Study the OR reduction. There are many reductions in conversational American English. It’s important to know what they are to improve listening comprehension, but also to use the reductions in speech yourself. They are a key part to sounding natural.
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In this American English pronunciation video, we’re going to discuss how to pronounce the little word ‘or’. The word ‘or’ is written in IPA with the ‘aw’ as in ‘law’ sound followed by the R consonant sound. But I find actually, the vowel sound is more closed than that— o, o, o, or, or. However, this word will generally be unstressed in a sentence. It is a conjunction. That is a function word. And function words will normally be unstressed. In this case, it will be pronounced er, er. Very short, very low in pitch, the schwa-R sound: er, er.
Let’s look at some examples. He’ll come at 6 or 6:30, 6 or, er, er, 6 or, 6 or 6:30. Now, the thing to note, when you reduce a word, you must link it to the words that come around. You don’t want to say 6—or—6:30. Six-er, six-er. 6 or 6:30. Very connected, very smooth. He’ll come at 6 or 6:30.
Do you want to leave now, or wait a while? Er-wait, er-wait. Did you notice? I did put a gap before the word ‘or’. That’s ok. Just make sure that it links to either the word before or the word after. Do you want to leave now, or wait a while? I don’t eat beef or chicken. Beef-er, beef-er, beef or chicken, beef or chicken. I don’t eat beef or chicken. Come here, or you’ll be sorry! Er-you’ll, er-you’ll, or you’ll be sorry. Come here, or you’ll be sorry.
Reduction and linking are important concepts in American English. Saying ‘or’ this way will help to smooth out your language, and will help you to be understood.
That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.