Lotta
 
 
 
 
American English Reductions - Lotta

In this lesson you will learn the American English reduction lotta.
Quick Links
what + is + word whassup whatser whatsiz          
word + me gimme lemme            
word + have coulda mighta musta shoulda woulda      
word + to gonna gotta hafta hasta oughta wanna    
do + not + know donno dunno            
did + you + word jeet jev jever          
word + you betcha doncha getcha gotcha howarya howdya howjya howujya
jya whaddaya whaddaya wancha whajya whenjya wherjya whojya
woujya              
word + of frunna kinda kindsa lotsa lotta outta sorta typa
Reductions: "lotta"
  • This American English reduction is formed when you combine and reduce the following words.
  • lotta = lot + of
  • This American English reduction is used in the following way.
  • There was a lotta food at the buffet.
  • This American English reduction has the following meaning.
  • There was a lot of food at the buffet.
Examples: "lotta"
  • A lotta thought went into this decision.
  • (Meaning: A lot of thought went into this decision.)
  • Are you planning to join a lotta tours while you are on vacation?
  • (Meaning: Are you planning to join a lot of tours while you are on vacation?)
  • Do you want to see a lotta birds at the park today?
  • (Meaning: Do you want to see a lot of birds at the park today?)
  • You certainly bought a lotta wine today.
  • (Meaning: You certainly bought a lot of wine today.)
  • That certainly was a lotta of fun.
  • (Meaning: That certainly was a lot of of fun.)
From YOUR Teacher: Lotta

Probably the most famous usage of this American English reduction is in the Led Zeppelin song "Whole Lotta Love" which repeats this term over and over. The song also uses the reduction "gonna" numerous times.
 
Note: Reductions

Remember the following:
  • Reductions are reduced forms of English words.
  • Reductions, such as lotta are not real words in English.
  • You need to use reductions in order to sound more natural.
  • You need to know reductions in order to understand conversations between native English speakers.
  • Reductions are used extensively in American TV, movies, music, literature, and in conversations among native English speakers.
Reductions In Music and TV


Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love

Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. With their heavy, guitar-driven sound, they are regularly cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal, although their style drew from a variety of influences, including blues and folk music. The band have been credited with significantly impacting the nature of the music industry, particularly in the development of album-orientated rock (AOR) and stadium rock. Many critics consider Led Zeppelin one of the most successful, innovative and influential rock groups in history.

This video is a good example of the usage of "lotta", and "gonna" English language reductions.

Use a dictionary to look up words you do not understand.
Lyrics

You need coolin', baby, I'm not foolin'
I'm going to send you back to schoolin'
Way down inside, honey, you need it
I'm goin' to give you my love
I'm goin' to give you my love, oh
Want a whole lotta love
Want a whole lotta love
Want a whole lotta love
Want a whole lotta love
You've been learnin', baby, I've been yearnin'
All them good times, baby, baby, I've been learnin'
Way, way down inside, honey, you need it
I'm gonna give you my love, ah
I'm goin' to give you my love, ah, oh
Want a whole lotta love
Want a whole lotta love
Want a whole lotta love
Want a whole lotta love
You've been coolin', baby, I've been droolin'
All the good times, baby, I've been misusin'
Way, way down inside, I'm goin' to give you my love
I'm goin' to give you every inch of my love
Goin' to give you my love, hey, alright, yes, sir
Want a whole lotta love
Want a whole lotta love
Want a whole lotta love
Want a whole lotta love
Way down inside, woman, you need love
Shake for me, girl, I want to be your back door man
Hey! Oh! Hey! Oh! Hey! Oh!
Keep it coolin', baby
Keep it coolin', baby
Keep it coolin', baby
Keep it coolin', baby
Keep it coolin', baby
 
Reduction Tips
Audio Program
(Beginner - Listening)

Wanna, Gonna, Hafta: Getting Relaxed With Reduced Forms of Speech - A five minute audio program of the written script below. The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
AA: I'm Avi Arditti with Rosanne Skirble, and this week on Wordmaster: reduced forms in spoken American English.

RS: We're talking about forms like whaddaya -- meaning "what do you," as in "whaddaya say?" "Whaddaya Say?" is also the title of a popular teaching book on reduced forms by Nina Weinstein.

AA: She did extensive research on the subject as a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, and as a teaching fellow at Harvard.

NINA WEINSTEIN: "There were a lot of assumptions. People felt that maybe it was a sort of uneducated kind of speech or maybe it was caused by informality or things like this. So my master's thesis is actually on what causes reduced forms.

"And what I found was speed of speech was statistically significant as a cause for reduced forms, not informality. Though in informal speech we tend to speak more quickly, and so we think it's the informality, but actually it's the speed of speech."

RS: "What do you find? Do you find certain patterns of reductions? Is there a way in which you can almost predict, if you are a speaker of English as a foreign language, that you can almost predict when or how it's going to happen?"

NINA WEINSTEIN: "Yes, yes -- in fact, you can learn the reduced forms before. There are fifty to seventy common reduced forms that everyone should know from a listening point of view. Sometimes, I think, teachers feel that students will just pick this up. And they do pick up some, but they don't pick up all of them."

AA: "Can you give us a few of the most common reduced forms?"

NINA WEINSTEIN: "The three most common reduced forms are wanna, which is the spoken form of 'want to'; gonna, which is the spoken form of 'going to' plus a verb; and hafta, which is the spoken form of 'have to.' And one of these forms will occur about every two minutes."

AA: "On average in a conversation?"

NINA WEINSTEIN: "Yes, in unscripted spoken English."

AA: "That's amazing. And we're talking about common, everyday speech. And yet I could see maybe some students who are learning English who want to maybe apply for a job or meet with an employer or someone, a professor, and maybe they're afraid that they're going to sound uneducated or that they're too informal. What do you say about that?"

NINA WEINSTEIN: "Informality -- informality actually is a very, very large part of American English. And as I tell my students, the majority of English is informal, though we do have situations that call for formality. I don't think that students should worry about their own use of the reduced forms because non-native speakers generally don't reach the speed of speech to have reductions. And so their speech will not reduce naturally.

"I don't advise students unnaturally adapting these forms because, as I said, they're a natural flow of spoken English. But what I do suggest that they do is, if they want to sound more natural, regardless of whether it's an interview situation or just in everyday speech, they could adopt the three most common reduced forms in their speech because these are almost like vocabulary items. They're that common.

"As far as the job interview goes, as I said, I don't think students should adopt the fifty to seventy common reduced forms in their own speech. But they need to understand the interviewer, who will be using reduced forms."

RS: "Now beyond these top three, is there a top ten?"

NINA WEINSTEIN: "I wouldn't say there's a top ten. If I were to just give you some really common ones, one of the more common question forms would be 'what do you/what are you' changing to whaddaya. You can put that together with want to -- 'what do you want to' would be naturally pronounced as whaddaya wanna: 'Whaddaya wanna do?' 'Whaddaya wanna have?' Of course, we talked about gonna, which is 'going to' plus verb.

"We've got gotta, which is 'have got to': 'I've got to do this.' 'I've got to go there.' I think those are common, but I think the ones that are represented in 'Whaddya Say?' are really the most common. And I can't cut it off at ten, because actually in my research I found three hundred and five reduced forms."

A: Nina Weinstein, the author of "Whaddaya Say? Guided Practice in Relaxed Speech," speaking with us from VOA's Los Angeles bureau.

RS: And we gotta go. That's Wordmaster for this week. To learn more about American English, visit our Web site, voanews.com/wordmaster.

AA: And our e-mail address is word@voanews.com. With Rosanne Skirble, I'm Avi Arditti.
 
Audio Program
(Beginner - Listening)

To Master Rhythms of English, You Really Hafta Learn Reductions - A five minute audio program of the written script below. The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
AA: I'm Avi Arditti with Rosanne Skirble, and this week on WORDMASTER: expanding on reductions. When speakers compress a phrase like "going to" into "gonna," or "what do you" into "whaddaya," that's a reduction. We mentioned their importance when we talked last week about the natural rhythms of spoken American English. To explain more, we found a segment we did with Slangman David Burke where he talked about reductions.

DAVID BURKE: "One of them is 'you.' Instead of saying you, we just say ya. Instead of saying `How are you?' [we say] `How are ya?' If I were to say to you 'Didja eat yet?' and you replied `No, didju?' we would understand that. 'Didja eat yet?' Did you eat yet?

"We talked about ya which is a reduction of you, but after the letter d the you or the ya becomes a 'ja' sound always after the letter d. `Would you like to come to the movies?' `Wouldja like to come to the movies?' `Did you eat?' `Didja eat?' And, for some reason after the letter t the ya becomes 'cha' -- `I'll let you come with me.' `I'll letcha come with me.' `What's that you have in your hand?' `Whatcha have in your hand?' So, we have about four different ways of saying `you' which is 'ya,' 'ja,' 'cha' and even 'ju.'"

AA: "This is spoken English, right? Now if you were writing a report or something for work, you would want to be more careful about using the formal non-reduced forms."

DAVID BURKE: "Absolutely. But, I would have to say yes and no, because reductions are used typically in speaking; however, a lot of times when we are writing to friends or especially in comic books we'll see the reduced form.

"True, in a formal report, you do not want to use reductions, but when we are writing a letter to somebody we might say in the beginning of the letter `How are ya?' and spell y-a for ya. That's pretty common."

AA: "Also on the most-often-heard reduction list are the reduced forms of going to and want to. They become gonna, g-o-n-n-a, and wanna, w-a-n-n-a."

RS: "As in 'I'm gonna be late,' or 'Do you wanna go with me?'"

DAVID BURKE: "And what's a little bit difficult to understand about `gonna' [is that] `gonna' is the reduction of `going to' only when it is something that is happening in the future.

"But when it indicates going from one place to another you cannot reduce it. For example, `I'm going to the movies tonight.' You can't say `I'm gonna the movies tonight.' Or `Are you going to the market?' You can't say 'Are you gonna the market?' So, it's only used to indicate the future, and it's really popular."

AA: "Sometimes, when reduction takes place, two different words are reduced to the same sound."

RS: "That happens with 'and' and 'in'."

DAVID BURKE: "'And' is pronounced 'n': `Rosanne n Avi.' The word `in' -- 'Let's go inside' -- it's pronounced absolutely the same. `Put the pencil 'n' the box.' It sounds like `Put the pencil and the box.'"

AA: "So someone coming to this country who is not used to the fast-speaking ways of your average American is going to be confused by these `wannas, gonnas -- "

RS: "Can't ya, don'tcha."

DAVID BURKE: "Absolutely. In fact just now you said a very common reduction, `used to' - `usta' means to be accustomed to, to be acclimated to. I'm usta getting up early. He usta be my best friend. We would never say `used to.'"

RS: "The question I have for you is that given the fact that Americans speak with reductions, how do people who speak English as a foreign language learn to tell the difference? How do they learn these reductions?"

DAVID BURKE: "The only way they can learn is to live in this country, and of course when they arrive they will be absolutely shocked and all of a sudden someone comes up and says, `How do ya do?' not `How do you do?' They are stunned."

AA: Slangman David Burke, talking about reductions in a segment from two thousand. You can learn about his language teaching materials at slangman.com. And that's WORDMASTER for this week. Archives are at voanews.com/wordmaster. And our e-mail is word@voanews.com. With Rosanne Skirble, I'm Avi Arditti.

MUSIC: "Whatcha Gonna Do With A Cowboy?" / Chris LeDoux/Garth Brooks
 
Reduced Forms

Broadcast on "Coast to Coast": January 16, 2003

AA: I'm Avi Arditti with Rosanne Skirble and this week on Wordmaster, English teacher Lida Baker explains some of the shortcuts that work their way into conversational American speech.

RS: They're called reduced forms, or reductions. And, since it was noon when we spoke to Lida, she served up the perfect lunchtime example:

BAKER: "So tell me, jeet yet?"

RS: "No we haven't eaten yet (laughter)."

BAKER: "See, you understood what I said, 'jeet.' Now if we were to pronounce that the way it's written, we would say 'did you eat yet?' But in rapid, spoken English, the 'did you' gets reduced. Do you see how the nature of the consonants changes, it's not 'did you,' it's 'juh' Let's suppose that you had already eaten lunch, so I could ask you 'hoodjeet with with?'"

RS: "Who did you eat with?"

BAKER: "That's right. Whadja eet?"

RS: "'What did you eat?' to translate."

BAKER: "Right. The reductions occur in words that are not stressed. So going back over those three examples, which admittedly are rather extreme -- and we'll go back and look at a few cases that are less extreme -- notice that it's the auxiliary verb, which is 'did,' and the pronoun 'you' gets reduced, and the word 'eat,' which is the verb in this sentence, is the stressed word. The word 'yet' is unstressed; it's an adverb. So it comes out 'jeet yet?'

Now let me give you some examples of reductions that occur frequently, or even all the time. One example would be the preposition 'to,' which we normally in spoken language pronounce 'ta,' 'I hafta go,' 'I hafta,' right? Haf-ta. It's not 'to.' Same thing with the word 'you.' How does that get reduced?"

RS: "Ya."

BAKER: "That's right, it becomes 'ya.' So instead of 'how are you doing,' we say 'how ya doin'?"

AA: "You drop the g on doing."

BAKER: "We drop the g. So that would be -- remember, there are two changes that occur in pronunciation when forms are reduced. One is that consonants change or disappear, and other one is that there's a change in the vowel quality. So 'how ya doin',' the word 'are' disappeared all together, the 'you' changed to 'ya' and on the word 'doing' the g dropped."

RS: "It would sound really strange if I would say in casual conversation, 'how are you doing?'"

AA: "Unless you're talking to someone who's hard of hearing or you know doesn't understand the language very well."

BAKER: "Yeah, it would be very unnatural. Think of other forms like 'gotta.' 'I gotta go.' We don't say 'I have got to go.' The word 'have' drops, 'got to' becomes 'gotta.' Notice 'got to,' when we pronounce them together, the 't' in American English changes to a ā€˜d.ā€™ So there's a example of where, as I said before, consonant quality changes."

RS: "And we see this with 'going to,' 'I'm gonna go.'"

BAKER: "And very interesting, because most of my students, even at a low intermediate level, are familiar with 'gonna.' They've heard it so many times in movies and in songs and so on, so much so that I'll receive essays where the students have written g-o-n-n-a. But what I'm teaching people is academic English, and so I have to teach them that it's not OK to write reduced forms. It's OK to say them, but you shouldn't write them."

AA: "So is any of this related to social class or to education?"

BAKER: "I think the use of reduced forms is tied more to the situation. You'll find that when people are talking with their friends in a more casual situation, where we're feeling more relaxed, we tend to use more reduced forms -- because, one of the reasons that we do reduce forms, that we do have so many reductions in our speech, is that it's just much easier to pronounce words. Whenever we pronounce consonants, the mouth has to be in a certain position, and to move from one position to another requires a certain amount of muscular effort."

RS: Lida Baker teaches at the American Language Center of the University of California at Los Angeles. She also writes textbooks for English learners.

AA: You'll find our previous Wordmaster segments with Lida on our Web site, voanews.com/wordmaster. And our e-mail address is word@voanews.com. Or write us at VOA Wordmaster, Washington DC 20237 USA. With Rosanne Skirble, I'm Avi Arditti.

MUSIC: "What You Gonna Do"/The Jeanette Williams Band
 
Pronunciation Tips
Are You How You Talk?
(Beginner - Listening, reading)

A video lesson to help with your understanding of American dialects.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Click here to visit the lesson page.
Are You How You Talk?
(Beginner - Listening)

An audio lesson to help with your understanding of American dialects. The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed. Click here to visit the lesson page with the written script for this audio program.
Improve Your Pronunciation by Training Your Ears
(Beginner - Listening)

An audio lesson to help with your pronunciation and English language reductions. The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed. Great English pronunciation tips. Click here to visit the lesson page with the written script for this audio program.