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Introduction to Connected Speech

Donna M. Brinton Professor of TESOL Soka University of America

Overview of today’s lecture
§ Connected speech defined § Is connected speech casual? § Key features of connected speech
– Contractions, blends, and reductions – Linking and juncture – Assimilation, deletion, and epenthesis

§ Student learning challenges § Teaching strategies

§ In spoken discourse, English words typically “run together.” § They aren’t pronounced in an isolated fashion within the stream of speech.

reductions.Connected speech defined § Connected speech. involves the contracted forms. and liaisons used by native speakers in their oral speech. elisions. also commonly referred to as reduced speech or sandhi-variation. . § Connected speech features reinforce the regularity of English rhythm and help preserve its stress-timed rhythm.

” Rogerson (2006) . this “…results from a simple law of economy. § According to Clarey & Dixson (1963). whereby the organs of speech.The law of economy § All languages exhibit some type of sandhi-variation in spoken utterances. tend to draw sounds together with the purpose of saving time and energy. instead of taking a new position for each sound.

2006. Weinstein. 2001. . for example. 1995. 1984.” “informal. Norris.” “relaxed. Rogerson. 1980. Hill & Beebe.” or “casual” speech. Henrichsen. See.Is connected speech casual? § Some researchers classify connected speech as something that occurs in “fast.

1992. Richards. See. Buck. Guillot. Celce-Murcia. for example. Moh-Kim. Avery & Ehrlich. 1989. 1983.Authentic spoken English! § Others characterize connected speech as “naturally occurring talk” or “real” spoken English. Pennington & Richards. 1997. 1995. in press. . Marks. 1999. & Goodwin. Rogerson. Gimson. 2001. 1995. 1986. Brown & Hilferty. Norris. 1999. 2006. Brinton.

.Possible conclusions § Kaisse (1985) argues that connected speech and reduced forms are neither informal nor due to the rate of speech. reduced forms affect all areas and all types of spoken English. – However. – Register and rate may contribute to some rules of appropriateness or production. Rogerson (2006) states that… – Connected speech is found in all registers and all rates of speech. § Similarly. it is characteristic of spoken English. in general.

blends. and reductions – the written and/or oral distortions of word boundaries § Linking – the smooth Whaddayawant? connection of speech .Overview Adjustments in connected speech include: § Contractions.

cont’d.The disappearance of a sound .Overview. Adjustments in connected speech also include: § Assimilation .The change in adjacent sounds to resemble each other more closely § Epenthesis .The addition of a sound § Deletion .

Contractions. blends. and reductions .

Contractions and blends § Blending refers to any two-word sequences where the word boundary is blurred. .

blending consists of contractions and blends. he’s. § Contractions are those word boundaries that have a conventionalized written form: we’ve. I’m § Blends are typically contracted spoken forms that do not have a conventional written form: there are ð there’re who will ð who’ll .Blending Typically.

Linking .

Overview Linking in NAE takes the following forms: § V + V: insertion of /y/ and /w/ glides § VC + V: the consonant is shared by both syllables ð V í C í V § CC + V: Resyllabification ð C + CV § Identical consonants: articulation as one. lengthened consonant § C (stop) + C (stop or affricate): The initial stop consonant is unreleased .

àtwo weevils .Linking with a /w/ glide Play on words: The lesser of two evils.

crying. either word internally or between words – Word internally being. Roy í Adams . stay í up. try í out. toying +y – Between words be í able. /ay/. /ey/. and /•y/.Linking: Vowel to vowel § Insertion of a /y/ glide following /iy/. staying.

/ow/. going .Linking: Vowel to vowel. go í away. and /aw/. now í is . cont’d. § Insertion of a /w/ glide following /uw/. either word internally or between words – Word internally blueish. however +w – Between words do í it.

the consonant “straddles” both syllables or words: – keep out ð kee í p í out – dream on ð drea í m í on – bend over ð ben í d í over – drag on ð dra í g í on .Linking: Consonant to vowel § In VC + V linking sequences.

Linking: Consonant to vowel § In CC + V linking sequences. resyllabification typically occurs: – find out ð /fayn–dawt/ CC V CC V C CV C CV – pulled over ð /pUl–dowv«r/ – jump up ð /dZÃm–pÃp/ CC V C CV .

Consonant linking. lengthened consonant: – stop pushing [p:] bad dog [d:] handsome man [m:] . Across word boundaries… § Gemination .two identical consonants are articulated as one. cont’d.

the first stop consonant is unreleased: – pep talk [p˚] – bad check [d˚] pet cat [t˚] fat judge [t˚] black bag [k˚] . Across word boundaries… § in stop + stop or stop + affricate sequences.Consonant linking. cont’d.

” . hafta. § These are just a few examples of reduced forms in spoken English. and kinda. ‘cuz. hafta. e.. § These reduced forms are one aspect of NAE “connected speech.Wanna. wanna.g. ‘cuz. kinda… § Spoken English is full of reduced forms.

I don’t hafta…
I don’t hafta go but I kinda wanna go ‘cuz it sounds like fun!

Linking with /r/
§ Many dialects of British and Colonial Englishes (e.g., Australia, New Zealand) use /r/ to link vowel to vowel.
– This use of /r/ to link is often referred to as intrusive /r/.

§ Examples from popular culture:
– "I saw(r) a film today, oh boy" (The Beatles “A Day in the Life”) – "Vodka(r) and tonics" (Elton John “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road)

More on “intrusive r”
§ Although many claim that “intrusive r” is not a feature of RP, the eminent British linguists Peter Roach and J.C. Wells both note that it is widespread in RP. Some examples:
– the idea(r) of – Formula(r) A – a media(r) event


§ “Intrusive r” is not typical of NAE.

§ Juncture is defined as the relationship between one sound and the sounds that immediately precede and follow it.Juncture § “Intrusive r” and other forms of linking are related to the linguistic phenomenon of juncture. Roach (2001) .

Compare: ice cream I scream! .Juncture. cont’d.

External open juncture (usually just called juncture) is characterized by a pause between the two sounds: Fetch me the paper. boy! vs. cont’d.Juncture. . Fetch me the paper boy.

cont’d. Roach (2000) . § Additional examples: – ice cream vs.Juncture. I scream – nitrate vs. keep sticking § Note: Other phenomena (such as aspiration and vowel length) may also help distinguish these pairs. night rate – my train vs. might rain – keeps ticking vs.

or AS) takes on characteristics of another sound (the conditioning sound. a sound (the assimilated sound.Assimilation § In assimilation. or CS). § There are three types of assimilation: – progressive assimilation (CS ð AS) – regressive assimilation (AS ` CS) – coalescent assimilation (two adjacent sounds combine to form a new sound) .

ending /s/ – tag + -s = /tQgz/ • voiced /g/ ð vd. ending /z/ .Progressive assimilation § Progressive (or preservative) assimilation occurs in plural and past tense endings. since the voiced or voiceless quality of the verb stem “conditions” the morphological ending: – bite + -s = /bayts/ • voiceless /t/ ð vl.

/z/ Karl’s waiting. § This form of assimilation also occurs in contractions with is. Compare: /s/ It’s exciting. cont’d. Sam’s relaxing. . Pat’s late. Jack’s happy.Progressive assimilation. He’s nervous.

Regressive assimilation § Regressive or anticipatory assimilation is a relatively pervasive phenomenon in NAE. e.g. § Many native speakers are unaware of the adjustments they make as a result.: – grandpa: /ndp/ ð /mp/ – pancake /nk/ ð /Nk/ .

indecent. § Regressive assimilation helps explain the forms of the negative prefix –in {-im. on guard [N] . il}: – insignificant. -ir. illogical § Final nasal consonants are often conditioned by the following consonant: – in pain [m].Regressive assimilation. invalid but… impossible. cont’d. irreproachable. in Canada [N].

§ Other examples of regressive assimilation are found in rapid speech.g/ • good boy [b:]. • at peace [p:]. his shoes [S:] – final /t/ or /d/ + /p. cont’d. pet kitten [k:] . good girl [g:]. where the assimilated sound often becomes identical to the following conditioning sound: – /s/ or /z/ + /S/ • Swiss chalet [S:].k/ or /b.Regressive assimilation.

Coalescent assimilation § Coalescent assimilation occurs when the juxtaposition of two conditioning sounds (A + B) results in a third. Sound A Sound B Sound C . assimilated sound (C).

Coalescent assimilation. cont’d. The most frequent example of coalescent assimilation is the palatalization that occurs with alveolar consonants when followed by /y/. .

procedure Would you mind moving? She needs your help. He never heeds your advice.Palatalization /s/ /z/ /t/ + /y/ ð /ts/ /d/ /dz/ /tS/ /dZ/ /dZ/ /S/ /Z/ /tS/ issue He’s coming this year. She lets you do your thing. . pleasure Does your mother know? stature Is that your dog? He hates your guts.

as in the following contexts: § Disappearing “t” in intervocalic /nt/ clusters – win(t)er. en(t)er. man(t)le § Disappearing /t/ and /d/ in clusters – res(t)less. Eas(t)side – wil(d) boar.Deletion Deletion (also known as elision or ellipsis) entails the potential loss of a sound. Toron(t)o. blin(d) man .

l. t. gove(r)nor. tempe(r)ature. diff(e)rent. p(o)lice. ev(e)ning. p.Deletion. s(u)ppose. su(r)prise . int(e)resting § Unstressed vowel + /n. cont’d. r/ – t(o)night. More instances of deletion: § Syncope (unstressed medial vowel loss) – choc(o)late. p(a)rade § Disappearing “r” – Feb(r)uary.

More instances of deletion: § Disappearing /v/ in of before a consonant – lots o(f) money. cont’d.Deletion. tons o(f) homework § Disappearing initial /h/ and /D/ in pronoun forms – ask (h)im. waste o(f) time. tell (h)er. help (th)em .

(a)’]: – p(o)tato. t(o)morrow. c(a)reer .th. (a)’round § Loss of an unstressed vowel following initial aspirated [ph. More instances of deletion: § Aphesis (loss of the unstressed initial vowel or syllable in informal speech) – (be)’cause.Deletion. cont’d.

A important caveat…. etc. the context. . The degree of deletion will depend on the speaker. the dialect. The above examples represent tendencies only.

cont’d. Ooops! . Listen to the following utterance: _______________________ Which one did you hear? a) She made a mistake. b) She made him a steak.Deletion.

– nuclear ] nuc(u)lear – warmth ] warm(p)th – responsibility ] respon(t)sibility § It often occurs as the result of the addition of the morphological endings. .Epenthesis § Epenthesis involves the insertion of a vowel or consonant into an existing sequence to break up difficult to pronounce sequences.

Examples: § /«/ used to break sibilant clusters with –s – classes. buzzes. branded . britches.Epenthesis. granted. cont’d. judges § /«/ used to break alveolar stop clusters with –ed – patted. graded.

for example: – prince ð /prInts/. comfort ð /kÃmpf«rt/ Task: Circle the one you hear: a) Some day my prince will come! b) Some day my prints will come! .Consonant epenthesis § Consonants are also sometimes added to facilitate the pronunciation of a phoneme sequence.

especially as they may be unaware of their use of the strategy. often use epenthesis as a strategy to break up difficult clusters. – Word internally: English ð /INg«lIS/ – Word externally: school ð /Eskuwl/ § This habit is very hard for students to break. especially those from languages with restricted clustering. .Epenthesis as a NNS strategy § Non-native speakers.

§ Language learners often develop their listening and speaking skills based on these false premises. learners are often shocked to find that NSs don’t speak in the ways that they expect. § Listening materials are full of clearly pronounced and articulated speech.Student learning challenges § Classroom teachers often overarticulate to facilitate learner comprehension. . § When they encounter authentic NS discourse.

cont’d.Learning challenges. p. 10) . § The language outside of the classroom seems unfamiliar and fast. Students are unable to decipher word boundaries or recognize words or phrases. § Students who do not receive instruction or exposure to authentic discourse are “going to have a very rude awakening when [they try] to understand native speech in natural communicative situations.” Ur (1987.


knock. knock. Donna. [name] Donna. [name] Donna [name] [name] Donna who? who? Don[play on why ’t know Don’t know why [play on you’re asking! you’re asking! words] words] Who’s Who’s there? there? .Knock knock jokes: Template Knock. Knock.

Who’s Who’s there? there? . Scott. to do with you. Scott.Knock knock joke: Scott Knock. knock. Knock. Scott Scott who? who? Scott nothing Scott nothing to do with you. knock.

knock.Knock knock joke: Stu Knock. Knock. Stu. Stu. that now. knock. Who’s Who’s there? there? . Stu Stu who? who? Stu late for Stu late for that now.

Anita. Anita break. Who’s Who’s there? there? . knock.Knock knock joke: Anita Knock. Knock. Anita Anita who? who? Anita break. knock. Anita.

Knock. knock. Juana. knock.Knock knock joke: Juana Knock. Juana Juana who? who? Juana come Juana come out and play? out and play? Who’s Who’s there? there? . Juana.

________who? _____________. Knock Who’s there? ___________. Suggested Names Ida Andy Izzy Justin Willy Jamaica Adam Lemmy Knock. knock. Who’s there? Justin. Justin who? Justin time for class! .Write your own! Knock.

she whacks the girl’s hand. Only some time later does she realize that the girl has said “God is a supreme being. the girl replies: “God is a string bean. “Who is God?” Nervously.” The class erupts in laughter as the nun gasps in horror.Jokes A nun asks a young Mexican immigrant girl. Armed with a ruler.” .

. tell meVsome lies Don'tVknowVwhenVI'veVbeen so blue GiveVme no reasons.. nowVI brownVeyes blue Don'tVit make SayVitVisn't true mydo And don'tVit make my brownVeyes And don'tVit make my brownVeyes blue Don'tVit make my brownVeyes Don'tVit make my brownVeyes blue Leigh (1978) .Song lyrics: Don’t it make. give meValibis Don'tVit make my comeVoverVyou Don'tVknowVwhat's brownVeyes Tell meVyou someoneVnew Don'tVit make my brownVeyes You've found love meVand don't make meVcry Don'tVit make my brownVeyes blue And don'tVit make my brownVeyes blue SayVanything but don't say goodbye I Don'tVit whenVyou're gone didn't mean to treatVyouVbad I'll be fine make my brownVeyes Didn'tVknow night brownVeyes Don'tVit make my long I'll just cryValljust whatVI had But. honey. Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Blue Crystal Gayle Tell meVno secrets.


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Orlando. FL: Academic. (1963). Fluency and its teaching.Selected sources Clarey. London: Arnold. 299–323. E. 14(3). TESOL Quarterly. J. Kaisse. Guillot. & Beebe. Contraction and blending: The use of orthographic clues in teaching pronunciation. Henrichsen. C. 34(3) 103-126. L. Gimson. Hill. UK: Multilingual Matters. (1985) Connected speech: The interaction of syntax and phonology.. . & Dixson. M. Language Learning.). R. New York: Regents. (1999). E. (2001). (1980). (1984). Gimson’s pronunciation of English (6th ed.. Sandhi-variation: A filter of input for learners of ESL. L. A. M. C. Pronunciation exercises in English. Clevedon. M. E. M.

C. Pennington. Pronunciation revisited.. T. M. 35(1) 26-37. 20(2). R. J. 53. TESOL Quarterly. Building fluency: A course for nonnative speakers of English. (1978). & Richards. 33. Norris. . (1995). (2007) Marks.Selected sources Leigh. Don’t it make my brown eyes blue? [Recorded by Crystal Gayle]. C. On Greatest hits [CD]. English Teaching Forum. 47-50. Is stress-timing real? ELT Journal. J. (1997). (1999). 207–225. 191-199. R. English Teaching Forum. Moh-Kim. Los Angeles: Capitol Records. (1986). Teaching reduced forms: Putting the horse before the cart. W.

(1983). New York: Pearson. (2001).). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Roach. 85-98). Teaching listening comprehension.). Don’cha know? A survey of ESL teachers’ perspectives on reduced forms instruction. Whaddaya say? (2nd ed. P. D. (2001). Ur. C. Listening comprehension: Approach. M. Rogerson.). P. In J. .Selected sources Richards. Weinstein. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. (2006). J. Kondo-Brown (Eds. N. 17(2) 219-240. Perspectives on teaching connected speech to second language speakers (pp. (1987). Brown & K. design. English phonetics and phonology: A practical course (3rd ed. procedure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. TESOL Quarterly.

give meValibis Tell meVyou love meVand don't make meVcry SayVanything but don't say goodbye I didn't mean to treatVyouVbad Didn'tVknow just whatVI had But.Song lyrics: Don’t it make.. tell meVsome lies GiveVme no reasons. nowVI do And don'tVit make my brownVeyes Don'tVit make my brownVeyes Don'tVit make my brownVeyes blue Don'tVit make my brownVeyes Don'tVit make my brownVeyes Don'tVit make my brownVeyes blue Don'tVit make my brownVeyes Don'tVit make my brownVeyes Don'tVit make my brownVeyes blue Leigh (1978) . Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Blue Crystal Gayle Don'tVknowVwhenVI'veVbeen so blue Don'tVknowVwhat's comeVoverVyou You've found someoneVnew And don'tVit make my brownVeyes blue I'll be fine whenVyou're gone I'll just cryVall night long SayVitVisn't true And don'tVit make my brownVeyes blue Tell meVno secrets.. honey.