Features of Connected speech

Features of Connected speech

English is a stress-timed language. This means that it has a certain kind of music or rhythm. You can hear this rhythm when people speak naturally in English. Sentences have a mixture of strong or stressed syllables and unstressed syllables, or beats. Stress-timed means that the stressed syllables fall at regular intervals and that the syllables in between are compressed to fit the rhythm. So different syllables have different lengths. Sentences with different numbers of syllables can said in the same amount of time.

Try saying theses sentences with the same length of time as the first sentence:

He’s got a laptop. He’s got a new laptop. He’s got a brand new laptop.

In natural, connected speech there are a number of changes that happen to sounds in sentences. Even if you can’t make these changes in your speech yet, it’s important to know about them when you listen to other people.


Here a sound is influenced by a sound next to it.

For example: Ten pence. The / n / becomes an / m / sound: 'tempence'


Here a sound is omitted or left out completely.

For example:Band stand. The / d / is lost from the first word: 'banstand'


Here a sound links, often when words have final consonants linking with initial vowels.

For example: Peace talks (no pause between words)

Especially with accents that do not normally pronounce final 'r' sounds. We add an / r / sound joining the end of the first word and the beginning of the second.
For example: Law and order: 'Law 'r'and order'


Here two or more words are joined together in some way.

For example:
He’s a computer nerd. She’s been learning how to program. We’ve bought a webcam.

I gotta buy a portable modem. I wanna new laptop. It’s kinda fun.

Short forms
We shorten many words to a schwa sound when the syllable is unstressed.
For example: You are on his team: 'You e on his team. (e = schwa)

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