! Thank you for letting me know that you enjoy the podcast! I am happy to hear that!
I ve read books about interesting peoples’ life, biographies. Last year I read a book about Arnold Shuaz#*::@** (the former California’s governor) I simply devoured it. Arnold’s story is so interesting. I also started reading George Chuvalo’s biography, a former Canadian boxer but despite his story is full of interesting episodes, the narrative is a pain in the neck, so I didnt finish it. You can even borrow it from me if you want.
Hi, Gilson! Don’t worry, no one can spell Arnold’s name properly. : ) It’s a German name.
I’ve heard the name George Chuvalo, I think, but I don’t know a lot about him. I will have to borrow that book sometime!
Hi Melanie . Thank you for the interesting and useful lessons.
Gemma Cruz says
I like very much to learn english with yout lessons. Everytime I learn a bit more.
I am so happy to hear that, Gemma! : )
Pr. Vandeir says
Hello Melanie, thank you for the useful lesson. Now I am reading two beautiful books, Bible NIV, I am at Galatians chapter 6 and Christ the healer by F.F.Bosworth.
I have been trying to read the Bible for a long time! I didn’t grow up with the stories in the Bible, so everything is new to me. There is a lot to learn!
Hello, Melanie madam.This is my first-ever comment to you. Thank You so much, especially, for this Lesson #25. I never read any book before because I never imagined, in my schooling, that English would be of this much important. I had no list of books to read & here U solved my problem by providing your reading choice, I’m definitely going to read all these books but first those one you dislike to read, I want to know what you didn’t like in some listed books and yes Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! so much again madam. Have a nice day :-)
Hello Rohit! Welcome! I am happy that you are here! Reading is so important for learning English. You will find that your English improves faster!
Thank you Madam Melanie for your wonderful podcasts, you have really solve my problem because i don’t like reading and am starting from now.
Hi, Asare! The most important thing is to find things that interest you! Don’t make yourself read things that are boring. Look for topics that are interesting!
pradeep singh says
thanks for the Lesson , I never read any book before but i love to learn English , now i can understand English but i can’t write correct words or sentence , because i don’t know the spelling and sometimes i get stuck because my grammar is poor , even trying my best to learn online but sometimes also get tired of reading, if i see other speaking fluent English i get demotivated .
Hi, Pradeep! Don’t get discouraged! You are doing well. You spelling is very good in the message you just wrote. It’s not as hard as you think it is!
Muhammad Jneed says
Thank you so much Melanie. I’m an English teacher. I teach English as a second language. I’m from Syria.
Hi, Muhammad! It’s nice to hear from a fellow English teacher! : )
Hi dear Melanie. Thank you so much. today is the first time I’ve got familiar with your great podcasts and the way you teach. both are great.
Thank you so much, Maryam! I hope you continue to enjoy my lessons! : )
Tiago Gomes says
Hi Melanie, Great postcast. Now I’m reading a book Naked Economics by Charles Wheelan. Very interesting! Bye Bye!
Hi, Tiago! I hadn’t heard about that book, but it looks interesting. I need to read it! I studied economics in school, but I’ve forgotten a lot.
I´m reading THE TEMPEST by Shakespeare. It´s a challenge because there are common words that have a different meaning from the meaning used nowadays. And the place from the words in sentences may not obey grammar rules we know, and the unusual arrangements can puzzle a reader. Shakespeare shifts his sentences away from “normal” often to create the the rhythm to emphasize a word, sometimes to give a character his or her own speech patterns.”
I will cite some comments from the editor I consider are very helpful to understand this text:
” In The Tempest Shakespeare puts the romance onstage. He gives us a magician, a monster, a grief-stricken king, a wise old councillor and no fewer than two beautiful princeess (one of whom we only here about), and two treacherous brothers. The magician is Prospero, former duke of the Italian city-state of Milan, whose intense attraction to the study of magic caused him to lose sight of the political necessity of maintaining power, which he then lost to his treacherous brother, Antonio… Prospero has already suffered twelve years of exile on a desert island, where his only companions have been his daughter, Miranda, now a beautiful princess, the spirit Ariel, and the monster Caliban, whom Prospero has used his magic to enslave. Now sailing by the island and caught in a terrible storm are Prospero´s enemies (and one of his friends)… One the ship are Antonio who usurped Prospero´s dukedom and put him out to sea; King Alonso of Naples, who conspired with Antonio against Prospero; Sebastian, Alonso´s brother, who is about to conspire with Antonio against Alonso.” (1)
Antonio was a huge snake as you can see. And finally, there´s Prince Ferndinand, Alonso´s brother destined to discover and fall into the power of the beautiful Miranda.
…”No author speaks more powerfully to the human condition, in all its variety, than this actor / playwright from a minor sixteenth-century English village.” (2)
(1) Shakespeare, The Tempest. Washington Square Press Drama WSP. p-xiii- Words from the editor.
(2) ————————————————————————————–presentation first page, from the Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, Werner Gundersheimer
Hi Melanie! Thanks for your website, it’s wonderful!
I have a doubt about the use of -Ing form especially after to be in examples like “my main goal in life is……..” Would it be getting, to get or get?
First, “I have a doubt” is not an English phrase. It’s a Spanish or Brazilian Portuguese phrase translated into English.
Instead, you should say, …
“I have a question about the -ing form of a verb, especially after the verb be. For example, how do you use get in this sentence, ‘My main goal in life is ….”
There is no “rule” about using the -ing from of a verb after be. You need to focus on learning sentences. In your example sentence, you should use the to + verb form because that’s the structure of the sentence:
“My main goal in life is to get people excited about learning English.”
“My main goal in life is to buy a new car.”
“My main goal in life is to win an Olympic medal.”
However, you use different forms of get in other sentence structures:
“The one thing I want to do in life is win an Olympic medal.”
“The one thing I want to do in life is buy a new car.”
“The one thing I want to do in life is get people excited about learning English.”
“The thing that I’m really excited about is getting a new car.”
This is why it is so important to focus on sentences and not on rules!
Hi, Melanie. Thank you for your dedication! your postcast are just great!. I love to read but now with my two kids it´s a little dificult to find a free time to read a book for grown ups, but I´m working a lot in my kids english, and I use to log in in many american websites and read stories for them.
As I want to learn more in english aspecially in listening, so I try to listen and I intend to start with your podcast. For reading now I ‘m reading the teaching of the Buddha which teach us to be the good person.