Aspects of Connected Speech

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Lecture 9 . Aspects of Connected Speech . SPEECH. MECHANICAL. CONNECTED. Why shall we study aspects of connected speech?.
Aspects of Connected Speech

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Lecture 9

Aspects of Connected Speech

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Why shall we study aspects of connected speech?

Oral Speech is a continuous stream of sounds without clear-cut borderlines between each word. In spoken discourse, we adapt our pronunciation to our audience and articulate with maximal economy of movement rather than maximal clarity. Thus, certain words are lost, and certain phonemes linked together as we attempt to get our message across.

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Aspects of Connected Speech

  • Weak Forms

  • Rythm

  • Elision

  • Linking

  • Assimilation

  • intonation

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Weak forms


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. It is his car v. /əz/

The car is his. /hiz/

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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There is a tendency for vowels in unstressed syllables to shift towards the schwa (central position)

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Weak form are commonly used words

  • Prepositions (at)

  • Auxiliary verbs (must)

  • Conjunctions (and)

  • Pronouns (his)

  • Articles (the)

  • Qualfiers (as)


Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Look at this phrase:

I went to the station and booked two tickets for my father and his best friend.

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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What are the most important words?

I wentto the stationand booked two ticketsfor my fatherand his bestfriend.

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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If we eliminate the other words can we still understand the message?

went station booked two tickets father best friend.

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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In the following sentences the underlined words are stressed and so would be pronounced using the strong form:

I do like chocolate.

She drove to Las Vegas, not from Las Vegas.

We were surprised when she told us her secret.

(stress on ‘were’ for emphasis)

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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What is assimilation?

A phoneme might be released according to the effect of neighboring words. In other words, a phoneme may be realized differently as a result of being near some other phoneme belonging to a neighboring word we call this an instance of assimilation.

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Assimilation is a common phonological process by which the phonetics of a speech segment becomes more like that of another segment in a word (or at a word boundary).


A common example of assimilation would be "don't be silly" where the /n/ and /t/ in "don't" become /m/ and /b/= ("dom be silly").

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Where does assimilation appear?

Assimilation is more likely to be found in rapid, casual speech and less likely in slow, careful speech.

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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  • consider case where two words are combined, the first of which ends with a single final constant ( which we will call C ) and the second of which starts with a single initial consonant ( which we will call C ); we can construct a diagram like this:

    ………….Cf | Ci……….

    |=the word boundary

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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  • If Cf changes to become like Ci in some way, then the assimilation is called regressive (the phoneme that comes first is affected by the one that comes after it); if Ci changes to become like Cf in some way, then the assimilation is called progressive.

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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The main differences between

consonants are of three types:

1) differences in place of articulation;

2) difference in manner of articulation;

3) differences in voicing.

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Assimilation of Place

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 (WHICH IS NOT ALVEOLAR).

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Assimilation of Place

  • For instance, in the phrase ten cars, the /n/ will usually be articulated in a velar position, /teN ka:z/ so that the tongue will beready to produce the following velar sound /k/.

  • Similarly, in ten boys the /n/ will be produced in a bilabial position, /tem boIz/to prepare for the articulation of the bilabial /b/.

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Elision is very simply the omission of certain sounds in certain contexts. In certain circumstances a phoneme may be released as ZERO, or have ZERO REALIZATION or be DELETED. Elision is typical of rapid, casual speech. The most important occurrences of this phenomenon regard:

1Alveolar consonants /t/ and /d/ when ‘sandwiched’ between two consonants (CONS – t/d – CONS), e.g.

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Elision of ‘not’

The phoneme /t/ is a fundamental part of the negative particle not. 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…. /ai kən spi:k/

- I can’t speak… /ai ka:nspi:k/

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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  • IT IS the rise and fall of the pitch of sound in speaking.

  • The function of intonation is to express attitude, feeling or emotion

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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IT ISthe use of pitch in language to distinguish words.

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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See the book

For examples

1. level tone

2. Falling tone

3. Rising tone

1. Fall-rise tones

2. Rise- fall tones

3. Level tones

Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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Mrs. Hind Al-Beladi

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