Connected Speech

Introduction

In English (much the same as in other languages) we don’t say every word individually and in isolation. What tends to happen is a joining of words which makes it essentially easier for the speaker. Although this connected speech can make things difficult to understand for learners of English (and may take some time to practise), it is a useful area to get right.

Let’s look at some of the ways speech becomes connected in English.


Joining s’s

When a word ending in a voiced or voiceless ‘s’ is followed by a word beginning with a voiced or voiceless ‘s’ then we can join these together into a single sound.

This spaceship
Those sausages
These stars
Pass something
Bus seven


Joining m’s / n’s

We can do the same with our m’s and n’s. Just join them into one longer, continuous sound.

Tom might

Kim mistook

Hen night

Lone knight

Pen knife


Glottal Stops

For words that end and start with the same sound, or even from the same voiced / voiceless pairing, we can use a glottal stop. Let’s look at the following example: –

Cat toy

Instead of pronouncing the ‘t’ sound at the end of “cat”, we can hold the sound and then release it on the ‘t’ sound of “toy”. Again, this can also be done with voiced / voiceless pairings, so we can do the same with: –

Bad toy

Here are some more to practise with: –

Look closely
Take care
Speak clearly
Pet dog
Last time


Catenation

Even when the two sounds aren’t the same, we can still link them. This is often the case when one word ends with a consonant and the next word starts with a vowel.

What apple

Cup of

His eyes

Write up

Get in


Weak Forms

Often there are words that we will pronounce quieter and weaker than other words in a sentence, these are called weak forms. “and” is commonly used in this way and will often be nothing more than an ‘n’.

Fish and chips

Two hundred and three

Black and white

Up and down

Right and wrong