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IELTS Preparation Series 2, Episode 5: Virtual Doctor


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0:13

Hello. I'm Margot Politis. Welcome to Study English, IELTS preparation.

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Today, we have a story about new technologies in medicine. We're going to look at 'linking'

0:25

in spoken English, and then we'll talk about the word 'there'.

0:29

Let's listen to Dr Stuart Stapleton talk about how he treats patients in other locations

0:36

using computers and cameras.

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At the Blue Mountains end, there are four cameras. There's one which stands roughly

0:47

where I would stand as the team leader in a resuscitation that gets the overview of

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the room and the patient and the environment. There's another camera that's located above

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the patient's bed.

0:56

There's also a camera that lets us look at things like X-rays, cardiographs, blood pressure

1:01

charts and the like.

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And there's a final camera which is actually a mobile camera, which can also be head mounted.

1:06

So for example, if one of the staff up there needs to perform a procedure, which they may

1:10

have done maybe once or twice, then someone who's got a lot more experience can be at

1:14

this end and guide them through the process.

1:18

To speak English fluently and sound like a native speaker, it's important to link some

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words together. Knowing how native speakers link their words together will also make it

1:30

easier to understand spoken English.

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Sometimes it may be difficult to know where one word ends and the next one begins.

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For example, 'healthy ear' sounds the same as 'healthy year'. When 'healthy' is linked

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together with 'ear', a /j/ sound is added.

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So 'healthy ear' and 'healthy year' have the same pronunciation, shown phonetically like

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this, /'hɛlƟi j ɪə/, /'hɛlƟi jɪə/.

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Normally, the context of the sentence would give you the meaning.

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Listen to Dr Stapleton talking about a mobile camera that can view X-rays or cardiographs.

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Listen to how Dr Stapleton links his words, but in particular listen for the /j/ linking

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sound.

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And there's a final camera, which is actually a mobile camera, which can also be head mounted.

2:33

So for example, if one of the staff up there needs to perform a procedure, which they may

2:37

have done maybe once or twice, then someone who's

2:39

got a lot more experience can be at this end and guide them through the process.

2:43

Dr Stapleton, like most native speakers, speaks quickly! Listen to how he says the phrase,

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'which is actually a mobile camera.'

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And there's a final camera which is actually a mobile camera.

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Dr Stapleton says: 'actually a' like this /'ækʧuəli ə/.

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To make your speech flow as smoothly as Dr Stapleton's, it's important to focus on the

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last sound of a word and the first sound of the next, and then link the words together.

3:18

There are different types of linking in English.

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This is linking type 1: vowel + /j/ + vowel.

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'Actually' ends in an /i/ vowel sound and the next word begins with a /ə/ schwa sound.

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Linking these words together we have /'ækʧuəli j ə/.

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Listen once again to Dr Stapleton. See if you can hear another example of /j/ linking.

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Then someone who's got a lot more experience can be at this end and guide them through

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the process.

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Dr Stapleton says 'be at' /bi æt/, /bi j æt/.

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'Be' ends with the vowel sound /i/, and 'at' begins with vowel /æ/. Linking these

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words together with the /j/ sound we have:

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be at /bi j æt/.

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Let's listen again. This time listen to how these two words are linked: 'also a'.

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What sound does Dr Stapleton use to link the two words?

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There's also a camera that lets us look at things like X-rays, cardiographs, um, blood

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pressure charts and the like.

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He says: 'There's also a camera'.

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Did you hear a /w/ sound? 'There's also a camera'.

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We sometimes use a /w/ sound to link between vowels.

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'Also a' /'ɔ"lsoʊ ə/ '/'ɔ"lsoʊ wə/ This is linking type 2: vowel + /w/ + vowel

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Knowing when to use /j/ and when to use /w/ depends on the end vowel of the first word.

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High front vowels link with the /j/ sound.

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High front vowels are /i/, /aɪ/, /eɪ/, /ɔɪ/ , the sounds that are produced with the highest

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part of the tongue and close to the front of the mouth.

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For example:

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see, me my, eye

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way, say boy, toy

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High back vowels link with the w sound.

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High back vowels are /u/, /aʊ/, /oʊ/, sounds that are produced with the highest part of

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the tongue but close to the back of the mouth, like:

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who, too

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how, now

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go, slow

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Look at the sentence:

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"Have you ever been overseas?"

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Notice 'you ever'. 'You' ends with /ju/ - a high back vowel. So it links with linking

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type 2- the /w/ sound.

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It becomes 'you ever' /ju wɛvə /.

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Now let's consider another aspect of Dr Stapleton's interview. He uses the word 'there' in different

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ways.

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Here's the clip again. Listen for 'there'.

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There are four cameras. There's one which stands roughly where I would stand as the

6:53

team leader in a resuscitation that gets the overview of the room and the patient and the

6:57

environment. There's another camera that's located above the patient's bed.

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Dr Stapleton uses 'there' to talk about the position of the cameras.

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He says things like:

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there are four cameras

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there's one which stands

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there's another camera

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In these expressions, 'there' is used as an introductory subject.

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It's used when we want to say something exists somewhere. 'There' is not the subject but

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rather an 'empty' word that fills the position where the subject is usually found.

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It doesn't contribute meaning. It's used because the sentence would be grammatically incorrect

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without it. The real subject follows the verb.

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There are four cameras.

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Notice that the verb form of the introductory subject agrees with the real subject. The

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real subject is plural - 'four cameras' .

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So he uses the plural form of the verb 'to be' - 'there are'.

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So we have 'there are four cameras', but 'there is another camera'.

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Here's another use of 'there'.

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So for example, if one of the staff up there needs to perform a procedure, which they may

8:20

have done maybe once or twice, then someone who's got a lot more experience can be at

8:23

this end and guide them through the process.

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In this example, Dr Stapleton says: "one of the staff up there needs to perform a procedure".

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'There' is used as an adverb to mean 'in that place'.

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So 'there' can be used as an introductory subject or as an adverb of place.

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Listen to Dr Stapleton in this clip and see if you can identify which way he uses 'there'.

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There's also a camera that lets us look at things like X-rays, cardiographs, blood pressure

8:59

charts and the like.

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And there's a final camera which is actually a mobile camera, which can also be head mounted.

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He says: 'there's also a camera',

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and 'there's a final camera'.

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These are examples of introductory subjects.

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So today we've looked at 2 different linking types in spoken English - using /j/ and /w/;

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and we've talked about 'there' being used as an introductory subject, and as an adverb.

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And you can get more practice by going to our Study English website. You can read the

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transcript and check the study notes.

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And there you have it. I'll see you next time on Study English. Bye bye.

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