Paper Example on Connected Speech

Published: 2021-07-02
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Harvey Mudd College
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Term paper
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In the current era where technology seems to be ruling how almost everything is working, scientist have been trying to develop a machine that will produce speech from a vocabulary of pre-recording words, the result has faced a lot of criticism, with different results showing limitation and how best the machines can work, hence forming the relationship between mechanical speech and human speech. Being that speech in every language has the definition of a large variety of pronunciation features that are working together to bring out accurate sound, English is described as a singing language that is very melodic. Ideally, it is characterized by a continuous rhythmic stream of sound that posses frequent interaction between unstressed and stressed syllables and adjustment of sound at word boundaries. Although during communication, individual sounds are important, some syllables and words receive more stress while other my experience reduction. On the other hand, pauses are made when one thought ends with another starts. Unfortunately, in the Republic of Czech, some of these features of pronunciation can play a paramount role in English speech, and hence should be taught, immediately a student starts the learning process.


Putting focus or rhythm as a remarkable event that is taking place at regular intervals of time that is including flashing light, heartbeat, and piece of music, with the current knowledge of stress-timed rhythm, in most cases stressed syllables tend to take place at a relatively regular intervals whether a separation occurs by unstressed syllables or not. On the other hand, the stressed time rhythm theory brings out the time from each stressed syllable to the next one, which more tends to be the same, irrespective of the number of unstressed syllables which are intervening. Critically, all words, whether unstressed or stressed, tend to take place at regular intervals and the time between the stressed syllables will be longer or shorter in proportion to the number of unstressed words. Such languages include Spanish, Hungarian and Japanese. In a syllable-timed language, every syllable is perceived as taking up roughly the same amount of time and is given approximately equal stress (Hannissdal). Examples include Hindi, Cantonese, Brazilian Portuguese, French.

Rhythm in connected speech is the pattern of spoken words and the change of elements from stressed to unstressed. Nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives are stressed while conjunctions, pronouns, prepositions, articles, and auxiliaries are mostly unstressed. An example is This is the best thing that you ever did. There should be an almost equal time between each stress in a sentence. The significance of rhythm in connected speech is that it helps in fluency. Research has proved that sometimes rhythm in speech is not natural and the interpretation by the listener might be difficult. In odder to achieve rhythm, we have to speak words without pauses quickly. This speed is most likely to change the way words are pronounced. When words are pronounced alone they sound different from when they are pronounced within a sentence in the rapid speech. Elision, assimilation, and linking are aspects of speech that help in achieving rhythm. Natural rhythm cannot be achieved without stress and intonation.

Stressed syllables (strong forms) often occur in content and meaning words, while grammar and function words are often weak forms.Learners (especially if their language is syllable-timed) may need to be taught explicitly to stress the important words when they are speaking, to convey the meaning and to use weak forms.Focusing on linking being the connection of final sound (consonant or vowel) of one syllable or word to the initial sound of the next syllable or word, one of the easily identified characteristics of non-native English is its choppy quality where every word bears an individual pronunciation, without any connection to the following word, so as to make the speech to sound as though one is tapping out word. Hence the ability for one to eloquently and smoothly speak English is to bring out the pronunciation syllables and word that is appropriately connected, involves the application of linking, since it includes the connection of final sound of one syllable or word, to the original syllable sound of the syllable or word (Jenkins).

In most cases when a pause exist between two words, the words should be linked together so that they bring one sound, and linking bringing the meaning that words should be together joined to each other, and if worse are not linked it will sound choppy , and when one practice linking word, the speech nature will be much clearer.


In English terms, elision is explained as a disappearance of a sound under some circumstances. Technically it is the process that involves omission of a sound which is existing in careful speech. In other words, a specific phoneme is realized when it is at zero. However, if any case a word is undergoing the process of elision, then it needs to remain intelligible. In history, elision can also be recognized as castle, known and psyche. Whereby in a standard pronunciation some words are not included. On the other hand, Elison in connected speech may take place in different environments. A complex constant that offers a presentation in the different environment, the complex consonant cluster which is containing three or two fricatives, are simplified by dropping the middle plosive (Ellis). Therefore, texts which are authentic are pronounced as / talks/. Vowels which are weak such as /p/,/t/, /k/ normally disappear and are sometimes substituted by the aspiration of the initial plosives.Pronunciation of expressions such as next please or sandwich results in /nekspliz/, /saenwt/. In negative forms /t/ is likely to disappear as well: Doesnt she know? /dzn in/. Structural words before consonants appear in their weak forms: Tom and me /tm nmi/, a cup of tea /kp ti:/. Lastly, after /:/ the sound /l/usually disappears as in always /:wez/.

Ideally, when it comes to teaching elision, the focus is supposed to be placed mostly on the perception even though some of the types of elision may also be of great importance. They need to bear in mind that English native speakers are likely to omit some sounds especially when talking to each other, but necessary they dont need to apply elision in their Speech.

Elision occurs when a consonant, vowel or syllable is omitted from a word or phrase during a speech. In speech or writing, elision is indicated by an apostrophe. It happens when a vowel that is unstressed is in between consonants that are voiceless. To know elided words, we can compare rapid speech with slow speech that is careful. An example is a word perhaps where the syllable/r/ is omitted. The sounds /t/ and /d/ are mostly eliminated because their omission saves time and eases articulation. Examples are in went back and stand back where the sound /t/ is omitted in rapid speech. Elision may be the dropping of a vowel or a consonant. An example is in give her where the /h/ that was in the word is completely removed so that the pronunciation is [giva]. Consonants are elided in most cases. When vowels are sometimes omitted the vowel is pronounced weakened, or in other cases, it can be removed completely. An example of complete elision is in the word police which will be pronounced as plus. In some instances, both vowels and consonants can be elided in the same word. An example is a word perhaps which could be elided to [paps]. Elision can occur when two or more consonants that are together in a sentence or word then only one of them will be elided. This is called cluster reduction, and it occurs between words or inside them.


Even though juncture does not belong to any of the categories described above, it is closely related to connected speech. The term refers to the relationship between one sound and the sounds that immediately precede and follow it (Roach, English Phonetics, 115). In connected speech, words are surrounded by other words and influence one another. The sounds are usually altered and joined, which sometimes makes a speechless transparent for ESL/EFL learners. However, some phonetic features may be retained which mark word or morpheme boundaries (Cruttenden 307). Various phonetic cues may help with recognizing the word boundaries. The expression I scream is likely to sound the same as ice cream for non-native speakers. Nevertheless, when having a closer look at the constituent sounds, one should notice that they differ. The initial diphthong is long in the first case as opposed to its reduction in the second instance where it is affected by pre-fortis shortening, a process where particular vowel followed by a fortis consonant is shorter than it would be if it were followed by a lenis consonant or no consonant at all (Ellis). The /s/ sound is much more prominent and /r/ becomes a bit devoiced in the first case whereas in the second instance /r/ is devoiced (Cruttenden 307)

LiasionAs it has already been said, in connected speech words cease to be separate units, their pronunciation differs from the dictionary-given one, and they are joined to help. The natural flow of speech, this process is called liaison or linking. Poorly linked speech is typically rather jerky, perhaps staccato and the resulting lack of flow makes it more difficult for the speaker to take advantage of the stress system and so for the listener to focus on the content of the message (Ellis). Linking can be of several kinds,Consonant-to-vowel, vowel-to-vowel, and consonant-to-consonant, to practice the first type of linking, pseudo-resyllabification, which refers to syllable boundary shift, can be used to link words together (Ellis). A transcription of such resyllabification might look as follows, where full stops mark the syllables: that orange /daet.r.nd/ /


In connected speech, words occur near other words, and they usually influence one another. The process when one sound changes its quality due to the influence of a neighboring sound to become similar or even identical is called assimilation (Cruttenden). It affects consonants. In general, assimilation can be either regressive when the second sound influences the preceding one or, on the other hand, increasing when the first sound changes the following one. Another distinction of assimilation goes hand in hand with the basic division of consonants into three categories according to the differences in place, manner of articulation and voicing

Assimilation of behavior can be noticed only in the most rapid colloquial speech.Unlike assimilation of place, it can be both regressive and progressive. However, according to Roach, the tendency is again for regressive assimilation and the change in manner is most likely to be towards an easier consonant - one who makes less obstruction to the airflow (English Phonetics 111). Therefore examples of regressive assimilation of manner, from Roachs English Phonetics and Phonology, where a final explosive becomes a fricative or nasal are that sides were changing into /daessad/ and goodnight changing into /gnnat/. A progressive assimilation of manner can occur when the phoneme /d/ follows a word ending with a plosive or nasal as in the > /n n/.

On the other hand, we realize that assimilation is when a phoneme sound changes to another by an influence of sounds that are near it. This happens as a result of the vocal cords preparation for an articulation of the next word. An example is the word hot potato the sound /t/ is changed to sound like the sound /p/ because the lips will be shaped to pronounce the sound /p/ before the pronouncing of hot is completed. The velum can open prematurely to mak...

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