During a conversation, a guy said a French equivalent of “I’m gonna wait a little bit.” But when he said it, he used a number of pronunciations typical of spoken language.
Here’s what he said: j’vas attend’ un p’tit peu. (This means the same thing as je vais attendre un petit peu.) A bit of explanation is necessary here! Let’s start at the beginning.
The guy didn’t say je vais; he said j’vas. Vas rhymes with pas. In j’vas, je has contracted to j’. To pronounce j’vas, just put the French j sound on the front of vas and say it all in one syllable. J’vas is a spoken form often heard in conversations.
Next, let’s look at attend’. In fact, this spelling with the apostrophe is never used. I’ve just used it here to signal that the infinitive attendre was pronounced without its re ending. Careful, though, attend’ doesn’t sound like attend; it sounds like attende. This dropping of the re ending isn’t unique to attendre. It can happen with all the infinitives using the re ending. Vendre, battre, mettre, etc., can drop down to vend’ (vende), batt’ (batte), mett’ (mette). In writing, this dropping of the re is never shown. Even in informal writing, the full spelling is used — vendre, battre, mettre, attendre.
Un petit peu was pronounced as un p’tit peu. If you visualise the p’ as coming at the end of un instead, I think you’ll find it easier to pronounce. Do you remember that t, when it’s followed by the French i sound, is pronounced like the ts in the English word cats? unp tsi peu Now say it fast.