170). According to this school of thought, a new English speaker must master the weak forms in order to understand and communicate properly. If new speakers do not master the weak forms, according to this theory, the words will sound unintelligible and unfocused (Leanez & Waasaf, p. 170). The competing theory is that the mastery of weak forms is not necessary for adequate communication, but is, rather, only useful for perception (Leanez & Waasaf, p. 171). In other words, one can understand a foreign speaker who does not use weak forms, but the perception of that speaker is affected by this.
Roach states that there are forty such words in the English language and, while it is possible for an individual to not use the weak form of any of the words, it is unadvisable to do so, because doing so makes the speaker sound unnatural (Roach, 1998, p. 102). Roach states that the second reason why an individual must learn the weak forms is because it aids in comprehension – since most speakers use these forms, it is necessary for the non-native speaker to learn them so that he or she can understand what she is hearing (Roach, 1998, p. 102). Roach also states that most of these forty words are function words – prepositions, conjunctions, auxiliary verbs and the like, and their weak forms are more prominent than their strong forms (Roach, 1998, p. 102). Examples of weak form words are the, a, and, but, that, than, his, her, your, him, her, he, she, we, you, them, us, at, for, from, of, to, as, some, there, can, shall, should, as, have, must, do, does (Roach, 1998, pp. 103-108).
The weak form words may also be used in a strong form. According to Leanez and Waasaf, the accent, position and phonetic environment of the syllable determines if the syllable is going to be used in its weak or strong form (Leanez & Waasaf, p. 170). Some of Roach’s rules for discerning whether a ...
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