Words in connected speech


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Online Phonology Clinic II by Prof. Diana Martínez Salatín
October 2011

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Words in connected speech

  1. 1. WORDS IN CONNECTED SPEECH Course Designer &Tutor: Prof. Diana Martínez Salatín E-mail: info@victoria-ars.com.ar Skype ID: victoria-ars Website: www.victoria-ars.com.ar
  2. 2. Words in Connected Speech <ul><li>Every utterance is a continuous, changing, pattern of sound quality with associated </li></ul><ul><li>(prosodic) features of quantity, accent, and pitch. The word (consisting of one or several </li></ul><ul><li>morphemes) is, like the phoneme, an abstraction from this continuum and must be </li></ul><ul><li>expected to be realized in phonetically different ways according to the context. </li></ul><ul><li>If the word is admitted as an abstracted linguistic unit, it is important to note the differences which may </li></ul><ul><li>exist between its concrete realization when said (often artificially) in isolation and those which it has </li></ul><ul><li>when, in connected speech, it is subject to the pressures of its sound environment or of the accentual </li></ul><ul><li>or rhythmic group of which it forms part. </li></ul><ul><li>The variations involved may affect the word as a whole, e.g. weak forms in an unaccented situation or </li></ul><ul><li>word accentual patterns within the larger rhythmic pattern of the complete utterance; or may affect </li></ul><ul><li>more particularly the sounds used at word boundaries, such changes involving a consideration of the </li></ul><ul><li>features of morpheme and word junctures, in particular, ASSIMILATIONS, ELISIONS, and LIAISONS. </li></ul><ul><li>In addition, it will be seen that the extent of variation depends largely upon the casual or formal nature </li></ul><ul><li>of the utterance, the more formal and careful (and probably the slower rate of) the delivery the greater </li></ul><ul><li>the tendency to preserve a form nearer to that of the isolate word. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Words in Connected Speech <ul><li>The modifications to dictionary pronunciation once isolated words are </li></ul><ul><li>embedded in connected speech are fairly systematic and include: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Assimilation </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Elision </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Vowel reduction </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Strong and weak forms </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Liaison </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Contractions </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Juncture </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Words in Connected Speech <ul><li>Assimilation </li></ul><ul><li>The process of assimilation is a type of adjustment in connected speech during </li></ul><ul><li>which a given sound (the assimilating sound) takes on the characteristics of a </li></ul><ul><li>neighboring sound (the conditioning sound). This is often misunderstood as </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;lazy&quot; or &quot;sloppy&quot; speech, since the organs of speech involved appear to be </li></ul><ul><li>taking the path of least resistance. </li></ul><ul><li>However, such a characterization ignores the fact that assimilation is a </li></ul><ul><li>universal feature of spoken language. In English it occurs frequently, both </li></ul><ul><li>within words and between words; it by no means marks a speaker as </li></ul><ul><li>inarticulate or nonstandard. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>There are three types of assimilation in English: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>progressive (or perseverative), </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(2) regressive (or anticipatory), and </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(3) coalescent. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Words in Connected Speech <ul><li>In progressive assimilation the conditioning sound precedes and affects the following sound. </li></ul><ul><li>This type of assimilation is relatively uncommon. It may occur when a plosive is followed by a syllabic </li></ul><ul><li>nasal and the nasal undergoes assimilation to the same place of articulation as the preceding plosive, </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. </li></ul><ul><li>In English, regressive assimilation is more pervasive as a purely phonological process than is </li></ul><ul><li>progressive assimilation. In regressive assimilation, the assimilated sound precedes and is affected by </li></ul><ul><li>the conditioning sound. It has to do with the instability of final alveolars. </li></ul><ul><li>Word-final/t,d,n,s,z/ readily assimilate to the place of the following word-initial consonant whilst </li></ul><ul><li>retaining the original voicing. It,d,nl are replaced by bilabials before bilabial consonants and by velars </li></ul><ul><li>before velar consonants; Is,zl are replaced by palato-alveolars before consonants containing a palatal </li></ul><ul><li>feature. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Words in Connected Speech <ul><li>The third type of assimilation, coalescent assimilation, is a type of reciprocal assimilation: The </li></ul><ul><li>first sound and second sound in a sequence come together and mutually condition the creation of a </li></ul><ul><li>third sound with features from both original sounds. </li></ul><ul><li>Coalescence of /t,d,s,z/ with /j/ : The process which has led historically to earlier /t,d,s,zl/ + Ijl </li></ul><ul><li>giving /  ,  ,  ,  / medially in a word (nature, grandeur, mission,vision) may operate in contemporary </li></ul><ul><li>colloquial speech at word boundaries, e.g.: </li></ul><ul><li>Assimilation is the natural result of the various speech organs ‘cutting corners’ as they perform their </li></ul><ul><li>complex sequence of movements, and this occurs mostly at word boundaries and affects mainly </li></ul><ul><li>consonants. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Words in Connected Speech <ul><li>Elision </li></ul><ul><li>Since Old English, it has always been a feature of the structure of English words that the weakly </li></ul><ul><li>accented syllables have undergone a process of reduction, inlcuding loss of phonemes or of vowels. </li></ul><ul><li>The same process of reduction, with resultant contraction, may be observed in operation in Present </li></ul><ul><li>English. </li></ul><ul><li>It is important, however, to distinguish between cases of elision which have been established in the </li></ul><ul><li>language for some time and those which have become current only recently. In these latter cases, the </li></ul><ul><li>forms exhibiting elision are typical of rapid, colloquial speech, whereas more formal speech tends to </li></ul><ul><li>retain fuller form under the preservative influence of the spelling. </li></ul><ul><li>Established: initially  state, scholar medially  Gloucester, evening final syllable  time, name </li></ul><ul><li>Present Colloquial: temp o rary, suff e ring </li></ul>
  8. 8. Words in Connected Speech <ul><li>Apart from word-internal elisions and those associated with weak forms, sounds may be elided in fast colloquial speech, especially at or in the vicinity of word boundaries. </li></ul><ul><li>VOWELS </li></ul><ul><li>Allophonic variation: When one syllable ends with a closing diphthong and the next syllable </li></ul><ul><li>begins with a vowel, the second element of the diphthong may be elided. Smoothing occurs across </li></ul><ul><li>word boundaries and internal in the word </li></ul><ul><li>(b) Phonemic elision- Initial schwa is often elided, particularly when followed by a continuant and </li></ul><ul><li>preceded by a word-final consonant, e.g.: not alone, get another , run along , he was annoyed when </li></ul><ul><li>final schwa occurs with following linking Irl and word-initial vowel, /  / may be elided, e.g. after a while , </li></ul><ul><li>as a matter of fact, father and son, over and above </li></ul>
  9. 9. Words in Connected Speech <ul><li>CONSONANTS </li></ul><ul><li>In addition to the loss of /h/ in pronominal weak forms and other consonantal elisions typical of weak </li></ul><ul><li>forms, the alveolar plosives are apt to be elided. Such elision appears to take place most readily when </li></ul><ul><li>/t/ or /d/ is the middle one of three consonants. Any consonant may appear in third position, though </li></ul><ul><li>elision of the alveolar plosive is relatively rare before /h/ and /j/. </li></ul><ul><li>Thus elision is common in the sequence voiceless continuant + /t/ or voiced continuant + /d/ (e.g. /-st, </li></ul><ul><li>ft, -It, -nd, -ld, -zd, -  d, -vd/) followed by a word with an initial consonant, e.g. next day, last chance, </li></ul><ul><li>first light, west region, just one; left turn, soft centres, left wheel, drift by, soft roes, found five, hold </li></ul><ul><li>tight, old man, cold lunch, bold face, world religion, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Elision of final ItI or Idl is rarer before initial Ih/, e.g. the alveolar stops are more regularly retained in </li></ul><ul><li>kept hold, worked hard, East Ham, gift horse, round here, bald head , etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Final /t,d/ followed by a word beginning with /j/ are usually kept in a coalesced form, i.e. as /t  / and </li></ul><ul><li>/d  /, e.g. helped you, liked you, lost you, left you, grabbed you, lend you, told you, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>The /t/ of the negative /-nt/ is often elided, particularly in disyllables, before a following consonant, e.g. </li></ul><ul><li>you mustn't lose, doesn't she know?, and sometimes before a vowel, e.g. wouldn't he come? , you </li></ul><ul><li>mustn't over-eat! </li></ul>
  10. 10. Words in Connected Speech <ul><li>Vowel reduction </li></ul><ul><li>Unaccented vowels in the stream of speech are characterized by a reduction in length, and a change </li></ul><ul><li>in quality towards a less distinct, more central vowel sound. Most monophthongs reduce towards /  /. </li></ul><ul><li>This process is sometimes called centralization since the /  / sound is produced with the lips and jaw </li></ul><ul><li>relaxed and the tongue in a central, neutral position. However, the monophthongs /  / and /  / are often </li></ul><ul><li>only partially centralized, /  / reducing towards /  / and /  / reducing towards /  /. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><li>You and me /   / </li></ul><ul><li>I wish you would tell me. /       / </li></ul><ul><li>In the second sentence the vowels in the words you and me are reduced, i.e. shorter. This highlights </li></ul><ul><li>the connection between unstress and vowel reduction. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Words in Connected Speech <ul><li>Strong and weak forms </li></ul><ul><li>Vowel reduction affects the frequent monosyllabic grammar words in English, and many of them have </li></ul><ul><li>two or more accepted pronunciations, one when stressed or spoken in isolation, the strong form , and </li></ul><ul><li>one when reduced in their more usual unstressed position, the weak form . </li></ul><ul><li>These words have the following characteristics: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>they have only one syllable; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>they act as function words; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>they usually occur in the weak forms unless the speaker wishes to emphasize them to underline the message; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the weak forms occur in speech only and are not (usually) shown in writing; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>they are high frequency words, though few in number (about fifty). </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Words in Connected Speech <ul><li>The following list of examples presents the most common of these words, first in their weak form and </li></ul><ul><li>secondly in their less usual strong form: </li></ul>
  13. 13. Words in Connected Speech <ul><li>Liaison </li></ul><ul><li>It refers to the smooth linking or joining together of words in connected speech. Fully liaised speech is </li></ul><ul><li>characterized by a seamless, continuous quality, where final consonants are linked to following initial </li></ul><ul><li>vowel sounds. Once again liaison is an essential ingredient of both rhythm and intonation. Poorly </li></ul><ul><li>linked speech is typically rather jerky, perhaps stacatto, and the resulting lack of flow makes it more </li></ul><ul><li>difficult for the speaker to take advantage of the stress system and so for the listener to focus on the </li></ul><ul><li>content of the message. </li></ul><ul><li>Some systematic forms of liaison are described as: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Linking ‘r’ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Intrusive ‘r’ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Intrusive /w/ and /j/ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Words in Connected Speech <ul><li>Linking ‘r’ </li></ul><ul><li>RP introduces word-final post-vocalic Irl as a linking form when the following word begins with a vowel. </li></ul><ul><li>The vowel endings to which an Irl link may, in this sense, justifiably be added are /  ,  / and those </li></ul><ul><li>single or complex vowels containing final /  ,  ,  ,  ,  / e.g. in far off, four aces, answer it, fur inside, </li></ul><ul><li>near it, wear out, secure everything. Prescriptivists seek to limit the allowability of linking Irl to those </li></ul><ul><li>cases where there is an <r> in the spelling. </li></ul><ul><li>Intrusive ‘r’ </li></ul><ul><li>Many examples of linking Irl occur where there is no <r> in the spelling, such /r/'s being labelled as </li></ul><ul><li>'intrusive'. Such /r/'s are to be heard particularly in the case of I  I endings, e.g.: </li></ul><ul><li>Spelling consciousness remains an inhibiting factor in the use of linking Irl, but the present general </li></ul><ul><li>tendency among RP speakers is to use /r/ links, even -unconsciously- among those who object most </li></ul><ul><li>strongly. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Words in Connected Speech <ul><li>Linking /w/ and /j/ </li></ul><ul><li>Vocalic junctures where the first word ends in /  /, /  /, /  /, /  /, /  / , a slight linking [  ] may be heard between the two </li></ul><ul><li>vowels, e.g.: </li></ul><ul><li>But this is not sufficient to be equated with phonemic /j/; indeed, there are minimal pairs which illustrate the difference </li></ul><ul><li>between linking  and phonemic /j/, </li></ul><ul><li>Similarly, a linking [  ]may be heard between a final /  /, /  /, /  / and a following vowel, e.g.: </li></ul><ul><li>and minimal pairs illustrating linking [  ] and phonemic Iwl can be found, e.g.: </li></ul><ul><li>In yet another possibility, the linking [  ] or [  ] may be replaced by a glottal stop.This is most common before a vowel </li></ul><ul><li>beginning an accented syllable, e.g. very angry [  '  ] </li></ul>
  16. 16. Words in Connected Speech <ul><li>Juncture </li></ul><ul><li>Despite the fact that the word may have its isolate-form identity considerably modified by its immediate phonemic and </li></ul><ul><li>accentual context, both as regards its constituent sounds and its accentual or rhythmic pattern, phonetic features may </li></ul><ul><li>be retained in the speech continuum which mark word or morpheme boundaries. </li></ul><ul><li>Thus, the phonemic sequence I  l may mean pea stalks or peace talks according to the situation of the word </li></ul><ul><li>boundaries (i.e. /  +  / or /  +  /). In this case, if the boundary occurs between Isl and Itl, the identity of the words </li></ul><ul><li>peace and talks may be established by the reduced /  / (in a syllable closed by a voiceless consonant) and by the slight </li></ul><ul><li>aspiration of /t/; on the other hand, if the boundary occurs between /i:/ and /s/, this may be signalled by the relatively full </li></ul><ul><li>length of /  / (in an open word-final syllable) and by the unaspirated allophone of /t/ (following Isl in the same syllable), </li></ul><ul><li>as well as by the stronger /s/. Such phonetic differentiation depends upon the speaker's consciousness of the word as </li></ul><ul><li>an independent entity. </li></ul><ul><li>The following examples illustrate various ways in which phonetic cues may mark word boundaries: </li></ul><ul><li>The articulatory features that are likely to enable you to distinguish the phrases are: </li></ul><ul><li>the shortening or lengthening of vowel sounds on either side of the juncture; </li></ul><ul><li>the delayed or advanced articulation of consonant sounds on either side; </li></ul><ul><li>variations in the degree of syllable stress on either side of the juncture </li></ul><ul><li>other allophonic variations in the phonemes on either side of the juncture. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Words in Connected Speech <ul><li>Adapted & summarised from: </li></ul><ul><li>Celce-Murcia, M.; Brinton, D. & Goodwin, J. 2007. Teaching Pronunciation – A reference for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. USA: Cambridge University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Cruttenden, A. 2001. Gimson’s Pronunciation of English. 6 th Ed. New York: Arnold. </li></ul>