What is Connected Speech?
Learn how connected speech will help you to speak English faster, more fluently, and much more like a native speaker. Unfortunately, many language learners don’t know about this subject, but we should! First of all, let’s make sure we have a basic understanding. What is connected speech?
Connected speech means that when we speak a language, words have some effect on each other. We do not always pronounce words completely separately with a neat pause in between. In fact, many words affect each other when you put them into phrases and sentences. The end sound of one word often affects the beginning of the next word.
Connected Speech Includes Many Sub-Topics
There are many different ways that connected speech happens. Sometimes sounds are added, or omitted, or changed, in different ways. It is actually a big subject and we could spend a long time talking about the several sub-topics in it!
In this lesson, you’ll learn a bit about five different kinds of connected speech: catenation or linking, intrustion, elision, assimilation and geminates.
Catenation or Linking
Catenation, or Linking is probably what most people think of first when they think of connected speech. Linking happens when the end of one word blends into another. When the last sound of a word is a consonant and the first sound of the next word is a vowel, you get linking.
I want this orange –> thisorange
I want that orange –> thadorange
This afternoon –> thisafternoon
Is he busy? –> Isi busy?
Cats or dogs? –> Catserdogs?
Intrustion means an additional sound “intrudes” or inserts itself between others. It is often is a /j/ or /w/ or /r/ sound between two other vowel sounds.
He asked –> Heyasked
She answered –? Sheyanswered
Do it –> Dewit
Go out –> Gowout
Shoe on –> Shoewon
Elision means when a sound disappears. Basically, a sound is eaten by other stronger or similar sounds next to it. This often happens with a /t/ or /d/ sound.
Next door –> Nexdoor
Dad take –> Datake
Most common –> Moscommon
Assimilation means two sounds blend together, forming a new sound altogether. This often happens with /t/ and /j/ which make /ʧ/ and with /d/ and /j/ which make /ʤ /.
Don’t you — donʧu
Won’t you — wonʧu
Meet you — meeʧu
Did you — diʤu
Would you — wuʤu
Finally, geminates are like twins — two same sounds back-to-back. Often when one word ends with the same letter as the beginning of the next word, you should connect the two words in your speech.
Social life –> socialife
Pet turtle –> Peturtle
These five points and examples may make you feel like you have a lot to study!
Try learning the International Phonetic Alphabet so that you can take notes about how words sound together. Or, you could keep an audio journal on your smart phone where you record how words and phrases sound with connected speech.
Here is a cool tool you can try making English sentences into IPA. Keep in mind that sometimes real life pronunciation will be different because of variations.
If you liked this lesson, you’ll love my lesson about pronunciation and the “schwa” sound. Click here to view it now.
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