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Ma. Luisa Alba M Ed.


August 14,2010

Connected speech
- Speed is also a factor in fluency. When we speak quickly, we speak in groups of

words which are continuous and may not have pauses between them. This causes

changes to the shape of words. Unstressed words always sound different when

used in a sentence as opposed to being said in isolation.

- An expression used to refer to spoken language when analysed as a continuous

sequence, as in utterances and conversations spoken at natural speed in everyday
situations of life.
- The most common features of connected speech are the weak forms of grammatical
and some lexical words (and, to, of, have, was, were) and contractions, some of
which are acceptable in written English (can't, won't, didn't, I'll, he'd, they've,
shouldve). However, we often ignore other features which preserve rhythm and
make the language sound natural.



RHYTHM- It has often been claimed that English speech is rhythmical, and that the
rhythm is detectable in the regular occurrence of stressed syllables; of course, it is not
suggested that the timing is as regular as a clockthe regularity of occurrence is only
relative. The theory that English has stressed timed rhythm implies that stressed
syllables will tend to occur at relatively regular intervals whether they are separated by
unstressed syllables or not; this would not be the case in mechanical speech.

ELISION (losing sounds) - When a sound is elided it is omit

- The missing out of a consonant vowel or both, that would be present in the slow
colloquial pronunciation of a word in isolation. As with assimilation the most common
place to find consonant elision is at the end of a syllable.
- The disappearance of a sound in connected speech; chris(t)mas, int(e)rest.

The most common consonants to find involved in elision are /t/ and /d/.

1.Elision of /t/ and /d/

- When they are at the end of a word (in the last syllable) and between two other

Elision of /t/:
/fst ri/ [fsri] first three
/lstj/ [lsj] last year
/mst risnt/ [msrisnt] most recent

/d/ elides even more readily than /t/ and in more environments:

/wld wld laf fnd/ [wl w la fnd] World Wild Life Fund
/hld twent/ [hl twent] Hurled twenty (yards)
/ rpdl/ [rpl] rapidly

2. Elision of identical sounds

-When a word ending in a consonant sound is followed by another word starting with
that sound.
Ex. lamp post six students lettuce salad

3. Elision of initial sounds in pronouns

-Weak pronouns
Ex. I saw him half an hour

The most important occurrences of this phenomenon regard:

1) Alveolar consonants /t/ and /d/ when sandwiched between two consonants, e.g.

The next day. / neks de/

The last car / l:s k:/
Hold the dog! /hl dg/
Send Frank a card. /sen frk k:d/

This can also take place within affricates /t/ and /d/ when preceded by a consonant, e.g.

Lunchtime /lnttam/ become /lntam/

strange days /strenddez/ /strendez/

The phoneme /t/ is a fundamental part of the negative particle not, the possibility of it being
elided makes the foreign students life more difficult. Consider the negative of can if followed
by a consonant the /t/ may easily disappear and the only difference between the positive and
the negative is a different, longer vowel sound in the second:

I can speak. /a kn spi:k/

I cant speak /a k:n(t) spi:k/

LINKING (adding or joining sounds between words)- We tend to link final consonants
and initial vowels across word boundaries
- The phoneme r cannot occur in syllable-final position in RP, but when a words
spelling suggests a final r, and a word beginning with a vowel follows, the usual
pronunciation for RP speakers is to pronounce with letter r. For example:
here h but here are h
four f but four eggs fr egz

Many RP speakers use r in a similar way to link words ending with a vowel even
when there is no justification from spelling, as in:
Formula A fmjlr e
Australia all out strelr l at
media event mid vent

This has been called intrusive r; some English speakers and teachers still regard this as
regard this as incorrect or sub-standard pronunciation, but it is undoubtedly widespread.
Linking and intrusive r are special cases of juncture; this name refers to the relationship
between one sound and the sounds that immediately precede and follow it, and has been given
some importance in phonological theory. If we take the words my turn m tn, the
relationship between m and a, between t and and between and n is to be said be
one of close juncture. m is proceeded by silence and n is followed by silence, and so m and n
are said to be in a position of external open juncture. The problem lies in deciding what the
relationship is between a and t; since we do not usually pause between words, there is no
silence (or external open juncture) to indicate word division and to justify the space left in the
transcription. But if English speakers hear ma tn they can usually recognize this as my

turn and not might turn. This is where the problem of internal open internal juncture
(usually called juncture for short) becomes apparent. What is it that makes perceptible the
difference between ma tn and mat n? The answer is that in the case the t is aspirated
(initial in turn), and in the other case it is not (being final in might). In addition to this, the
a diphthong is shorter in might, but we will ignore this for the sake of a simple argument. If
a difference in meaning is caused by the difference between aspirated and unaspirated t, how
can we avoid the conclusion that English has a phonemic contrast between aspirated and
unaspirated t? The answer is, of course, that the position of a word boundary has some effect
on the realization of the t phoneme; this is one of the many cases in which the occurrence of
different allophones can be properly explained by making reference to units of grammar
(something which was disapproved of by many phonologists.

Intrusion and linking

Intrusion: If the words 'go' and 'up' are said together, there is a new /w/ sound between the two

When two vowel sounds meet, we tend to insert an extra sound which resembles either a / j /,
/ w / or / r / , to mark the transition sound between the two vowels, a device referred to as
For example:

Intruding / r/
The media / r /are to blame. Law(r)and order.

Intruding / j /

I / j / agree.
They / j /are here!

Intruding / w/

I want to/ w/eat.

Please do/ w/it.

Word boundaries involving a consonant and a vowel are also linked, as we tend to drag final
consonants to initial vowels or vice versa. For example:

Get on. ( geton )

Not at all. ( notatall )

Its no joke. ( snow joke)

ASSIMILATION (changing sounds) This means

a) That a sound changes to be more like the following sound (variation of a sound).
b) That two sounds join together to become another sound.

This makes articulation easier. But notice that the change from one consonant sound to
another should not interfere seriously with comprehension because the resulting sounds are
quite similar to the original ones.
The alveolar consonants /n/ /t/ /d/ /s/ and /z/ can change to become more like the
following sound. It is a question of making things easier for the speaker. For instance, if you
are going to close your lips for /p/, then it is easier to close them for the preceding nasal /n/,
so /n/ assimilates into /m/.

LIASION is the insertion of an extra phoneme in order to facilitate articulation.

1. Linking / r/
The /r/ sound is heard connecting two words when there is an R in the spelling and
there is a following vowel sound.
Examples: Peter and Tom; far away, more ice
2. Intrusive /r/
In many words ending with the written consonant R, the final vowel sound is one of the

teacher, harbour, actor four, door car, far

No doubt, as a result of this, there is a tendency to insert an intrusive / r / when a word

ends in one of these vowels, even when no written R exists. Many people consider that
intrusive / r / is substandard ,and certainly not to be imitated.

Examples: America and Asia; Asia and America; law and order; vanilla ice cream;
I saw it


When we talk about weak forms in the phonetics of English this regards a series
of words, which have one pronunciation (strong) when isolated, and another (weak)
when not stressed within a phrase, e.g.

a car /e k:/

I bought a car /a b:t k:/

In connected speech, many words are pronounced in a weak form.

-Weak forms are usually distinguished by a change in vowel quality from a

border position on the vowel quadrilateral to a central position. The vowel in a weak
form is usually the schwa (). Weak forms are pronounced more quickly and at lower
volume in comparison to the stressed syllables. They are also not central to changes in

There is a logical explanation behind the occurrence of weak forms: they are
present in words which are necessary to construct a phrase yet, at the same time, do not

communicate a large quantity of information, in other words, they are not content

For example in the following phrase:

I went to the hotel and booked a room for two nights for my father and his best

- The most important words, those that are central to the message, can be
emphasised: I went to the hotel and booked a room for two nights for my father
and his best friend.

If we eliminate the words that are not emphasised, can we still understand the

went hotel booked room two nights father best friend.

Perhaps it is difficult to be certain but it is possible to predict what the missing words
might be. The words which we emphasised would bear the stress, while many of those
which we eliminated would become weak forms, simply because they are less
important in the conveyance of the message. Look at the sentence in transcription:

/a went t h tel n bkt ru:m f tu: nats f ma f:r n hz best


You will notice that most of the unstressed words are pronounced with the
sound //: prepositions such as to and for, articles a, an and the, and the conjunction
and. Auxiliary verbs frequently have weak forms.

Some of the most common examples of weak forms are:

Auxiliary verbs:

Do, are was were ,would

To, for, from, into


And, but, than, that (as a relative), you (as object pronoun)

The most common form involves the movement of place of articulation of the alveolar
stops /t/, /d/ and /n/ to a position closer to that of the following sound. For instance, in the
phrase ten cars, the /n/ will usually be articulated in a velar position, /te k:z/ so that the
organs of speech are ready to produce the following velar sound /k/. Similarly,
in ten boys the /n/ will be produced in a bilabial position, /tem bz/ to prepare for the
articulation of the bilabial /b/.

BEFORE A VELAR (/k/, /g/)

Phoneme Realised as Example
/n/ // bank /bk/
/d/ /g/ good girl /gg g:l/
/t/ /k/ that kid /k kd/

BEFORE A BILABIAL (/m/, /b/, /p/)

Phoneme Realised as Example
/n/ /m/ ten men /tem 'men/
/d/ /b/ bad boys /bb bz/
hot mushrooms /hp
/t/ /p/


These are words, phrases, and sometimes just noises like er which do not contribute
much, if anything, to the new information content of an utterance but perform several valuable
functions in speech. The exemplification will be drawn from the speech of public speakers,
informal conversations and interviews. Sometimes people do make phonetic errors which they
correct on mid-sentence. So we hear them say:

I saw three [brig] + I mean big + dogs having a big fight out there.

REPETITION Repetitive use of words in a sentence.


TC 2 I wouldnt say impossible + no

TC 12 not really + no + no

TC 16 no + not really + no

The repetition of no does not add anything to the meaning of the utterance.
What it does do is give the speaker time to work out what he is going to say next. We
find that it is rare for a speaker t utter simply yes or no in response to a yes/no question.
Here are some examples of repetition of this kind from other texts:

erm + yes + this is so

yes + you could + yes you could

thats right + yes

he does + yes

INTRODUCTORY FILLERS A type of filler commonly used when people are

asked direct questions and expected to produce an immediate reply. It is very rare
indeed to meet a speaker who does not produce some sort of filler in this situation. The
most common filler is well, closely followed by non-verbal noises of an
institutionalized sort like er and mm:

TC10 well + hes having to rely on other people

TC 14 er + they could do

14 well + the only word to describe it was + chaos

15 well + MS and I thought wed both like to borrow bicycles

16 well + I think thats so though I suppose you could imagine a

different situation

17 well + + heh + heh + heh + + its a question of arriving at a

negotiated settlement

18 well + its a hopeful sign

19 well + + city

20 mm + Im not sure

21 oh + you just cant describe it

22 erm + yes + this is so

ACCENT- Is a combination of three main components: intonation ( speech music),

liaisons ( word connections), and pronunciation (the spoken sounds of vowels,
consonants, and combinations).

Youll realize that the grammar you studies before and this accent youre
studying now are completely different. Part of the difference is that grammar and
vocabulary are systematic and structured --- the letter of the language. Accent, on the
other hand, is free form, intuitive, and creative--- more the spirit of the language.


- Cook,A. (1991). American Accent Training: A Guide to Speaking and Pronouncing

Colloquial American English(2nd Ed.) Matrix Press

- Roach, P. (1991). English Phonetics and Phonology (2nd Ed.) Cambridge: CUP

- Brown, G. (1997). Applied Linguistics and Language Study: Listening to Spoken

English Longman Group Ltd.

- http://www.englishbanana.com/talkalot/connected-speech-templates-

- http://www.slideshare.net/cupidlucid/aspects-of-connected-speech-presentation

- http://davidbrett.uniss.it/phonology/notes%20and%20exercises/weak%20forms

- http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/knowledge-wiki/connected-speech

- http://www.scribd.com/doc/16342276/Some-Aspects-of-Connected-

- http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/rhythm (retrieved july 24)